Preview: Hands on with Darksiders II

THQ invited GamingAngels and others to a press event in San Francisco earlier this week to check out Darksiders II. The title is a sequel for Vigil Games to the well received Darksiders. As part of the community event we were given time to interview Joe Joe Madureira, David Adams and Ryan over some yummy food and drinks. We got to know each other as communities and also received some hands-on time with the game. The preview was over too quickly and now I have to wait until June 26th to see how Darksiders II turns out. When the game is released there will also be an official Art Book from UDON publishing as well as Darksiders II: The Abomination Vault novel from Random House.

Vigil Games created Darksiders initially with 6 people in a garage. I remember meeting the team at San Diego Comic Con and one could pick up on the intense pride they had for the product. We were then invited to a press day for the game and GamingAngels Darksiders Preview floored me with how epic the game felt. The first title follows War, one of the four legendary Horsemen of the apocalypse. Heaven and hell are fighting each other and the world has been destroyed. War is blamed for starting Armageddon early and is stripped of his powers. War takes this as an opportunity to find out what happened.

Darksiders II follows Death as he goes out to prove his brother’s innocence. The team made sure that Death was different not only by character but also by gameplay. There are new game mechanics and combat items. The word “epic” was used by me to describe the first game, but in the second the team used the word epic to describe Darksiders II. The entire original game of Darksiders fit into one of the sections we were playing. How crazy is that? The amount of gameplay has increased to what is averaged about 27-30 hours but of course it’s too early to pinpoint hours of gameplay.

Because the first game was a labor of love, the team approached the sequel with an attitude and hope to “not fuck it up”. Overall the team was more confident and much larger in size. The team basically included things that they were unable to “pull off” in the previous title. David feels that Darksiders II is much more stylized and more fantasy than the first.

After watching a presentation, we were released to find the station with our nametag on it. That’s right ladies and gents, we didn’t have to share. This meant uninterrupted time with Darksiders II. Each station had Darksiders II Astros, an artbook and a short Prima Guide for the demo section we were playing. This turned out to be more useful than I thought! The game offers visual clues which really assist the gamer in giving suggestions on what to do.

The demo we played was quite a few hours into the game. We missed out on the intro/story as well as any training that would teach you the control mechanics. Which is why I spent about 15 minutes looking around at one point trying to figure out how to get down. A THQ rep comes behind me and tells me that “B” is to drop. He also reminds me that we missed out on the tutorial areas so some of the mechanics may be tough. There are new mechanics like Wall Running, Wall Bouncing, Beam running and using Death Grip to pull you across an area. It took me about halfway through the demo to finally get the wall running mechanic down. Combat is also more flushed out with larger skill trees and the ability to upgrade weapons. There is a new loot mechanic that is randomly generated. So it is possible that two people end up with very different loot throughout the game. We played with a few of the new companions that help throughout the game. Dust is a crow that is a very good indication about where you should be going. I believe we met the Maker Elder who accompanied us throughout the demo and helped throw Death across areas as needed.

Overall this is only a preview. There were some glitches, but to be expected since this is not final code. I can tell you that it was incredibly fun to play and challenging. They actually had to (nicely) kick me off the console at the end of the event. Sadly, I did not finish the demo. I had a great time playing the demo and look forward to seeing how the game turns out. While I can’t say a rating for it yet, I can say that the team is on the right track and it has loads of potential.

I want to thank THQ and CM THQSledgehammer for the opportunity to check out Darksiders II and meet with the team. Joe and David were so nice and hilarious to chat with. It’s not often that we get that type of access with the creators. I had a great time not only playing the game, but also meeting other community members and discussing our triumphs and struggles. Oh and I totally fangirl squeeled when Joe said he liked my AT-AT necklace!

We received plane fare, hotel and food/drink from THQ for the community event. The sponsored event does not effect the outcome of this hands-on.