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On Darksiders 2 and Going Through the Motions

by shaxam1029   //   11:45 AM on 03.13.2013

One of the reasons that videogames manage to bring me back time and time again is the feeling I get when learning about a game's mechanics or familiarizing myself with a game's world. My favorite games are the ones that really differentiate themselves from real life and each other in terms of logic and atmosphere. There's a real sense of achievement that comes from successfully grasping a game's rules and understanding what initially may seem obtuse or nonsensical. Of course this is not a feeling that I get from every game. There are quite a number of titles that are highly derivative of each other in terms of their mechanics and game-logic. This is understandable; as the industry progresses it's going to become harder and harder to come up with truly "original" ideas. I can still enjoy a derivative game, as long as it puts some sort of spin on the established conventions or has a unique atmosphere.

Darksiders 2 is a game that I played quite a bit of. Currently I've logged in about 18 hours. During that time I fought some enemies, pushed some levers, and climbed on some stuff. I think.

Vigil's sequel is a curious case in that it's the only game that I spent a significant amount of time with but didn't enjoy. I know it seems illogical. If you're not engaged with a game you should probably save your valuable time and stop playing it. But I wanted to be engaged with Darksiders 2. I wanted it so bad. But at no point in my experience was I having fun with the game. Even though Death had been forced to inhabit and save this fantastical and whimsical world, an overwhelming feeling of familiarity permeated Darkisiders 2. I felt like I had been here before.

After I had some time to meditate on the experience I realized that I had in fact been there before. Almost all of the mechanics were retreads of experiences that I had in the past. POP-esque platforming, combat similar but not nearly as deep as Devil May Cry, and an overall structure that was extremely reminiscent of Zelda. As I said earlier, I don't mind derivative games, so long as the game contains a significant feature that hasn't been seen in that genre or an atmosphere that is unlike anything else in the medium. I got nothing from Darksiders 2. The story did nothing to grab me, and I felt that the visual style, while initially beautiful, made everything look rather samey after a while. "Soulless" would be how I would put it.

I don't hate Darksiders 2. I realize that it was critically acclaimed, and I realize that it's a well made game that had an incredible amount of work and love put into it. The developers really did polish the mechanics to a shine, but I couldn't help but feel incredibly dull after spending time with it. I'm still glad that I played it, as it made me realize why a lot of games are just flat-out boring to me. I'm sorry if I upset any Darksiders fans out there, but I just thought I'd share my thoughts.Photo Photo view gallery
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