Death rides again.
Darksiders II is a prequel to the first game, taking place during the hundred years that War spends recovering from his fight against Straga. This time you play as Death, the eldest and strongest of the fourth horsemen as he tries to spare War from his punishment. The game sees the return of a few familiar faces and a wide assortment of new ones. The new characters are very appealing visually, thanks to the amazing art style, but they don't feel as fleshed out or memorable as the first game's cast. As for Death, it would've been easy to make him a carbon copy of War, but he has a very different personality to War, instead of Heroic and stoic, Death is a textbook deadpan snarker with a very cocky demeanor(The reason Death can't block is because he doesn't want to, he believes enemies can't touch him). Instead of traversing Earth, Death's journey takes him through more mystic realms, it's definitely a different tone from the first one, more surreal and mystic, and while I did prefer the first game's world a bit more, it's a nice breath of fresh air.
Just as the previous game borrowed a lot from other games, Darksiders II adds a couple of new borrowed ingredients. Killing enemies now yields experience points, and occasionally, loot. You'll be outfitting Death with various forms of Harnesses, Pauldrons, Gauntlets, Boots and a Necklace, as well as various Scythes or Gauntlets, Glaives, Axes or even Hammers, all which reflect on Death's look. There's a small amount of possible suffixes and prefixes for each equipment piece, with a ton of added bonuses, maybe elemental damage, HP or Mana stealing properties, not to mention that Legendary items posses exclusive bonuses. The game also adds, as far as a I know, one original mechanic to the loot system, Possessed items. You can sacrifice other equipment pieces in order to raise the power of possessed items, nothing groundbreaking, but hey, it's original! As for the experience system, leveling up provides the obligatory stat increases alongside a skill point to spend in one of two skill branches. Each branch has four different skills, and while you don't need to spend X amount of points in one branch to access further skills, each branch has numerous "sub-skills" that will add side effects or buffs to the skills themselves. Simple, fun, effective. These new additions help to fix something I feel The Legend of Zelda(The biggest inspiration for the series) suffers... that combat doesn't feel rewarding enough, well, now it does!
Darksiders II is a fantastic sequel to a phenomenal game. All the new additions to the formula are welcome, however, they could've use some more fine-tuning, still, this was the right track for the series to follow.
9.0 out of 10.