- Call Of Duty: Ghosts Revealed, Multiplayer Detailed
- Xbox One Launches This Fall
- Halo Television Show, NFL Xbox One Experience Announced
- Microsoft And Remedy Reveal Quantum Break For Xbox One
- Forza 5 Officially Revealed For Xbox One
- Xbox One Always Connected To Cloud, Achievements And Xbox LIVE To Change Dynamically
- Kinect 2.0 Comes With Every Xbox One
- Xbox One's Kinect 2.0, TV Capabilities Demonstrated
- New Xbox One Features "Trending" Section
- The Next Xbox Is Called "Xbox One"
SDCC 2012: Darksiders 2 Hands-On Preview
As my Darksiders 2 demo began in the waning hours of the San Diego Comic Con, I got a little refresher on the story so far in the form of a brief cutscene. New protagonist Death had made a bargain with the powers to be. If he found a way to restore humanity to life, his brother War would be freed and pardoned for his supposed crime of exterminating humanity in the first Darksiders. To this end, Death set out to find the Keeper of Secrets, an old man who had holed himself up in an icy mountain fortress.
I began my demo charging up the mountain on Death's flaming steed, who will make himself available to players far earlier than War's mount did in the last game. As I wound my way up the treacherous peak, the going eventually became too rough for the steed and Death dismounted to climb the sheer rock face in front of him. With a quick double-tap of the A button, Death had scaled the wall and reached a snowy plateau. At this point I encountered my first enemies, a small group of icy golems. I was able to dispatch them quickly with Death's scythe, which slices and dices much faster than War's massive blade ever could. As they fell, my enemies dropped a pair of boots. Standing over the boots revealed that they would provide more protection than the ones I currently had equipped, so I held the Back button to equip them automatically.
This would prove to be a common theme in my time with Darksiders 2. Enemies would frequently drop loot of some sort as they fell, while others would drop gold. While the first game allowed War to purchase plenty of upgrades from an in-game shop, it didn't have proper loot like this. I collected numerous boots, greaves, and even alternate weapons during my demo. As everyone knows, loot makes practically everything better, and it seems Darksiders is no exception to this rule.
After getting a brief taste of combat, it was time to put my platforming skills to the test. Death entered a frozen cave, complete with enemies encrusted in blocks of ice in the walls. Sometimes the enemies would manage to burst free of their icy prisons and attack me, while at other times they remained stone-still. In these situations, I found that I could shatter the ice surrounding them myself in order to deliver a beatdown and collect more experience and gold. Although the combat was engaging enough, the platforming was the real focus of this section, and it quickly became clear that Death would have access to all of the same moves in this respect as War. I ran across walls, climbed up vines, jumped between pillars, and even triangle-jumped between walls Mario-style in one particularly fun scenario.
Along the way, one of my enemies dropped a large war hammer. I picked it up and it was immediately assigned to the Y button. I could now alternate between hitting X for the speedy scythe and Y for the crushing hammer. It was far from a new and original conccept, but pulling off those X, X, Y combos was still meaty and satisfying.
I soon came upon a large arena. As I walked to its center, a lumbering Ice Giant climbed a wall and jumped down to face me. Looks like I had just found myself a mid-boss. I wasted no time in locking on to the enemy with a pull of the left tirgger. As the Ice Giant raised a massive foot to squash me, I hit the right bumper to dodge under his leg and used my scythe and hammer combo to tear away at his health from behind. By keeping mobile I was able to dodge most of the Ice Giant's damaging attacks, and before long Death had weakened it enough to enter into his Special mode, just like War could do at the press of a button in the first Darksiders. Death's scythe transformed into an even more menacing form, and he shattered the Ice Giant with it.
I took an elevator up to the next floor of the mountain, and although the ride was far from smooth, I was able to dodge the falling debris that shattered parts of the elevator and make it up to the top floor. A few tricky platforming scenarios later, I was face to face with the Keeper of Secrets. As it turns out, this grizzled old man has a history with Death, and surprise surprise, it's not a very bright one. Death will have to kill him in order to proceed. The Keeper of Secrets is a frail old man and knows that he can not hope to overcome Death with strength or speed alone, so he plays a twisted mind game in hopes of destroying his opponent. He seemingly summoned Death's brother, War, to do battle with me.
With this, I was locked in deadly battle with War. That giant blade is still just as damaging as it ever was, so it was very important for me to dodge it. I kept up a constant flurry of dodges and counters, striking out with my scythe only for a second or two before having to dodge again. After taking a few hits, War would fling himself into the air and come slamming down, creating a large shockwave. This attack was especially damaging, and I had to be careful to get out of its range in time to avoid taking damage. The battle was intense, but I emerged victorious. Death struck a crippling blow to War and he shed his skin, revealing the Keeper of Secrets below it. With that, Death impaled the old man on his scythe and propped him up in the arena. My demo ended as the old man died.
Darksiders 2 felt like more of the same for the most part, with a few little additions here and there making for a slightly more polished experience overall. The platforming could occasionally get frustrating or disorienting as it could in the last game, but that little quip aside the gameplay was largely satisfying. Combat was quick and had a great flow, especially after I picked up the war hammer, and the addition of loot should hopefully prove to be addictive incentive to keep playing. We won't know just how Death's adventure has shaped up until its release next month, but for now it's safe to say that Darksiders fans will have another solid adventure on their hands.