[Review] Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition – Nintendo Switch

Written by slimwiggins
  • Developer: THQ Nordic
  • Publisher: THQ Nordic
  • Release Date: 26/09/2019
  • Price: £25.99 / $29.99
  • Review code provided by THQ Nordic

Intro

Shortly before the original release of ‘Darksiders II’ for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4, a THQ rep came into the games shop I was working in at the time to see how pre orders were coming along and to hype us all up about the game. Being a massive fan of the Original Darksiders, this guy became a fellow Nethilim within minutes and passes me an early promo copy of the game. This was my first taste of industry insider perks, and I became an even bigger fan of the franchise. Then THQ went bust, which is absolutely nothing to do with me chatting up reps for free games….

WAR? HMMMM, YEAH! WHAT IS HE GOOD FOR?

Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition follows ‘Death’, Nethilim turned Horseman on a mission to clear his brothers name for pseudo causing the death of humanity and a War between Heaven and Hell on Earth. He’s also tasked himself to finally revive humanity after keeping their souls safe for a future date. Death is actually not a bad chap. After the collapse of THQ, Vigil Games disbanded. This lead many die hard fans to wonder about the future of the Darksiders series, but fast forward to 2019 and we have Darksiders III, a Mobile title and a catalogue of remakes and definitive editions!

DEATH WARMED UP

Darksiders titles take advantage of standard action based platformer controls with shoulder buttons used for locking onto targets, dodging and switching to alternate attack options, whilst the Switches face buttons are deserved for interaction, first and secondary weapon attacks. The D Pad is used for Health and Wrath potions. Later on in the game players can unlock special finishing attacks and power ups, but I’ll let you discover that for yourselves! A loot drop system is in place, a drastic change from the previous title, which allows players to upgrade boots to weapons on the fly based on what they find in-game. Harbinger (physical) and Necromancer (modifier) skill trees are available to upgrade as players level up. This mechanic is necessary to progressing through the title given the difficulty levels as the game progresses.

Players must travel the many planes of existence, dungeon crawling in true Legend of Zelda fashion to reach Deaths endgame of freeing War and restoring Humanity. Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition features a hard mode, which scares me so I haven’t explored that area of the title. With that being said, the Switch version of DarkSiders II features all previously released DLC to keep players busy. Players are also tasked with collecting various items for NPC’s, from plates to ‘Book of the Dead’ pages which can be traded for in-game benefits and rarer items not found by smashing pots and breaking skulls.

Death’s Bar, Now Serving Spirits!

I have to say, Gunfire Games have done a sterling job of bringing Death to the Nintendo Switch. It’s no secret that Nintendo’s flagship isn’t as powerful as current gen powerhouses Xbox One and PlayStation 4, however DarkSiders II looks great on the Switch Lite’s screen without compromising art direction and in-game scenery. However, be advised that large open areas backdrops will have lower resolutions than players are used too. The stylised fantasy themed art direction in-game makes for a perfect port and looks flashier than ever!

Whilst the games soundtrack contains the gravitas and forewarning of a good old apocalyptical scuffle, it overpowers the voice over work to the point where it’s hard to hear. This isn’t an issue with the OST, but the voice acting. The actors in Darksiders II are fantastic, the most noteworthy is Michael Anthony Claudio Wincott’s rendition of Death (He’d make a great Loki, Right?). However, the game hasn’t had a re-balance in terms of track volumes which is a real shame. This was never an issue on the past 2 generations of Microsoft and Sony consoles, so I’d really like to know the reason why this is the case on the Switch. Thank the makers for Subtitles! Sound effects on the other hand mix in quite well with the OST and hold enough immersive qualities to keep players embedded in the narrative.

SPEAK UP DEATH, YOU MURAL QUIM!

Gunfire Games and THQ Nordic have had a lot of experience in porting DarkSiders titles, and needless to say, I didn’t encounter and graphical and gameplay bug / glitches in my review playthrough. Being honest, if players are looking to play DarkSiders II on a TV, I would highly recommend going for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions. They have been fully optimised for the 1080 / UHD age and look much more impressive, and it will cost less! However, for my fellow handheld gamers, it’s amazing to play such a well written and developed third party ARPG in the palms of one’s hands.

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS…

DarkSiders 2: Deathinitive Edition is one of my favourite ARPG’s and sits right next to the Legend of Zelda series in my view. Thanks to the addition of loot drops and a more agile antagonist, gameplay is a dream which is complemented by well thought out Dungeons and a solid plot. Console gamers will want to play on another console, but handheld gamers will be impressed by the performance of DarkSiders 2: Deathinitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch.

Pros

  • Solid frame rate performance throughout
  • No artistic compromise during the porting process
  • Has everything a brilliant ARPG needs

Cons

  • Voice Acting is drowned out by OST 
  • Backdrops are blurry in larger Areas
  • It didn’t release with the Death Mask Limited Edition

Verdict
It won’t kill you in docked mode, but Death is best experienced in Handheld mode on the newer models of Nintendo Switches.
4/5

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