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Darksiders II: Can THQ's action sequel dethrone Zelda on Wii U?

Prepare to meet your 'Taker...

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The first Darksiders game garnered itself an admirable cult following on Other Formats by proclaiming (and proving) to be, among other things, 'a bit like Zelda'. You played as War - one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse - who descended to Earth all a-flustered as the End of Days was prematurely triggered.

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When a spring clean and a gruff "sorry" proved to be too little, too late, War ended up mediating a conflict between angels and demons and trying to clear his name of any wrongdoing through no small amount of dungeon-trawling, item-collecting and boss-beheading. Sub-bosses, boss keys, a distinct one-core-upgrade-per-dungeon pattern, bladed boomerangs, hookshots... allit needed was a kidnapped princess and Darksiders would have had the full Zelda trope stockpile ticked off.

When Darksiders II arrives on Wii U it'll be landing squarely in big-Z territory. Fortunately for developers Vigil Games it'll have two things in its favour: one being that the first effort wasn't actually that bad a Zelda clone; the second being this sequel has added to the list of influences pretty significantly.

DEATH BECOMES HIM

Set mid-way through the first game at a point where original protagonist War was left digging a hole behind posters of Raquel Welch in jail, Darksiders II sees fellow horseman Death ride into town with evil intentions in mind. Armed with double scythes and a keenness to wield gear he finds along the way, the Grim Reaper is to fighting what Mario is to platforming.

The combat's pretty full-on, with plenty of inputs needed to part souls from their aggressive vessels. Death starts off with a black belt's worth of attacks, deflections and combos, and you'll be continually adding to his move set by plugging earned experience into skill trees.

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Note the plurality. Separate 'Necromancer' and 'Harbinger' trees are designed to let you mould Death to complement your personal play style. Whether you favour getting in close with bladed claws or standing further back and unleashing spells that conjure armies of crows to do the hard work for you, the upgrade system will be robust enough to let you design your own Death.

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