Website : www.darksiders.com
IGN Gameplay Demo : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfD-bmQl5ws
The Darksiders series revolves around the legendary Four Horsemen and each game which has been released in the series puts us in the role of one of these Horsemen. Darksiders 2 follows alongside the story of the first game where ‘War’ the first Horsemen’s soul has been trapped in the Abyss. The second Horsemen ‘Death’ embarks on a quest to undo the Apocalypse and save his brother from Oblivion.
The Lens of Freedom
Darksiders 2 is overall a hack and slash game where the character has a different range of weapons and armors and needs to travel through a vast map towards the goal. For the majority of the game, the character is given the freedom of action and movement. The character can travel to a place visited previously in the game at any point of time to unlock new paths to valuable artifacts which were inaccessible at an earlier point in the game. The character is also given the freedom to complete the main objectives in any order they like. At the same time, the character’s actions become restricted during vital points of the story like a Boss fight which I find important as it gives the story an essential element of progress and storyline.
The Lens of Character Transformation
At the very beginning of the game, Death almost no armor and only a simple weapon. During the game, the player needs to collect new and useful items which make Death stronger and gives Death many different abilities. As Death levels up in the game, the player is given the choice of choosing a new ability from a list. These abilities become more and more useful as the game proceeds and the player has the choice of picking different abilities based on his/her play style, whether it be an offensive, defensive or a support role. The game leaves the majority of such character transformation to the player, but there are a couple of sudden and surprising changes like gaining a new power as part of the story thus unlocking a completely new addition to the gameplay which the player can learn to use.
The Lens of Challenge
A player can get through most hack and slash games by randomly jamming on the keys so that the character just keeps attacking the enemies and achieving the goal. While the storyline and goals of the game might by interesting and challenging, the actual gameplay can get boring after some time. Increasing the difficulty of the game makes it necessary for the player to come up with a strategy like looking out for who is going to attack you next to be ready to counter and stringing together a combo attack to do more damage to the enemy, but I feel that the need for strategy is still quite low and can be increased by adding properties such as enemy weakness and strengths, and the need to counter them in particular ways to be effective.
The Lens of Endogenous Value
Throughout the game, the player comes across new and more valuable weapons and armor which can be used for better abilities, which have the players always on the lookout for such loot. Like most games now a day, Darksiders 2 also has the player collecting several artifacts and trophies as part of a side objective. In most games however these side quests are either too long or not rewarding enough to go through the extra work of collecting the trinkets. In Darksiders 2, some of these side quests become quite interesting as they unlock new dungeons and areas to explore and also rewards the player with new equipment making the side quests worth doing even though they are not needed to finish the game.
The Lens of the Obstacle
The Entire game takes place in two themes, the ‘Makers Forge’ and the ‘Dead Plains’. While the games goal is quite clear at the beginning of the game and the player knows that he needs to travel from the first theme to the second to achieve the final goal, the player is stopped at the very beginning by a big obstacle which needs to be overcome to go on. In this way the game throws smaller story objectives at the player which need to be finished before the player can proceed with the main objective. On the whole, rather than having a continuous flow of objectives and actions which need to be completed one after the other, the game shows the main objective to the player at the very beginning of the game and instead throws a lot of obstacles before the player thus creating the need to perform a string of actions before the main objective can actually be achieved.