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Darksiders II, a cautionary tale as victimized by my PS3

This is the story about how Darksiders II broke my PS3.

I first heard about Darksiders when I was working at an EB games. We had just finished the Christmas rush and this curious title was coming out AFTER Christmas. I thought it was strange, then, when I thought about it for five minutes, I realized the brilliance of it. Lots of people get money or gift certificates for Christmas, Hanukkah, Rahmidan, snow flake day, festivus or whatever, they needed something to spend it on. A triple A and a new franchise, none the less, was a good idea, since alot of the gamers that came into our store were the kind that were always hungry for new games. Most people don't buy new franchises over old, so it was a good move.

My colleagues and I looked through the pre-order art book, the art was pretty awesome. I draw occasionally, and the art reminded me of Matt Holmberg's art form the Late great Magi-Nation card and GBC game but with way more metal. It gave me a strange sense of nostalgia as I looked over the glossy pages. The designs were similar, with over sized gloves and boots, but the art was altogether more grown up. I could just Imagine four epic games, one for each horseman. I resolved to sell the game and make it a success, and to buy it when I could afford a 360 or PS3.

Magi-Nation art by Holmberg/Gillette/Goodman

Then life happened. I did get a PS3, I waited a year for a backwards compatible one to land in our back room and I snatched it up right away. I lost my job at EB games and I worked briefly for HMV, were I kept selling Darksiders. I worked at a bunch of other retailers and finally, last spring, I picked up the game after getting a job that allowed me to afford the occasional game.

I loved it.

It was exactly what I had hoped it would be. Brutal and visceral but with enough Zelda in it to make you think a bit. Unfortunately, I thought too hard sometimes and came up with far more complicated solutions to puzzels than what needed to be done. I collected the abyssal armor and beat the game.

But there was a problem. The game was glitchy. I only encounterd a few bugs, usually managed to work around them. There are three major ones that did hamper my enjoyment of the game.

The first was against the spider boss. One of the bosses would teleport above you and slam down. While she was doing this I acctivated War's Chaos form, this somehow forced me through the floor to a point I wasnt supposed to reach until I had killed her. Thankfully, there was a floating stone pillar that I activated and could grip that forced me back up through the floor and I could resume the fight, but even better, the stone pillar would periodicly come up through the floor and sheild me from the teleport attack as she would land on it instead of me.

The second glitch I found was against an angel boss. I manged to somehow summon my horse, Ruin, during the fight and the game crashed. No big deal I just restarted the PS3.

The last was when I was looking to complete the abyssal armor. I was in a cave and I noticed I could summon Ruin, I didn't think I could till I was out of the cave. Thinking 'hey, why not?' I did and the game promptly crashed, again I restarted my PS3 and was on my way.

After beating the game, I felt immense satisfaction. I looked online and found that the game was known to be glichy but I felt that although there were a few glitches that I encountered, the good out weighed the bad. Plus, one of the glitches had actually helped me. I knew the next game would be out soon and I was excited. I found the retailer with the preorder bonuses I wanted and the very next day after beating the game, I left EB games with a preorder in my wallet.

Then the game was delayed. It turned out it was coming out a week after Persona 4 Arena. I thought 'man, August is going to be expensive', but I had budgeted for both games, so it was not a huge problem. Persona 4 Arena came out and it was awesome. I couldn't wait for my friend, who is the only other Persona fan I know, to come back from camping so we could have some matches. I vowed to get a platinum trophy in the game and I tought my girlfirend to play fighting games.

I picked up Darksiders II the day it came out. It got a good score here on Destructoid and on Kotaku, though Kotaku mentioned glitches, the thing about developer not being credited came to light and although I didn't agree with it in principle, I relized that many games we play have uncredited developers and that developers do need to wisen up, but I chalked it up to industry growing pains.

The loot!

My days then became like this from a video game stand point: play Persona 4 Arena for a few hours then Darksiders II for as much time as I had left. The first weekend I clocked a monstrous 12 hours into the game in about two days. The game was fun, but it worried me that it would crash for no reason, literally no reason. Sometimes it was leaving an area and the little orange loading symbol would simply stop spining, other times it was in the middle of a fight. Every time I played the game more the an hour, it crashed. Every. Single. Time. But still, I was loving it. The Makers were cool, I got a bonus for having beaten the first Darksiders, and Death was pretty badass. The excutions were the only thing I thought were lacking. War made you feel like the enemy had screwed up, Death just kinda stabbed them.

Yesterday, I was playing the game and I picked up a possessed glave in the first dungeon of the dead lords. 'Sweet' I thought, I haven't gotten a possessed weapon in a while and if I can make it good enough I should do better in the crucible. While looking at what weapon to feed it, the game crashed. That's right, it crashed in a menu. I restarted my PS3 for the second time that day and I got a screen telling me the PS3's hard drive might have been currupted and it needs to be checked. A minute later, it was done with no problems found. I got into the game, I chose my save file and hit continue. The screen's colors went crazy and it crashed. I restarted the PS3 again, and I heard the familiar opening tune, but it didn't start. I restarted it again, same result. And again, same. I turned it off at the switch in the back, and on again, same result. My heart sank, my PS3 was broken.

I went online and I found a trouble shooting guide on how to start the thing on safe mode. I did that and... it worked! I chose to do another scan of the hard drive and I got a message that it was ok. I went into the game and played for about 10 minutes I was disappointed that the glave was gone but it was ok, it was working again... then it crashed.

Now I was pissed. I removed the disk and had to start it in safe mode. I did another scan... except the scan never initialized, it just kept saying "preparing" for an hour. Beyond frustrated at this point, I started the system again and got greeted by a screen saying that the system needed to be scanned! I got it scanned and managed to boot up persona 4 arena. I started up score attack mode and... it crashed again in a diffrent game.

After much fiddling I managed to start the system and transfer much of my save files to my PSP (excluding the 20 hour Darksiders II save file) and decided to do a full hard drive wipe. Everything. It took over four hours. When I came back I started the machine again and got to the "please put in the date" screen, the colors flickered on screen then nothing worked. Frustrated, I turned it off and on again and it worked. I set everything up, transfered my save games. and played a few rounds of Persona 4 Arena with my girl. I was cautiously optimistic, I knew it had crashed on the date code, but it worked well for an hour. This morning, I decided to boot up the PS3 to play some P4A, and it crashed after the tune. I tried again, same. I booted it in safe mode and tried a disk scan and was greated by a screen that is mostly purple and green.

Today's screen is blue. Yay variety.

Thanks, Darksiders II, you broke my PS3.

I don't have money to spend on a new PS3 right now. My seasonal job is about to come to an end and those two games plus whatever I was going to receive for Christmas and my birthday were supposed to hold me though until I get a new job. I was thinking of getting a Vita sometime next year as my big purchase for the year.

This is a problem with the industry these days. They ship games they know are broken. There is absolutely no way they didn't know about this. Sure, they could patch it later but no patch is going to fix my PS3. I went out of my way many times to help this game out, not only as a consumer but as a sales person. THQ and Vigil have shipped a broken game that broke my PS3. Now I can't enjoy, not only Darksider II, that I PAID for, but all the other games I paid for. The game insutry needs to be brought up to the standards of other industries. When there is a manufacture's defect in a product that causes harm to people and/or the property they own the product gets recalled.THQ and Vigil are far from the only ones guilty of this. Bethesda holds responsibility for the acceptance of this mindset as well. The video game industry mentality is now something along the lines of 'we'll fix it later in a patch if we aren't too busy making horse armor'.

It's funny, though, because one generation ago this wasn't the case. Even now there are companies that release games that work when you put them into your system. Out of the box.

I have internet, so I can download a patch but what about those who don't have internet? They are stuck with a broken game that they can't fix forever.

THQ and Vigil probably won't do a thing for me. They know about the problem, I posted it to their facebook page. They most likely will ignore a consumer like me, but I've learned my lesson. If I hear of game crashes, you can count me out.

Final thoughts for those who are about to tell me stuff like "your PS3 is broken, not the game", you should know a few things. I have an old PS3 (backwards compatible), so if the machine was broken it should give me the Yellow Light Of Death. It does not. The other thing is, besides the first Darksiders, my PS3 has crashed a total of one time when I was playing Fallout 3 GOTY. Of course there is the "your PS3 was on it's way out anyways, it just happend to die when you were playing Darksiders II". Well that would be a vailid argument, Mr Strawman, but I was also Playing Persona 4 Arena with absolutely no problems. So empirically the only thing that has changed is this one game.

In summery don't buy Darksiders II. It breaks consoles.
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About Cronomaxone of us since 8:33 PM on 01.26.2011

I am long time gamer who's more into portables than consoles.