E3 2012: Derivative Darksiders II lacks polish

e3 2012 derivative darksiders ii lacks polish darksiders2

Given how much I enjoyed the original Darksiders, I hate what I’m about to say: Based on the demo I just played, Darksiders II is going to need an unrealistically large amount of polish in an intensely short amount of time to be ready for its August release date.

In fairness, pre-release hiccups are common at events like E3, and it’s entirely possible that what I experienced was just a really unfortunate cluster of issues localized to my particular machine, but they don’t pay me to make excuses for developers. I get paid to be honest with you readers, and the honest truth is that right now Darksiders II is kind of a mess.

Throughout the 30-minute demo, which portrayed the opening section of the game, its framerate was all over the place, though never at a level that we would expect from a high-profile, nearly complete action title. It seemed to fluctuate totally at random, regardless of what was happening on screen, and would often dip well below 30 frames per second, then just as quickly jump back up, and dip back down again. In most other genres this could be tolerable to an extent, but in a game like Darksiders II it actively caused me to miss jumps and mis-time attacks.

Likewise, the camera isn’t what you would call “helpful,” especially if you take the game’s advice and click the left trigger to focus on the  nearest enemy. This was an issue in the original Darksiders, but somehow it seems even worse in the sequel. Eventually I had to revert to simple, manual camera control, which is viable, but far from ideal when you’re tasked by the game’s controls with depressing multiple buttons and directions at a moment’s notice.

Oh, and the game crashed. Completely. A white screen akin to the background of the game’s Options menu appeared and the entire thing just refused to acknowledge my existence. Luckily I was right next to the end of the demo anyway, but that kind of catastrophic failure doesn’t really inspire confidence in me.

It should be noted that the Darksiders II development team does have time to fix these issues, but given that the title hits shelves in August, it seems that the complications of publishing a major game would only give them about a month to a month and a half to correct the game’s flaws. I just don’t know if that’s enough time to amend the problems I saw.

On the upside, Darksiders II should be a familiar, entertaining experience for those who enjoyed the first game, at least from a pure gameplay perspective. It still shamelessly lifts ideas from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and mashes them up with God of War-style action tropes, but now the game also features an equipment system that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played any of Blizzard’s Diablo games, right down to the color-coded gear. Is it derivative? Absolutely. Is it fun? Absolutely.

Likewise, the new game’s aesthetics are gorgeous. Again, that’s massively marred by its technical issues, but if you were to only view still screens of the game, you’d be justifiably impressed by what the art team has created. Let’s hope that THQ won’t have to rely on that kind of sleight of hand to sell what is currently an objectively flawed title.

Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

Dominate in multiplayer with a few of our favorite 'Battlefield 5' weapons

Here are some of the best weapons you can use to get the upper hand in Battlefield 5's multiplayer, including assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, and anti-tank tools.
Product Review

‘Let’s Go Pikachu’ and ‘Let’s Go Eevee’ feel like true ‘Pokémon Go’ RPGs

Pokémon: Let’s Go’s simplified reimagining of Pokémon Yellow has a great balance of old and new mechanics. It has a streamlined approach that makes it easy to get into, but depth remains for longtime fans.
Gaming

Playing ‘Battlefield V’ on an $800 Nvidia card is stunning. And disappointing

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Gaming

How to become a master assassin and perfect the art of execution in 'Hitman 2'

'Hitman 2' introduces new and improved story missions with a scale that can feel overwhelming if you're not prepared. Learn everything you need to know to obtain a high score while remaining unnoticed.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Nissan turmoil, product designer Jae Yoo of Nerf, and more

For today's episode of Digital Trends Live, we turn our attention to the L.A. Auto Show and Lamborghini's race-ready version of the Urus. We also speak with Jae Yoo of Nerf and MLS defender Zarek Valentin about their origins, modern tech…
Gaming

The best Gamestop Black Friday deals in 2018

Gamestop is hosting one heck of a Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion period, highlighted by excellent deals on games, gaming consoles, and gaming accessories. We combed through everything and have all the best Gamestop Black Friday…
Deals

The best cheap-but-awesome PlayStation 4 game deals under $20

The PlayStation 4 has hit its stride in recent years and is now more affordable than ever. If you have a PS4 or are thinking of buying one, we’ve collected some must-have games. The best part? Each of these is just $20 or less.
Gaming

Valve responds after ‘Artifact’ slammed for taking microtransactions too far

Streamers and gamers heavily criticized the monetization model of Artifact, as the digital card game may have taken microtransactions too far. Valve quickly responded to the feedback, with planned changes to the game's public beta.
Gaming

‘Darksiders III’ gets its own Fury-led ASMR series, and it’s weird

Darksiders III is out in less than a week, and to celebrate the game's impending release, publisher THQ Nordic has released an ASMR video starring Fury. The video focuses on her fire abilities.
Deals

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for November 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.