Death Becomes Darksiders II: Hands-On with Vigil Games Sequel

death becomes darksiders ii hands on with vigil games sequel 2

Vigil Games decided to introduce the new playable character Death with its second Darksiders game, which actually plays out during the same time period of the original, and even features some overlapping story events. With Death comes a whole new slate of abilities and new gameplay features, which should appeal to fans of the original as well as gamers just looking for some action adventure this summer.

death becomes darksiders ii hands on with vigil games sequel online reaperform“In Darksiders I, War was more about power and momentum. He was very stoic,” said Ryan Stefanelli, producer of Darksiders II at Vigil Games. Death’s more arrogant and he’s going to go his own way, disregarding the rules and laws that War followed. Death is a ‘dirty deeds’ kind of guy. He has more agility and is very athletic.”

With his bad attitude and parkour-style skill set, gamers will find a whole new arsenal at their fingertips when exploring the four huge worlds of Darksiders II. THQ hosted the first hands-on of the game in San Francisco, inside a crypt-like environment, complete with stone coffins. The demo featured about three hours of gameplay inside the final dungeon of the Makers’ Realm, which takes place approximately six hours into the game. Called the Foundry, this dungeon was chosen because it highlights many of the new gameplay mechanics that take advantage of the Pale Rider’s capabilities. This is the first of the game’s four massive zones and the dungeon featured ancient temples and mythical ruins.

Joining Death in his quest to find three Heart Stones hidden inside the Foundry is Karn, a giant Maker who steps in to help during combat by swinging his massive hammer to eliminate constructs. He also comes in handy as a catapult, tossing Death to hard-to-reach places at key points in the game with the press of the “A” button (on an Xbox controller, of course).

death becomes darksiders ii hands on with vigil games sequel darksidersii pounceFrom the onset of the demo, which features lots of fire and lava, Death’s new abilities come into play. He can run straight up walls, which have strategically placed ledges for him to vault higher or hang from. With a lean in the direction in the direction you want to jump, it’s easy to leap to moving objects like a giant cauldron or to other things like wooden posts and pillars. There are also certain areas of the walls with vines that Death can climb up.

One of the things that takes some getting used to is pulling off traversal combos to navigate a room. Death can perform a wall run whenever a clean stretch of wall shows up on screen. Some rooms require multiple wall runs, including moving from one wall to another around a corner. Strategically placed outcrops allow Death to string together runs (gravity pulls him down the longer he runs and there’s always lava below as an incentive not to fall). Vigil Games calls this feat “mantling” and it’s something that is used a lot.

About half-way through the demo the Death Grip is introduced into gameplay. This device, which acts like an electrified Web, can be used to swing from objects and jump to high places. It can also be used in conjunction with wall runs, vine climbing and lever switches to solve the dungeon’s assorted puzzles.

death becomes darksiders ii hands on with vigil games sequel darksidersii makersrealmDeath can also swim, and one area of the demo sends him diving into the drainage system that lurks beneath some areas of the dungeon. The on-screen menu makes navigation easy underwater and there’s no need to worry about resurfacing for more air. Light rays above indicate key points for exiting the water, as Death solves a puzzle involving a giant ball that needs to be rolled from a walled chamber.

Armed with deadly scythes and an assortment of attacks, it’s fun to hack and slash through constructs at the points in the game when they appear. It’s easy to rack up a lot of combo points during combat, and when you can hitting the “B” button performs some cool finishing moves. That combat earns skill points, which can be used in the game’s RPG-light format.

“Players can use skill points to level up and branch out into a couple of different skill trees,” said Stefanelli. “It’s all part of offering a bigger world that gives you more opportunity to explore. These are all things that we wanted to do in Darksiders 1, but just didn’t have the time to do.”

death becomes darksiders ii hands on with vigil games sequel darksidersii lockedandloadedThe size of the game has grown, as well. Just the Markers’ Realm zone alone is larger than the entire first game. Because of that, Death has multiple ways of getting around. Within the dungeon, he frees up some giant Maker Custodians and rides on their backs. These huge allies can break through corrupted crystals, run over constructs and easily navigate lava flows to get Death from one area to another. There’s also his trusted steed, after all, Death is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

“One of the things fans told us after the first game was they wanted to ride the horse earlier in the game,” said Stefanelli. “In this game, you literally start the game on horseback. People loved Ruin (War’s horse) and they’re going to love Despair. This also gave us a chance to build the world around the horse. Darksiders 1 was a challenge because we had to make a world that felt good on foot and then also on horseback, once you found Ruin. Because you have Despair right from the start, the world is much more expansive. Getting from one dungeon to the next is all about being on the horse and it’s all about exploring the world from horseback.”

death becomes darksiders ii hands on with vigil games sequel darksidersii despair

Despair also comes into play in the demo’s boss battle against the giant Guardian. After a corrupted Heart Stone sends the freed Guardian on a rampage, Death must down the hulking beast. Stefanelli said this is actually the largest boss battle in the game, as the Guardian towers above Death, even riding on Despair. It’s similar in scale to Shadow of the Colossus’ boss battles. The action, which takes place outside in a giant open area, requires a lot of horseback riding and some on-foot targeting, as well as maneuvering to avoid the giant hammer.

With plenty of time before the June release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Vigil Games can fine-tune the controls and tune out the bugs of Darksiders II to make the new gameplay spot-on accurate. The new gameplay has the potential to attract a broader audience to the Darksiders franchise.


Take-Two Interactive takes down another ‘GTA Online’ modder, seeks $150K

Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have filed a lawsuit against the GTA Online modder behind the software named Elusive. The publisher is continuing its crackdown against GTA Online mods.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.

‘Fortnite’ streamer reportedly arrested after abusing wife while on Twitch

An Australian Fortnite streamer who goes by the name MrDeathMoth abused his pregnant wife while he was live on Twitch. An anonymous cybersecurity expert took matters into his own hands, resulting in the arrest of the streamer.

Miss Black Friday but still need an Xbox? Walmart has you covered

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both come and gone, but you can still save some cash on a new Xbox One bundle at Walmart. Both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X are on sale now.

Relive Nintendo’s handheld golden age with the 25 best Game Boy Advance games

The Game Boy Advance was the swan song of the Game Boy era. It also happened to have a boatload of amazing games. We decided to countdown our 25 favorite GBA games. Check it out and let us know your favorites in the comments below!

The most common Nintendo 3DS problems, and how to fix them

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.

The Epic Games store is already luring indie studios away from Steam

The Epic Games Store is less than a week old, but it's already making waves among indie studios. Multiple studios have announced that their games will be timed exclusives on the Epic Games Store, with one studio forgoing Steam completely.

Bundle up for the huge ‘Monster Hunter: World’ expansion coming in 2019

Monster Hunter: World is getting a major expansion in fall 2019 called Iceborne. The expansion will be similar in scope as the Ultimate versions of previous Monster Hunter games, featuring new quests, monsters, weapons, and armor.

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can browse profiles, trophies, and other content directly on your mobile device.

Play ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ the best way with a Switch GameCube controller

If you're a longtime Super Smash Bros. player, then you know there's only one true way to play. Alongside the recent launch of the new 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,' Nintendo has brought back the iconic GameCube controller.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Itching to fight in an online match with friends in 'SSB Ultimate'? Here's how

You can play online against your friends in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it isn't quite as simple as you might expect from a multiplayer game in 2018. Here's how you can do so using the Battle Arena system.
Product Review

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ is an ode to gaming that lives up to its name

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a loving tribute to Nintendo and video game history. It’s a terrific multiplayer fighter that also has plenty for single-player fans to love this time around.