Zero Punctuation: Darksiders 2

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I bought this game on release, played it for a day, then went back to yelling at woodland animals in Skyrim. I was hopping that Yahtzee would have mentioned that on top of Zelda and God of War, Darksiders II is stealing the climbing mechanics from Prince of Persia 2008, of all things.

Overall, I'm beginning to think that a dark and gritty tone just doesn't work in a game that aspires to be like Zelda. In Legend of Zelda, (and Okami, the only game I know of that manages to be similar to Zelda without committing plaigarism), the protagonists convey the sense that they are ultimately Good Samaritans, and so aren't going to be put off by jumping through hoops to accomplish side stuff only tangentally related to their ultimate goal. It might not be realistic, but for a fantasy story it works fine. With an antihero like Death, every time he wonders out loud why he has to do a bunch of arbitrary stuff to get on with the plot, the player starts to wonder the very same thing.

Zachary Amaranth:

canadamus_prime:
Ow, your desc. of the plot makes my head hurt. So just how many factions are involved here?

I'm betting it's really one all along. That's why it comes off as contrived. The end game will result in them all going "haha, just kidding!" after you've mowed down millions of peopel across six sequels and 40 spinoffs.

Wouldn't that be a kick in the balls?

I thought the game was alright. Tons of padding and dungeoncrawling, but the changes between puzzling and fighting keep the gameplay varied and the buildup and tension curves work just fine. There's quite a bit of scenery to show off and stuff to collect and weapons to upgrade.

Didn't play the first game, but the story didn't actually confuse me. There's various factions of various levels of Gray flying around (mostly comes down to how the individuals behave, which is a nice change of pace from fantasy settings where alignment is in the genes), the Charred Council is the intergalactic senate, the Horsemen are four special henchmen of them, and Corruption is one of the protagonist's old buddies turned evil force of evil.
Almost everyone has names vaguely connected to mythology, but they're largely for aesthetic reasons, so I didn't think about them too much. I think NGE somewhat desensitized me.

It's a padded and somewhat shallow, but still competent game imo. The main issue is the overall framing IMO. If the story and setting were more engaging, the game might've actually been pretty good.

Mahoshonen:
Overall, I'm beginning to think that a dark and gritty tone just doesn't work in a game that aspires to be like Zelda. In Legend of Zelda, (and Okami, the only game I know of that manages to be similar to Zelda without committing plaigarism), the protagonists convey the sense that they are ultimately Good Samaritans, and so aren't going to be put off by jumping through hoops to accomplish side stuff only tangentally related to their ultimate goal. It might not be realistic, but for a fantasy story it works fine. With an antihero like Death, every time he wonders out loud why he has to do a bunch of arbitrary stuff to get on with the plot, the player starts to wonder the very same thing.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver managed to make Zelda-style mechanics work with a dark storyline pretty well. Probably because it never really pretended that you were on any kind of altruistic mission; you were out to get revenge on the people who ripped your wings off and threw you into the Lake of the Dead, pure and simple.

I had a decent amount of fun with the game...until I realized two things:

1: The magic tree is WWWAAAYYY more over-powered than the combat tree, especially if you find a wrath-stealing weapon.
2: You can only New Game + once per save file, which absolutely murders the game's replayability.

Really my only complaints are the controls/cameras/just about everything dealing with the wall climbing puzzles.

I actually need to bust Yatzee's balls on this.

In the book of Revelation even after the King James butchering, the Rider of the White Horse and first Horseman of the Apocalypse IS named Strife, also known as Conquest or Victory (depending on Greek, Hebrew, or Latin source). The first horsemen was changed to Pestilence in the 1916 novel The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

as far as Fury... yeah I got nothing, Famine would have been much cooler if you ask me.

fun fact the Four horsemen have also been equated to the Archangles Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel.

I've barely touched Darksiders II yet. Not because it's bad, what I played of it I enjoyed. But I got Sleeping Dogs as a time sink until Darksiders II came out but ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would so I got hooked on that. Then when I was going to play Darksiders II Battlefield 3 had a double exp week so I got hooked on that and then after that Guild Wars 2 came out and now I'm hooked on that. So many games D:

But yeah, what I have played of Darksiders II so far I've enjoyed. I'm surprised he didn't mention it using Prince of Persia's platforming.

Funny how despite what Yatzee said is all true for the most part, it's still a bloody fun game. And yes, it does feel bloody long!

So all the problems Yahtzee stated are true, but just hearing about the game made me go off and play it some more.

ergh yeah I'll get around to playing the first game sometime :] wouldn't mind a bit of apocalyptic Zelda

The Gentleman:
But Yahtee... gathering three of something is a matter of video game tradition! Darksiders II only took it it its rational conclusion.

Because he cares so much about nostalgia?

On Topic:
Funny review, one of the better ones in some time when looking at puns and word plays.
Well done again I guess.

Yahtzee loooooooooves his thalidomide babies!

"It's like their bible was written by Image Comics in the 90's."

Now that's a scary thought. Aside from Spawn, Jim Lee's W.I.L.D. Cats, and Savage Dragon most of Image's early titles were about as deep as a sidewalk puddle.

...Was that a Discworld reference in the beginning, with the whole "William Death Esq." bit?

Anyways, very funny review. Informative, too. I want to use the phrase "Fractal Padding" now...

FantomOmega:

vallorn:

OverHaze:
Darksiders has more in common with 80s Heavy Metal album covers than it does with Warhammer.

Besides there is much more to 40k than just rage. There is love for The Emperor, devotion to The Emperor, humility before The Emperor, fear of The Emperor, see lots of emotions.

Not to mention the Chaos gods who are themselves made FROM various squalid pools of congealed emotion (Anger/Hate, Hope/Change, Despair/Depression, Joy/Pleasure) Il let you figure out where each one goes.

Also Tau arnt really as warlike as the other races. More just aggressively expansionist.

I feel The Warp overtaking me, it is a Good Pain

Tha could also just you being over enthusiastic with a morphine drip. :)

That said I think Yahtzee's criticism of 40k is fair given the eyes he views it through... those of a video game critic. To be honest video games never seem to have touched upon much besides extremely violent clashes of troops involving groups like Space Marines and Imperial Guard pretty much "on the clock" all the time. To really dig into what's going on behind Warhammer 40k you need to look at things like "Rogue Trader", "Inquisitor" or various novels, and to be honest that is all secondary material behind the minatures game (which is all combat) and the video games that are largely out to duplicate the minatures game and of course be deliberatly mindless hack and slash.

From the perspective of your average Space Marine, what the forces of chaos represent and how they differ doesn't much matter. To really explore that in a heroic context you'd need to see it from the perspective of an Inqusitor from the Ordo Malleus who is allowed that kind of information to aid against fighting against them. The forced ignorance of Warhammer 40k is an interesting concept, but it makes experiencing the world through most characters dfficult, most of the lore behind Space Marines and such involving exposition in codexes and the like which has no real bearing on anything other than to maybe explain some minor bonus.

Therumancer:

FantomOmega:

vallorn:

Not to mention the Chaos gods who are themselves made FROM various squalid pools of congealed emotion (Anger/Hate, Hope/Change, Despair/Depression, Joy/Pleasure) Il let you figure out where each one goes.

Also Tau arnt really as warlike as the other races. More just aggressively expansionist.

I feel The Warp overtaking me, it is a Good Pain

Tha could also just you being over enthusiastic with a morphine drip. :)

That said I think Yahtzee's criticism of 40k is fair given the eyes he views it through... those of a video game critic. To be honest video games never seem to have touched upon much besides extremely violent clashes of troops involving groups like Space Marines and Imperial Guard pretty much "on the clock" all the time. To really dig into what's going on behind Warhammer 40k you need to look at things like "Rogue Trader", "Inquisitor" or various novels, and to be honest that is all secondary material behind the minatures game (which is all combat) and the video games that are largely out to duplicate the minatures game and of course be deliberatly mindless hack and slash.

From the perspective of your average Space Marine, what the forces of chaos represent and how they differ doesn't much matter. To really explore that in a heroic context you'd need to see it from the perspective of an Inqusitor from the Ordo Malleus who is allowed that kind of information to aid against fighting against them. The forced ignorance of Warhammer 40k is an interesting concept, but it makes experiencing the world through most characters dfficult, most of the lore behind Space Marines and such involving exposition in codexes and the like which has no real bearing on anything other than to maybe explain some minor bonus.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Yahtzee might change his tone on 40K by a little bit if someone would make a good Ciaphas Cain videogame. Seems like the kind of thing he might like.

Come to think of it, that game would be rather cool. It'd be a bit like Mass Effect, except that all the dialogue options wouldn't be "Idealistic/Good/Paragon vs. Pragmatic/Bad/Renegade"; but rather they'd be "Order Jurgen to do something", "take the piss out of someone/thing with a good snark", "Cover Ass", or "Lie Ass off". The combat portions would consist of hiding behind cover until the scary noises stop.

I've seen footage of people playing this game. And it looks good. If you think you might like it I would suggest looking at Classic game Room's review of Darksiders 2. It's on the more optimistic wavelength. I don't know how much the game costs right now though. If it's 60 to 50 dollars I'd just say to pass on principle of saving money.

MonkeyPunch:
I must say I really enjoyed Darksiders 2.
I thought the story was good, the set pieces and cut-scenes were nice in no small part due to some really nice art.
The combat was decent too and I liked the added aspect of being able to craft weapons / loot game.

DS2 kept me hooked. Started it and played it right through till the end, which rarely happens nowadays.

Exactly. It's a fun game. And I hear it even has a New Game+ option. I didn't beat it yet. Don't have the time these days to play very much. But when I do I enjoy.

I think yahtzee needs to look at things like Darksiders and Warhammer from a different perspective. Instead of trying to make sense of its madness and why everyone's answer to every scenario is GRAAHH WE FIGHT NOW just embrace the stupidity and absurdity and laugh at it while attempting to have at least some degree of childlike gleeful fun with it.

That's why I like these games and 40k, because I am completely aware how juvenile and stupid they are but that's what I enjoy about them. Their's a place in my mind for goofy nonsense like Mario, theirs a place for serious mature things and their's a place for teenage empowerment fantasy nonsense. I don't see why so many people get to a certain age and decide one ore more of these things has to be abandoned. Guess I'm just weird. I mean I even think Darksiders is pretty self aware, its a game made by guys who know how absurdly "90s teenage comic books" their games seem but they have fun with it, they are never trying to be overly serious all the time.

I wonder why he picked on Strife for being ambiguous instead of Fury for being a woman that hell hath no like.

Wait, 20 hours is considered a really long playtime?

First ZP in a while that actually made me laugh more than a little half-chuckle of recognition here or there. Especially at the description of the plot at the end.

On a related note, I want to get Darksiders 2 but I never actually finished the first Darksiders. Should I play through it first to avoid spoilers and what-not?

The Critic:
...Was that a Discworld reference in the beginning, with the whole "William Death Esq." bit?

Very likely; Yahtzee is a Pratchett fan.

They pretty much HAD to rename the other 2 riders but how cool would it be to actually play as Conquest a.k.a the White Rider a.k.a Jesus Christ (or so some believe)? Then again, some believe Conquest to be the bringer of War, which makes the second rider War, a bit redundant.

Famine is completely undoable in a video game unless it's like Darksiders 3: Farmville or something..

Also, I thought Death was simply the Reaper of Souls...not the lord of the underworld which Yahtzee seems to believe.

Eh...whatever. The Bible is just as fictitious as Darksiders anyway...

Ljs1121:

On a related note, I want to get Darksiders 2 but I never actually finished the first Darksiders. Should I play through it first to avoid spoilers and what-not?

Darksiders 2 takes place during the same time as the first game. So Darksiders 2 only spoils the first 20 or so minutes of the original which isn't a big deal considering you've probably seen it already...

I still want to get Darksiders 2 though, and the first one for that matter.

And I always thought Pestilence WAS one of the original horsemen.

Yatzee, you haven't made me laugh like this in a while. Excellent work. :)

ewhac:

The Critic:
...Was that a Discworld reference in the beginning, with the whole "William Death Esq." bit?

Very likely; Yahtzee is a Pratchett fan.

Heh, I always suspected that he was.

Roslolian:
The Biblical Horsemen-

The Conqueror
War
Economic Turmoil (kind of. It's about scarcity of resources and price gouging)
Death

So...famine and pestilence were never horsemen.

But it's at least better than Fury and Strife.

I've only ever tried the demo for the first Darksiders. I really liked it, it's just that I never got round to actually buy it. For some reason, Darksiders 2 just doesn't seem quite as interesting and if it's really as drawn out as Yahtzee says, then that doesn't exatly make things better. I also wonder if this means that there will be a Darksiders 3 and 4, where you play as famine fury and pestilence strife respectively.

AT God:
I am pretty disappointed they renamed the other two horsemen. I loved the first Darksiders and Darksiders 2 looks good though, I just hope they don't wimp out and make the other two horsemen into straight hack and slash fighters like Death and War are.

In their mythos, Strife uses a pair of revolvers, and Fury is the token female and she wields a whip. Will be interesting to see what they do with them.

I enjoyed Darksiders 2. I agree with some of his criticism about the item management getting a little tiresome, trying to figure out what effect all the different attributes have. And that random section on Earth where you're armed with either a minigun or a rocket launcher was kindof weird. But I mostly liked the pacing of the combat, and I thought the characters involved were interesting, though one-dimensional. Trying to keep track of who the cast of characters gets tough.

Regarding the shoulder/trigger buttons, I'm actually with Yahtzee. I get that you can use index fingers for shoulders and middle finger for triggers. But most games I've played over the last few years have only ever required one or the other, so I've gotten accustomed to only using my index fingers. So it took a little effort for me to train myself to use a new hand configuration.

In the intro, one of the horsemen looked much like a girl, and the other was carrying dual pistols...
So I can only guess, but theres going to be a Darksiders third Person shooter...with changing the genre so much, Ive actually theorized this with my buddies before he showed me the intro to Darksiders 2...and then I just went: "Is this guy carrying guns? HE IS! Fucking called it!"

"fractally padded"
I love this guy.

So it's a game where you play as Death trying to bring everyone back to life. That seems a bit off-message.

Aww hell, I be being bad 4 postin this shit, me thinks. If I offend you, want to say sorries right now, and I want no bad feelings at you. Just roll with it, eh?

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