In the first “Darksiders,” you guided War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, on aquest to clear his name of the charge of jumping the gun on the end of the world — the last battle between the forces of Heaven and Hell — which led to the total annihilation of humanity.
“Darksiders II” isn’t a direct sequel to the first, which ended with the Horsemen on their way to reunite with a vindicated War. It runs concurrently — while War is imprisoned, his brother Death is bent on securing his freedom, but to do that he’ll need to find a way to bring mankind back from extinction — not a task that comes naturally to him.
What does come naturally is hacking the heck out of anything that gets in his way with his razor-sharp scythes, and he’ll have plenty of opportunity to employ them on his journey. Death will also find a variety of armor and accessories to boost his abilities, as well as secondary weapons used for slower, heavier attacks
He will also earn the use of numerous special abilities as he gains experience from defeating foes and completing quests. He has two main groups of abilities, one focusing on direct attacks with his scythe, the other on strengthening his defenses and summoning minions to aid him in battle.
You can purchase skills in either of these groups as you wish, and you can buy back all your skill points so they can be reallocated if you don’t like how your version of Death is working out.
Like the first game, “Darksiders II” is a potpourri of good ideas from other games — among them are puzzles, exploration and some aspects of combat drawn from the last 15 years of “The Legend of Zelda”; other aspects of combat from “God of War”; the acrobatic, wall-climbing mobility of “Prince of Persia”; the skill trees and loot collection of any number of action RPGs; and a visual style that owes much to the exaggerated aesthetic of “World of WarCraft” — all mashed together and given enough flavor of their own to feel fresh and interesting rather than derivative.
Most games liberally borrow elements from those that came before, but few pull off a mixture of so many elements with this much fun and flair.