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Darksiders 2 (reviewed for Wii U)
Games on the Wii U are hard to come by, now that the launch period has possibly died down, and the gamer community has begun to clamor for new releases. However, there are always one or two of those titles that somehow go under the radar, and people overlook them.
One good reason is, most obviously, that they are small budget or niche titles. But it seems the monetary limitations of the average customer essentially restricts the number of titles one could perhaps rein in with the purchase of a new console.
So, lets just get it out of the way: Darksiders 2 for the Wii U is a worthy purchase for the new purchaser, or at least should be factored into consideration. Vigilís Darksiders was a breakout hit, widely regarded as a unique throwback to the Zelda franchise, and Tomb Raider, and even Diablo, a reflection of its action RPG roots, tinged with puzzle-based levels that require a fair bit of brainpower to conquer.
The gameplay is purely action-adventure faire, as you navigate as Death, one of the fabled Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, one of the last Nephilim, the much popularized combination of angel and demon (see DMC: Devil may Cry, if you arenít tired of the concept), set out on a quest to free his brother, War, from his crimes against his own kind and hopefully resurrect humanity. Plunged into the Forge lands, an interesting world of perilous heights, and all of the sudden you get to experience action gaming that starts to grow on you.
The story may be convoluted and, at its worst, a blatant excuse to throw you through themed stages of challenge, but the level design is stellar, with obvious decisions to create consistency with the vines and the stylized (befitting of a Nephilim, of course) wall-running, along with the surprisingly good combo system that favors choosing between heavy and light attacks for maximum tactical superiority. While the combat does evolve at times into a mashing exercise in the mid to later stages, new combat moves and brand new mob introductions allow for a decent amount of variation and tactical adjustment.
But donít be looking for a super-meta-deep combat system, as the stage puzzles, often involving levers and keys to solve the bulk, are the main draw. Being able to find the right levers to pull will require your smarts, and the logical (yet surreal, which is amazing) flow of how the levels go begin to present itself an epic paradigm where you feel a sense of achievement finding the solution.
But what pulled the game down to tedious degrees are the copious amounts of those same puzzles, a simple principle of ďhaving too much of a good thing can be bad.Ē A few hours of similarly designed puzzles can be troublesome and make you want to fling that controller, but there doesnít seem much of a reward for conquering them as well, given the sometimes overly longwinded cut-scenes.
Simply put, the story and puzzles do get a little long in the tooth at some point, but for a gaming experience to be had, where some of the best level puzzles do exist, it is a must-play for the action adventure fan. If you have an even sparser gaming library to choose from, like in the case of the Wii U, it is pretty much a must-buy launch title to pick up. The option to select items and skills from the Wii U gamepad actually goes beyond the usual extent of novelty to be one of the sticking points of the experience.