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Darksiders 2: 'Zelda meets God of War'

And his name was Death...

Deep in the Underworld is an abyss, and through that abyss two mile-long serpents drag the throne of the King of the Dead, itself a sizeable town that looks like a ghostly galleon, through the void.

It's epic, it's mad and it's a remarkably fun place for a stowaway Grim Reaper to leap, vault and hookshot like a bony Prince of Persia.

Darksiders II takes place away from Earth - it's been unleashed from the grimy pavements and broken streets through which War once stomped. With Death, too, comes a far deeper roleplay experience.

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A belt and braces loot system, armour sets, XP and a plethora of quest giving NPCs that are set to give hardcore depth to the returning 'Zelda meets God of War' model. The game's focus, meanwhile, is zeroing in on intense dungeoneering.

DEATH BECOMES HIM

An early mosh-pit for some skeletal assault and battery is the Gilded Arena, from which the Chamberlain of the King of the Dead (for some reason) wants its Guardian's disembodied head.

However, his majesty doesn't go so far as to mention that said Guardian uses his head and metal spine firstly as a burrowing worm-monster and then as an electro-whip, so at first our man Death is happy to comply.

Death's enemy-juggling and button-blurred combat is more agile than War's, while his hookshot is a neat way to drag in small enemies or to pull himself towards vast lumbering beasts like the beetleflavoured Scarab Hulks that pepper the Arena.

Death doesn't block, he dodges, and as such the action is more free flowing than what went before on Earth. Armed with his own line in doubleended scythes (or the vast hammers and swords he discovers on his travels), the Reaper really is a force to be reckoned with - above all when he's vanquished enough foes to break out his (more traditional) cowled Chaos form.

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Darksiders II is turning its fiery steed towards the realm of the hardcore RPG, but we know that with such an effective combat system and such immense imagination on show, there's little danger of the dark rider being thrown from his mount. Don't fear the Reaper.

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