Genre: Video GamesAction/Adventure
Release Date: 08/14/2012
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Online Enabled: No
ESRB Rating: M
ESRB Explanation: For Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Common Sense Says: Violent action RPG tracks gallons of blood spilled.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Darksiders II is an extremely violent, action-oriented role-playing game intended only for mature players. Sensationalized fantasy combat includes gory finishing moves that see opponents impaled, decapitated, and yelling out in pain as they perish. While the game focuses on a distinctly Christian notion -- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- it shies away from any other terms or ideas that might be connected with a specific religion.
- Families can talk about violence in media. Do you see any difference between gory, bloody fantasy violence carried out against non-human creatures and gritty, realistic military violence set in more familiar environments?
- Families can also discuss the inclusion of religious iconography in games. Is there a proper place in interactive entertainment to depict spirituality, or should games simply stay away from the world of religion?
What's the story?
DARKSIDERS II, sequel to 2010's Darksiders, continues the exploits of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War was the star of the original, but players shift into the skin of his brother Death for the series' second installment. He's on a journey to prove War innocent of prematurely initiating the apocalypse. His travels take him to planes beyond Earth, where he meets, among others, the mammoth-sized Makers of worlds (not to be confused with the grand Creator), who help guide him on his quest. As in the first game, players spend most of their time exploring monster-infested areas while undertaking a variety of missions, leveling up, and upgrading their weapons and armor as they carve their way through hordes of fantastical opponents. Other parts of the game involve some tricky parkour-like antics, with players climbing walls and leaping between pillars.
Is it any good?
Grown-up gamers will appreciate the enormous size of Darksiders II's world, the sophistication of its character growth and combat systems, and the high quality storytelling, which includes talented voice actors and a twisty, compelling narrative that sinks its hooks into players in the first chapter. The visual presentation lacks the sort of polish seen in other high-profile fantasy games -- object surfaces lack sheen and detail, and the world seems a little flat at times. However, what's here is more than sufficient to create believable, otherworldly environments in which it's easy to lose oneself for hours on end.It's not the sort of game that pushes many boundaries, but older players looking for a lengthy, well made, and just plain fun adventure filled with plenty of hacking and slashing are unlikely to go away disappointed.
How to play
Playbility: This game uses a classic, easy-to-learn control layout that most players will have little difficulty picking up. It also has three levels of difficulty, ensuring players of all skill levels can find a suitable challenge.
The Good Stuff
Messages: This game sensationalizes bloody fantasy combat with the intent of making gory violence entertaining. While the game is based on the Christian concept of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the game makers have avoided reference to any other Christian-specific concepts, resulting in a game world that is at once darkly spiritual but not really associated with any particular religion.
Role Models: The game's hero, Death (one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), isn't explicitly good or evil, but he employs violence to solve virtually all of his problems. One of his goals is to restore humanity, and he also wants to save his brother, War, but his motives are tainted by selfishness.
Ease of play: This game uses a classic, easy-to-learn control layout that most players will have little difficulty picking up. It also has three levels of difficulty, ensuring players of all skill levels can find a suitable challenge.
What to watch out for
Violence Players use a variety of bladed and blunt weapons -- oversized scythes and hammers -- to fight fantastical creatures in brutal, gory, third-person combat. The game depicts decapitations, eviscerations, and impaled creatures, often with large splashes of red blood. One of the game's statistics tracks how many gallons of blood have been spilled, and it quickly enters the hundreds, and then the thousands. Players will hear cries of pain from defeated enemies.
Sex: Players encounter some fantastical monsters adorned in revealing outfits that expose deep cleavage.
Language: The word "hell" appears a few times in voiced and text dialogue.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue