Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developer Gunfire Games Publisher Nordic Games
Genre Action Adventure Platform Played Xbox One
Even as a fan of the Darksiders franchise, it came as a shock when the remastered version of the sequel was announced. Originally released three years ago, Darksiders II follows Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in his attempt to save his brother War from the aftermath of the first title. The Deathinitive Edition offers enhanced graphics and all of the downloadable content in one single package.
Given that the gameplay and control scheme are identical to the original, those who have never played a Darksiders game but love puzzle-solving and dungeon-crawling have been given another opportunity to pick up the title on more current systems. However, those who have played Darksiders II previously may find the game does not necessarily have the graphics boost they would expect of a remaster. Darksiders II released relatively late in the life cycle of last-gen consoles, so much so that it was also released on the Wii U a few months after initial launch. Due to this, the appearance of the game was relatively impressive, and even seeing screenshots from both versions side by side does not evoke gasps or awes. The game does look better, but generally in details which you would likely not have noticed without seeing comparative screenshots. Part of this is simply because of the fast-paced nature of the title and the fact that you do not get much time to stand and admire a boss creature during a battle. From what I noticed, character models seem to have been given the biggest makeover, enhancing details on clothing, items they may be carrying, and sharpening some edges. In order to pick up on these though, I needed to boot up my copy of the original Darksiders II to compare, otherwise I would have felt the graphics were identical.
Something interesting about Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition is how you access the DLC. While the original simply had a menu option for the bonus content available, the remastered version only unlocks the “Additional Campaigns” option once you have reached a certain point in the main campaign. This is likely done to ensure the player knows how to use every tool they will need to complete the dungeon, but also so that the stories associated with the dungeons actually make sense to the player. At the outset of the adventure, the concept of travelling through different realms via portals is completely foreign and they know nothing about the “Corruption” which has overrun many realms.
The Deathinitive Edition also provides players with an added difficulty level: “Deathinitive.” It is not quite as unforgiving as the “Nightmare” mode found in the original, but it truly tests the skill of any player who attempts it. The difficulty may initially seem relatively easy, but once you encounter your first horde of tough enemies or one of the larger bosses, you will discover just how tough it can be. In order simply survive, players must be constantly aware of their surroundings and familiarize themselves with an enemy’s attack motions so they may dodge the incoming onslaught. In theory this seems relatively simple, but when fending off groups of the faster, more resilient enemies, it can be incredibly challenging and frustrating.
The updated version of the game is not without its flaws, however, and some of them are somewhat disappointing given that the Deathinitive Edition is a remastering of the title. While playing on the Xbox One, I encountered many instances of the game temporarily freezing up, presumably while loading areas of the environment, and there were frame rate issues any time I engaged in combat with a large group of enemies. I even found myself unable to progress to the next area of a realm at one point, as if the barrier which had been removed was still in place. This was resolved by quitting the game and restarting it, but it was still surprising to find such a bug in the game considering I had never encountered such issues in the original release of Darksiders II.
During my playthrough of Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition, I also came to realize how much the main campaign is drawn out through fetch quests. The series is heavily inspired by the Legend of Zelda, which explains many of the mechanics and decisions which make the Darksiders games enjoyable, but it also means that in order to get the crucial item to move forward in your quest, you have to go see someone, who will in-turn send you to collect three things hidden in various locations, and upon completing this, you will be sent to yet another dungeon to collect the item you need. It offers plenty of time to search for collectibles, grind levels, or explore optional tombs and dungeons, but it can also tire you out as you are constantly seeing the campaign extended exponentially simply to collect various items for individuals you must deal with.
The plot and gameplay in Darksider II: Deathinitive Edition are the exact same found in the original, which is an incredibly solid offering. Death is a sarcastic, scythe-wielding, no-nonsense protagonist who nearly everyone will love, and the plot unfolding before him is one of dedication to his brother and trying to set things right. Unfortunately the game is not without its issues, and while minor, they were also recurring. The game did not feel as polished as it should have been for a second release, and including some new content, even in the form of concept art and various other extras, would have made this package seem more appealing to those who already own the original game. While the graphic upgrades do not seem to be overwhelming, the slight boost in appearance combined with a new difficulty level and the additional dungeons make it a great opportunity for players who never experienced Darksiders II in its original form.
- Offers the original title and DLC to new players on new consoles
- Gameplay is still incredibly solid
- Deathinitive difficulty provides new challenge to experienced players
- Graphic upgrades are not noticeable at first glance
- No new content is added to the game beyond added difficulty
- Frame rate issues are encountered during battles with large groups of enemies
The Score: 7.0
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.