Also On: Xbox One
Publisher: Nordic Games
Developer: Gunfire Games
Darksiders has always been a series that provided me with a bitter-sweet experience. Both games were a diamond in the rough, yet there was always something that held them back from being great. That something has stayed with the games even until the release of Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition. This something comes in the form of technical flaws. See our review of the original release here.
Notable issues were a mix of distorted audio tracks, audio not syncing with the cinematic at times, graphics clipping and lastly screen tearing. Most of these hiccups weren’t fixed on the Xbox 360, whereas the PS3 had patches early on to address most of it. You would think after the first game in the series having problems that, the developer would give the sequel some extra TLC to make sure these flaws are addressed.
When Darksiders II was released three years ago, it felt like a different game with the combat being more offensive based and the inclusion of a level up and looting system. The game received mostly positive reviews while still mentioning the existence of performance and visual issues that made a return. With the “Remaster” of DSII now available, it makes me wonder if these persistent issues will ever be resolved if we even get a Darksiders III.
In the case of Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition, my experience was mixed at best. The reason for that is because I spent time with both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the release. My initial time with DSII was on the digital release for Xbox One. From the moment the game started, I began to have issues.
It started with the Nordic logo appearing on the screen accompanied by screen tearing, which could not be resolved. Next, was the game load screen that would skip and you would hear the audio chopping. I haven’t even began playing at this point and I’m already at a rough start. I have to say, on the gameplay side, DSII looked great with high res textures. The last major issue I had was the audio not syncing in most cinematics early on. I wonder if this is an isolated issue with digital copies.
I feel if you are going to take a game that’s less than five years old and “Re-release” it, there should be some extra TLC with refining the game instead of it being mostly a straight port. The best examples of this is “The Last of Us”. It was the best way to date, taking a successful game, release it with true HD visuals and the ability to run it at a solid 60fps.
DSII DE redeems itself a bit with the physical PS4 version of the game. I had to stop playing a couple of hours into the Xbox One version because the audio issues took away from the experience. To make sure this wasn’t happening due to my console, I made sure to play other games in which I had zero issues. The PS4 version plays much smoother with minimal performance hiccups.
The only real drawback was the framerate would drop when fighting a larger amount of enemies at once. Other than that, it runs at a fairly solid 30fps and still has that addiction that drew me into the game despite its shortcomings. All of the previous DLC is included with the release along with previously PC only weapons. The exclusive armors you use to acquire at the Tome, are now scattered throughout the game.
There is a lot to love about DSII DE and I’m really hoping for a sequel. I’m still playing it and can look past the framerate drops, considering other issues have been addressed at least with this version. For $29.99, it’s a good value for someone new to franchise and only veterans who aren’t expecting a “Definitive” Edition. Maybe in five more years we can get a collection built from the ground up. Too ambitious?