Darksiders II Wii U review

  • The action-packed combat
  • Hoarding the massive amounts of loot
  • Challenging dungeons and puzzles
  • The Wii U GamePad functionality doesn't add to the overall experience
  • Graphical changes make some open areas bare
  • Lack of in-action dungeon maps on the GamePad is a missed opportunity

Darksiders II puts you in control of Death, a Horseman of the Apocalypse who sets out to prove the innocence of his brother War. Apparently, his bringing about the end times early and destroying the entire human race was a big no-no, so Death strives to set things right by beating the snot out of anyone he encounters. Death's quest to save his brother received high marks from the initial release Darksiders II review, and now the second Horseman rides to Nintendo's Wii U with additional functionality on the console's GamePad. 

The core gameplay remains the same on the Wii U. You'll have to battle a variety of enemies (from angels to demons and everything in between) with the upgraded combat system from the original game, navigate dungeons, and snatch up piles of loot. The dungeons play a huge role in the sequel, forcing you into a mishmash of challenges in the form of platforming, puzzles, and intense boss battles. With the versatile combination of gameplay elements, Darksiders II is still an amazing action-adventure, but there have been a few notable changes for the Wii U console.

If you've haven't already played the game on the Xbox 360 or PS3, the Wii U version offers incentives to dive in on Nintendo's console. You'll receive every pre-order armor set and the Argul's Tomb DLC packed in, which is a nice bonus. Plus, there are a few additional menu options that use the GamePad's touch screen. 

The first feature you'll notice is that an inventory screen and a quick-select abilities screen can be displayed on the GamePad. The abilities screen allows you to activate skills in combat and assign abilities to face buttons, while the inventory interface lets you equip armor, upgrade weapons, and drop stashed loot by tapping the on-screen buttons. However, the item icons are extremely small on both screens, making them more attuned to be selected using the stylus--so you may fumble with the controls if you prefer to use your fingers. Otherwise, the inventory is accessible through the normal pause menu.

The touch controls make it easier and faster to manage your inventory screen, but it's much easier to activate your combat skills with the traditional face buttons over the icons on the quick-select screen. Unfortunately, you won't be able to view the large dungeon maps or skill trees while in-game. Instead, you'll have to pause the game and navigate through the standard menus. It's a missed opportunity, since having the detailed dungeon maps sit on the GamePad screen while you play would've been incredibly helpful. There are also situations in which you can use the motion controls, like shaking the controller to spur your horse or tilting the GamePad during the boulder rolling puzzles, but none are really that fun or necessary. Overall, the GamePad doesn't add much to the experience, but it also doesn't hinder the game in any way, especially since all of the traditional menu navigation is intact.

Another noticeable change is that the visuals appear to have taken a slight dip in specific locations on the Wii U. Compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, there's a lack of detail in wide-open areas, like missing shrubbery and trees in the Forge Lands. However, in exchange for a few less trees, the draw distance for the detailed textures has been extended. Now the shadows and textures appear more detailed from afar instead of popping in at your feet like previous versions. It's a graphical give-and-take, but it's disappointing to see the open environments relatively bare on the Wii U.

Darksiders II on the Wii U port is an excellent way to experience Death's adventure. There haven't been any significant changes from the Xbox and PS3 versions. The combat is still thrilling, the dungeons are lengthy and challenging, and the loot hoarding is addictive. Even if the Wii U specific features don't particularly add to the overall experience, if you haven't played Darksiders II yet, you can't go wrong with picking up a copy for Nintendo's newest console.

More Info

Release date: Nov 18 2012 - Wii U (US)
Available Platforms: Wii U
Genre: Action
Published by: THQ
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Violence


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  • pat538 - November 20, 2012 3:41 p.m.

    For the record, there is a live dungeon map on the Gamepad. Just hit the Death mask top corners to switch inventory and dungeon map / objectives
  • AuthorityFigure - November 19, 2012 12:54 a.m.

    I never understood what this game was trying to do anyhow.
  • brickman409 - November 18, 2012 2:24 p.m.

    it's disappointing that there's drops in graphics compared to ps3 and 360. I never expected Wii u to have the best graphics than consoles of the next gen but I at least expected it to have somewhat better graphics than the consoles of this gen. Although Wii U has much better graphics than Wii, at least the Wii had better graphics than ps2 and xbox.
  • sbisset - November 19, 2012 7:30 a.m.

    That makes no sense. Darksiders 2 was developed for pc/360 and ported to PS3, same with all current gen games. It was never designed for Wii U so wouldnt be coded to natively display the graphics in the same way. In this case, draw distance was increased to improve visuals but some foliage was removed to compensate. Bethesda could probably learn something from them in that sometimes you have to play to a consoles strengths and remove stuff if its just going to cause problems, like skyrim on ps3. At the moment you cant judge the Wii U visually until they release games specifically designed for the console (eg Zelda). Ignore mario, that was a rushed side-scroller they couldnt even be bothered to upscale or render at 1080p. Besides graphics are old news. As long as edges arent jagged and characters badly animated then graphics play no part in whether a game is actually fun to play.
  • lazer59882 - November 19, 2012 10:57 a.m.

    lmfao "wait till real nintendo games come out, cause that's how to judge them, but ignore mario cause it fucking sucked, so let's pretend it didn't happen." dude i used to have the same problem back when i owned only a gamecube, making up ridiculous statements like that just to make myself feel better for buying a system that was clearly getting shafted in terms of games. it's can admit you made a mistake.
  • brickman409 - November 19, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    Yeah new super Mario U sucked, cause an average 8/10 rating totally sucks, right? and yeah GameCube had such shitty games all it had was the best smash bros. game, metroid prime, LOZ wind waker, pikmin, Mario sunshine, Luigi's mansion, Eternal Darkness and some other great exclusive games, what a lame system that was.
  • lazer59882 - November 20, 2012 2:07 a.m.

    i'm talking about the shit ton of games that DIDN'T come out on the GC. don't pretend they didn't exist. i just got a PS2 2 years ago, and i'm still buying and playing all the games i missed out on all those years (see: RPGs). i was the biggest nintendo apologist in the world when i was only owned a the GC, but looking back, the only way to have gotten through those days was to totally ignore all the other system's games. once you take the blinders off you realize how deficient the nintendo game library has been over the last 13+ years
  • brickman409 - November 20, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    Really? I just got a ps2 recently too and honestly very few game in it's library was really worth buying to me(even at the cheap prices). Most of it's library are multiplats that you could've gotten on the xbox, pc and even sometimes the gamecube. And besides what about all those great games I listed? those didn't come to ps2. Also did you not play paper mario and the thousand year door? That was an amazing RPG exclusive to the cube. A console is great because of the exclusives it had, not the because of the exclusives it didn't have.
  • lazer59882 - November 20, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    played and loved paper mario, tales of symphonia, even baten kaitos, but i knew i was missing the dozens of RPGs on the other systems. this generation i have only a 360, and i'm missing out on all the nintendo exclusives this generation but i don't care, cause of the wealth of other games available to me that the wii doesn't have. i remember looking forward to fucking Chibi Robo on the GC for like 2 years, cause it was the only game coming out for that span, and then it sucked. Nintendo systems have at most 1 or 2 games to look forward to per year. in the next week alone, i'm looking forward to 3 games that won't be released on the wii. i can do without paper mario, and zelda, and metroid (i hated prime 2, btw) when i've got hitman farcry dishonored assassins creed and skyrim to keep me busy.
  • brickman409 - November 22, 2012 3:29 p.m.

    yeah I'm kind of the opposite I couldn't go without metroid, Mario, or zelda. Just my opinion. But I got both a Wii and ps3 so I get the best of both (I'm just missing out halo)
  • brickman409 - November 19, 2012 5:59 p.m.

    yeah you're probably right. I remember back when call of duty 2 and gun were ported to the 360 they didn't look much better than the last gen ports.
  • garnsr - November 18, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    Now that we have games that people have played on other systems, how different is it playing with the GamePad? If you're used to the button layout for a 360 is it hard to jump to the reversed layout of ABXY on the GamePad? I mostly play PS3, and trying to do QTEs on 360 hurts my brain, because I have to think where the A button is, and now the A button isn't even in the same place as most people are used to. I know the DS has the same layout, but this is the first time we're playing the same types of action games with the Nintendo layout, instead of more side-scrolling and less actiony games on portables. Will Wii U games keep the Japanese habit of using the A button, all the way to the right, as confimrmation, instead of using the bottom button like we're used to in the West?
  • Redeater - November 18, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    "Graphical changes make some open areas bare" Yikes. I enjoyed the 360 version (not enough to warrant a second play through) but I thought the original DS2 was bad enough for having open bare areas.
  • Unoriginal - November 19, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    I cannot understand how the open areas in hat game can get any more empty than they already were.