Darksiders 2: first impressions

by: Nathaniel -
A blizzard swirls as Death, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, sits atop his steed, Despair.  Before him lies the Icy Veil.  Somewhere in the Icy Veil resides the Crowfather.  You see, Death's brother, War, has been accused of taking it upon himself to break the Seven Seals and usher in the Apocalypse on Earth, and now he stands before the Charred Council to answer for his crimes.  Death believes War is innocent, but his goal isn't as simple as proving War's innocence because if he was framed, he was framed by beings too ancient to be careless enough to leave a trace of their crime and too powerful to care about the consequences.  

So instead of solving the mystery of whodunit, Death sets out to simply fix everything - no easy task, mind you - and he's convinced the Crowfather holds the key.  Death's mask betrays no emotion as he spurs Despair forward into the snow, ice, and wind.

Darksiders 2 begins with a definite air of melancholy.  The Icy Veil is a bleak, icy wasteland, however, that bleak, icy wasteland is littered with stunning vistas and awe inspiring visuals.

If you played the original Darksiders, then you'll immediately feel familiar with the setting and story.  If Darksiders 2 is going to be your introduction to the franchise then you can look forward to colorful, yet gothic, visuals, a fascinating story that mixes both Christian and Norse mythology that's further augmented by knock-out voice acting featuring the likes of Michael Wincott (The Crow, Halo 2), James Cosmo (Game of Thrones's Lord Commander Mormont and star of this Darksiders 2 trailer), Phil Lamarr, Fred Tatasciore, and Robin Atkin Downes among others.  All of this is wraped up in the brilliant score by BAFTA award winner Jesper Kyd (Borderlands, Assassin's Creed, and many others). 

Gameplay-wise, you'll find the same hack-and-slash, combo-and-evade combat against monsters of every ilk that was in the original Darksiders.  Also like Darksiders, environmental gadget-based puzzles and areas that can only be completed or reached using your ever-increasing arsenal of tools will make a return.  

All in all, Darksiders 2 is shaping up to be return to the form we saw in the original Darksiders.  It may be a mishmash of ideas taken from other games, but it's a good mishmash of other games.  How worth your time it is will be revealed on August 14 when my Darksiders 2 review goes online.
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