Darksiders II (Wii U) Review

Review for Darksiders II on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Darksiders II is the sequel to 2010's action RPG title, Darksiders which was never released on a Nintendo console. This time, Nintendo's Wii U gets a bit of the action as Death battles his way through many dungeons in order to get what he set out to achieve. Cubed3 travels to the Forge Lands to see if Darksiders II is worth anyone's hard earned cash.

In Darksiders II, players take the role of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse, who is out to clear the name of his brother, War. Whilst War is charged with the crimes he committed in the first game, Death traverses various lands to prove his brother innocent and resurrect mankind. Along the way, Death is faced with various obstacles such as gargantuan beasts, foe-filled dungeons and mind boggling puzzles. In order to overcome these obstacles, the player must use Death's various skills and even their own brains!

Darksiders II is built upon a strong concept that borrows many of its elements from various different games. Players must make their way through many dungeons, which are filled with puzzles, reminiscent to that of the dungeons found in The Legend of Zelda games. Also scattered around these dungeons are various death traps, such as spikes, bottomless pits, and so on. In order to get past these beasties, Death must use his parlour skills, which include running across walls and grabbing various platforms and beams to reach higher places, much like the manoeuvring found in Prince of Persia and Assassin's Creed titles. Comparisons aside though, Darksiders II is a fantastic game in its own right.

Throughout his journey, Death is aided by two companions - his raven, Dust, and his horse, Despair. Players can call Dust by clicking the left analogue stick and the bird will then point Death in the right direction, indicated by a purple dot on the mini-map. Whilst in the more open areas, players can summon Despair by pressing both the L and R buttons on the GamePad, which makes getting to destinations a lot easier. Riding around on Despair works much like the horse riding found in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, with a charge meter that depletes every time the R button is pressed, initiating a short burst of speed. This meter will recharge over time, similar to the carrot meter found in the aforementioned game.

Screenshot for Darksiders II on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The combat found in Darksiders II is mostly hack and slash, with Death having two weapon types equipped at a time. His primary weapons are two scythes, with various different types being available. Secondary weapons include heavy weapons, such as maces, hammers and axes and quicker weapons such as gauntlets and claws. Each of these weapons has their own unique stats including damage, critical damage, critical chance and a range of elemental effects. Players can also lock on to enemies, in a similar fashion to Z-targeting, making enemies a lot easier to deal with.

Other stat-altering items include pieces of armour and relics, all of which are categorised by different colours, with white being the most common and purple being "legendary." There is also a dark orange used for special "possessed" weapons, which can be levelled-up by consuming various weapons and items that have been obtained by the player. When these level up, players can then select a specific stat to transfer from the item last consumed.

Along his journey, Death will obtain new skills and abilities that can be found in specific locations or purchased by using skill points obtained by levelling up. The most notable abilities found during the main story include Redemption, Death Grip and Interdiction. Redemption is Death's revolver and can be used to shoot a number of different things such as explosives and enemies. There are also two different aiming styles to use, depending on the situation the player is in. Free-aim can be activated by clicking the right analogue stick and allows players to choose where they want to aim, in a third-person shooter manner. There is also targeted aiming so players can quickly get rid of enemies that move around or are hard to reach, like flying enemies, for instance.

Screenshot for Darksiders II on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

As Death completes quests for various different NPCs and disposes of enemies, he will gain XP and eventually level up. When this occurs, he will receive skill points that can then be used to purchase different abilities that he can later use in combat. Skills are laid out in the familiar tree format, with there being two different trees players can assign points to. The Harbinger tree focuses more on Death's physical strengths, whilst the Necromancer tree gives him some more interesting abilities such as summoning deadly ghouls and a murder of crows to unleash on his enemies. These abilities can then be further improved by assigning extra skill points to them or by purchasing skills further down the tree.

Using these skills in the heat of battle consumes Wrath, which is Darksiders II's form of manna. This means players cannot continuously use them and must build up Wrath energy by killing enemies or drinking Wrath potions in order to use these abilities again. Death also has a near-invincible form that can be unleashed after filling up the Reaper meter, which can take a frustratingly long time if you don't have any skills that can make this a quicker process. Skills can either be assigned to buttons or accessed via virtual buttons on the GamePad's 'live' menu, which contains a bunch of other useful functions, such as the ability to change armour and weapons without pausing the game and it can even be used to display a full-sized map on the GamePad's touch screen, which is very handy!

For players that aren't keen on these features, the GamePad's display can be turned off and rather than having virtual buttons to activate skills, players will be presented with a radial menu when they press down on the D-Pad. The entire game can even be played with just the Wii U Pro Controller or exclusively on the GamePad's screen. The in-game currency, Gilt, is found pretty much everywhere, from enemies' remains to contained in chests. This same formula applies to weaponry, armour and relics, which can be sold for more Gilt so that the player can buy new equipment from salesmen scattered around the world map.

Screenshot for Darksiders II on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Due to the scale of the universe contained in Darksiders II loading times can often take a little longer than desired, but never do they hinder the gameplay itself, which is great. Often when entering a new area, Death will stop in his tracks and players will be presented with a rotating circle in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to indicate that the game is loading up the next area. Loading can take any time from a few seconds up to a minute or so, depending on the size of the area ahead and how many enemies it contains.

Not only does Darksiders II have a huge world, it's actually fully fleshed out with various life forms. Be it NPCs who give out quests or the number of different monsters found out in the wilderness. These characters are all brought to life by a stellar cast of voice actors, from Michael Wincott who provides the voice of Death, to Troy Baker who gives life to numerous different characters. The main campaign takes around twenty hours to complete for players who just want to get through the game, but this time is extended to thirty-plus for those wanting to experience the game in its entirety. Also, included in this version of Darksiders II are Argul's Tomb, Death Rides, Deadly Despair and the legendary armour and weapon packs that were released as DLC for the other platforms. This content adds around five hours playtime onto the overall experience, so there's a lot to do outside the main game.

Screenshot for Darksiders II on Wii U- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Darksiders II is a great launch title for the Wii U and it's easy to call this a distraction for those waiting for Nintendo to reveal the next The Legend of Zelda title. Fans of action RPGs, dungeon crawlers and puzzle games will absolutely fall in love with this game. It isn't a flawless title, but it's definitely worth the purchase if looking for a lengthy experience.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

That's pretty cool indeed!

I've heard so much about this and Borderlands 2 that I am struggling with the temptation to buy both...but I really don't have the spare cash Smilie Smilie Sounds great, though.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

bustin98 (guest) said:
No mention of Death's voice and related sounds being able to come from the gamepad while the rest of the world comes over the tv, depending on your sound settings. Its not mandatory but its cool to turn on.
I had no idea this was possible! Just checked it out today, definitely cool indeed. Thanks for that. Smilie

Matt (guest) 06.01.2013 23:32#3

I waited to get this game on Wii U and I'm glad I waited.  The GamePad integration might seem minimal with menu displays, but it's so easy and intuitive to change weapons and armor and use special attacks on the fly while fighting.  The added addition of customizing the sound options within the GamePad is incredible too.  I really urge everyone to check it out and if you have it on another platform and are thinking of showing third party support for the Wii U, this is a title definitely worth picking up again.

Tried this out the other day thanks to a friend.

There's a good amount of tearing happening on screen which was nowhere to be seen on PS3 or 360 (I only saw the PS3 version running a brief time but I could try hand-on the 360 version and there was none of the tearing present in the WiiU version).

It's selling for 30 quids on GAME at the moment, so I'm really tempted to try and get it, now that I have access to the payment methods required to purchase from them.

EDIT: Ah there you go, I ordered it Smilie.

( Edited 07.01.2013 10:24 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Dee (guest) 14.01.2013 17:48#5

Is it just me or is anyone else having problems with the gun. I cant figure out how to aim it

Dee (guest) said:
Is it just me or is anyone else having problems with the gun. I cant figure out how to aim it
Click the right stick in for free-aim. Or you can target on to enemies and press the ZR button to shoot. Hope I helped! Smilie

Wasn't quite sure how this would turn out after reading some of the reviews, but still a good score overall! Not really my cup of tea theme wise, but does sound like a solid experience GamePad wise - more like this really needed on the system, even though the GamePad interface/use is minimal.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Just picked this up and am loving the feel of it - AND it's yet another game you can play solely on the GamePad, which is turning out to be my favourite aspect of Wii U so far Smilie

The adventure side feels a little Zelda-like at times, but the fighting is reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden 3 in how hectic it can be. I love the Epona-esque horse riding as well Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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