There’s something to be said for how the Switch became the go-to console for remasters; titles that have already seen the light elsewhere and are getting a new lease of life thanks to Nintendo’s console. It’s something to be celebrated when a port appears as if from nowhere, nearly four years after its initial release, and Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition is one such port; it launched way back in 2015 with the ‘improved visuals’ and ‘better lighting’ that its subtitle hints at, much to the delight of those waiting patiently for Darksiders III to finally arrive. Four years later, and Darksiders III has been and gone, so of course the time is right for the Switch to get a port of its predecessor. Fortunately, there’s plenty to enjoy and those who have been awaiting this release will be more than satisfied.
Darksiders II puts you in the boots of Death, a stroppy emo-manchild who appears to have never grown out of his rebellious Pantera phase. His rather entertaining cockiness neatly counterbalances the game’s more melodramatic moments, and it’s never not fun to pay witness to comedic quips from one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Death is also extremely powerful, and it’s not long until you discover just how much trouble you’re in if you cross his path. Wielding a pair of Scythes that look and feel about as cool as you would expect, the combat throughout Darksiders II is perhaps its strongest asset; it never becomes tiresome as Death picks up a swathe of new abilities throughout the campaign. Trying them out for the first time on unsuspecting enemies is a complete and utter joy.
Tight gameplay has been a staple of the series since it began and thankfully Darksiders II hasn’t lost any of that particular magic. In comparison to the original 2012 Wii U launch release, this Deathinitive Edition feels both smoother and faster. Death has a fair amount of ground to explore and when you’re not on the back of your trusty steed Despair – which you can summon in open areas as if from nowhere – you’ll be parkouring your way around dungeons, castles and fantastical ruins, all of which look pretty nice.
The inspirations of other titles run heavily throughout Darksiders II, and it would be somewhat foolish to proclaim this isn’t an amalgamation of the likes of Uncharted, Zelda and God of War, all wrapped up in one dark fantasy package. Leaning heavily into their exploration aspects without feeling like a carbon copy, the game’s levels feel vast and open, even though there’s only really one way to find your way through. Thankfully, your crow companion Dust is on hand to point you towards areas of interest if you’re finding it tricky to work out where to go next. Away from the dungeons, he has a rather helpful habit of discovering treasure chests, so be sure to keep an eye on his movements.
Fortunately, there are enough puzzles buried in the dungeons keep the brain engaged – particularly near the end – as you attempt to navigate your way to the next dungeon room. Exploration is most always rewarded with either enemies to fight or chests to open, each subsequently offering some kind of loot or upgrade to your armour, clothing or weaponry.
The game’s narrative runs parallel to the original Darksiders. Death has taken it upon himself to balance the universe, the ultimate goal being to restore humanity and clear his brother War of his crimes after trapping the souls of their Nephilim brethren in an amulet. In order to return humanity to life, he must travel to the Tree of Life by order of the Crowfather. Safe to say, unless you’re fully invested in Darksiders lore, the story offers little more than tying the path you take through the dungeons together. You meet a smorgasbord of characters along the way, none of which are particularly memorable or stand out for any discernible reason. Fortunately, Death is all the company you need – a sentence that makes complete sense in the context of Darksiders II.
From a technical standpoint, port developer Vigil Games has done its utmost to squeeze a rather large open world experience into a Switch cartridge. Visually, it’s an impressive showcase of the Vigil’s obvious talent, as the ‘Deathinitive’ upgrades – namely the lighting and the crisper visuals – are all here, present and correct. This is a handsome game, and the unique vision of Joe Mad's creative direction bursts off the screen.
Due to the shiny upgrades that came along with the Deathinitive Edition elsewhere, the Switch has had to take a little bit of a step down in terms of fidelity – yet it would seem this version has come off lightly in that regard, particularly when it comes to the near-infamous framerate issues which were a major issue of the original launch. This vast open landscape looks terrific in handheld mode, while playing docked on a bigger screen means you naturally see the game’s age a little clearer; still, there’s nothing that would suggest the Switch is holding Darksiders II back or lagging behind its previously-released counterparts.
Having said that, the camera can still be a pain when you’re traversing across walls and broken pillars to navigate yourself over a lava pit; it remains firmly on you rather than your destination, which perhaps can be chalked down to the fact that the core mechanics are now seven-years-old. It’s hardly a dealbreaker and requires little more than moving the camera to your desired location – though, when you’re in the middle of a time-sensitive puzzle, it can be very frustrating. Still, in combat any camera issues are immediately purged thanks to the game’s brilliant lock-on system. As you’re surrounded by those foolish enough to think they can take you down, a quick flick of the right thumbstick is all it takes you have your attention turned.
This Deathinitive Edition naturally comes packaged with the three previously-released DLC expansion packs, namely Abyssal Forge, Argul’s Tomb and The Demon Lord Belial. Offering several hours extra on top of the already impressively stacked campaign, they round up to around thirty hours of Darksiders content to take with you wherever you go.
It feels like it’s been a long time coming and thankfully, any concerns fans may have had ahead of a Switch release can be laid to rest by Death himself. Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition is a visual feast, offering little to those who have already played through elsewhere but holding nothing back for the purists and new players alike. Age-old camera issues remain, but if you’ve been waiting to get on board with Death and his Horsemen, this late-to-the-party package is an easy recommendation.
Excellent game but should I really get it a fourth time haha, would very cool to play it handheld
In the post on its way
Loved this on wiiu, will be getting it again 😁
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think Darksiders II was just okay. I loved the first five or six hours. Cool Zelda-esque and God of War game, but after Death arrives at a certain point you become nothing more than a glorified errand boy. A fudging Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Then the game turns into this mediocre third person shooter, picking up steam in its final act, only to squander it by having a very unsatisfying ending. I was kind of disappointed with the overall game.
I need a framerate and resolution analysis from Digital Foundry!
Fantastic game, doubt I will get it a third time but glad it's found a home on the switch. Really looking forward to Genesis!
@Xelha I didn't care for the third one. It seemed like a step down graphics wise and playability from the second. one. It was a very irritating game and sometimes it felt a bit unfair. It was such a pain in the ass when you die and have to go quite a ways back to continue. I much preferred the Tomb Raider games. Maybe I'm just not that good at smashing buttons. I'm glad it was free game with PS+.
Loved this on the PS4. Don't tempt me into double-dipping!
Why not. Hack & Slash combat, Zelda-like dungeons, great loot... What's not to like?
@Sadist Yeah I think this game was better in a bygone era, and I have never been a fan of it even then. We have had too many excellent games come out since that do for the most part what this game does but better.
@Sadist - I can agree with this. That being said, DS2 still the best in the series thus far. Outside boss battles, DS3 just lacked much what 2 laid groundwork for l.
I'm glad this is at that nice 30 dollar price point for physical even. I still want to pick up both of these games at some point.
Great review and good to see it got a decent score too as I loved the first game back in the day.
I won't be needing to buy the Switch version however as I have this and Darksiders 3 still on my PS plus backlog.
Mine will be waiting for me at work tomorrow! Can't wait!
Still need to finish this one day. Got this with the humble bundle.
I liked the sub headline of the article. It gave me a good chuckle, and it is very accurate. A love letter to both of those games to be sure.
Does this have a performance mode like Warmastered did on Switch?
Would love to play handheld, but given that it's in gamepass, I feel like this would be a foolish purchase on my part. :
Never played these games, and am tempted to try, but just too much to play at the moment. Unfortunately missed out on getting the first one for $16 a month or so ago because I didn’t have my deku deals list up to date!
Not quite my kinda game tbh. Really enjoyed the 1st one, but this often felt more like Diablo and less than an action'y Zelda. Probably not worse, but just compelling to me.
We have gotten both Darksiders 2 and 3 for Free with PS+ (Why I really never complain paying for it)
Free on PS4 is good enough for me. I'll wait for Darksiders Genesis on Switch.
I never did finish this on Wii U. I'll probably wait till I get a 1 TB card whenever they come down in price to download this and the first one. I'm almost out of space on my 400 GB...
Switchup says performance is bad.
Also Switchwatch @RossKeniston.
@Diogmites It's the game itself. It chugs even on X1X, and you don't need to get that far into the game for it to happen. Surprised NL says it runs well....I haven't see a platform that it actually does run well on yet.
That said, fantastic game!
Does this, or can this game run at 60fps? Part of what I love about the first Darksiders is performance mode, which looks awesome.
Have they improved the really small text in dialogue boxes and menus?
On Wii U I remember I could hardly read any of it as it was so small...
I never did finish this on the Wii U but I want both of these games. I really do hope 3 is coming, too. I want the whole series on the Switch.
I should really play this one, I played the first one to death
I can’t be the only one who’s feels this way but I think this series sucks!
I bought this after reading the positive reviews and comments here on NL got it on WiiU only to stop playing it as it’s terrible. I bought both 1&2 tried them both but the camera sucks like a PS2 gen game and the combat is just keep pressing this button until th game stops spamming enemies then move to a new area and repeat.
I’m really struggling to understand how this series gets this much love. Do I need to try again am I missing something?
@Filth_Element You are probably not alone on this BUT definitely in the minority. The majority (including me) LOVE the series
@Agramonte Recent Switch release Bulletstorm was 'free' on there too. I started the 3rd game and seems pretty good, suprised how quickly it went to PS Plus. Have this in my PS4 Library to play at some point...
@Zuljaras I tried I really did. I’m either a snob and think you (the majority) have bad gaming tastes... lol or I am completely missing something that you all are getting from this game. I don’t know...
Pantera are still listenable... The mayor of Albuquerque endorses them. If you were to go with an emo band joke, you'd do better to at least pick something like My Chemical Romance or Hawthorne Heights? Sorry, but I can't help but nitpick when it comes to metal music. Lol
I'll definitely be picking this game up next week (physical). I really enjoyed the first Darksiders on switch so I'm sure I'll like this one as well.
I just watched a review from switch up and they said framerate is terrible after the first hour of the game and no performance mode, so why does this review ignore this issue.
@Filth_Element I enjoyed the first on ps3, enough to platinum trophy it. Hard mode was way more fun, really kept me on my toes without it feeling cheap like some games hard modes.
@Zeraki Yeah, I made the mistake of picking the WiiU version of Warmastered up... Wanted to play through it a final time, but just couldn't.
@Ristar24 Yeah, so was I. Not complaining, just surprising how soon it went free. I liked #3.
The new one is different but now at AirShip Syndicate. And hopefully Joe Madureira is the Art Director again. Can't wait!
@Diogmites @Sammich @Fidget Does anyone know if it id better or worse than Wii U version? I haven't got it or played it at all as I was holding out for Switch version, so if it at least runs better on there I'll buy it.
Great game with a hilariously bad ending.
Just want to let people know that SwitchUp in their YouTube review says it doesn't run smooth as silk, in fact this game never runs at a smooth 60fps. Sounds like it maxes out at 30fps, with both resolution and frame rate dips in the open world areas. Bummer
Oh, and I guess they got rid of the performance mode altogether. So there's apparently no hope of a smooth as silk 60fps mode. Going to have to stick with the first Darksiders...
I've purchased this as a Darksiders Bundle on Steam. It's a pretty neat game.
I LOVED this game on the WiiU...the switch version being even better and apparently more solid(for the record I didn't have problems with the WiiU version) it's a must buy for me. Great game!
@Agramonte Pretty sure Joe Madz is back on art duties for Genesis which means life is good.
Even though the Tomb Raider reboot is unlikely to release on Switch, I really want the first Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider reboot games on Switch.
Tomb Raider is one of my all time favorite series. I love the exploration and puzzle mechanics so much. The previous trilogy had the preferred puzzles in my opinion though.
@Kang81 This and a Batman Arkham game
Yes! We already had Arkham City on Wii U, so we can easily get them all on Switch. With the exception of Arkham Knight anyway.
The framerate looked atrocious in the trailer for the game so I'm glad to hear that it's not a big of an issue to knock down the score.
@SHULZ021 Asylum and City would be insta-buys on Switch for me.
Some people really do not like these ports and remasters, but I for one am more than happy to have them on Switch.
I say, keep them coming!
THQ Nordic are Nazi sympathizers. Do not give them money
@Sadist agree... I played the first on Xbox 360 and love it... Then I bought the second and sell it after a 4/5 hours of playtime... IMHO 1>>>>2.
The second is lack of charisma... And also Death is not original at all... Seems a complete ripoff of Raziel
The score seems kinda high for an almost 10-year old game that has been rereleased multiple times on a number of former ad current sysems, and is not even the best on Switch, and it's still pretty pricey.
Rebellious Pantera phase? It's not a phase!!!
Anyhoo, do I see myself buying this game for a 3rd time? ...yes, I didn't get Death tattoo'ed on my body for nothing.
Wow, Death seems to have a surprisingly thin waist for his size. Good on him, I guess...?
Handheld hybrid Darksiders II to go with my handheld hybrid Darksiders I and soon my handheld hybrid Darksiders Genesis???
@Sadist I don't think you're in the minority there. Never played this game but it's similiar to opinions I've heard elsewhere early this year when I'd post around "hey I loooooooOOOOOoove Darksiders on Switch, should I get the sequel on Ps4?" And a lot of people shared that opinion. On the fence on whether I should get it.
I am getting my copy sent, and it should be arriving today. Can't wait to get my hands on it! I have played the first Darksiders on Switch (and only on the Switch) and get the ending with almost 100% completion. I think Darksiders doesn't really give you the immersed feeling like Zelda BOTW where you feel like you are absorbed into the story, but these kind of games stands out in the combat. With quite a few of selections of gears, abilities and upgrades, you will appreciate that every battle will make you stronger. Although you don't really have to choose once you get all the ultimate gears.
@MisterWhen Hahaha! this is the benefit of someone like me who never played any game before; anything that's good is worth the money for me!
Double dipped in the sale purchases. Worth it. Decent, timepass playthrough
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