November 28th, 2012, 01:43 Posted By: wraggster
Death may be deficient when it comes to charisma and skin tone, but he boasts one of the biggest adventures of the year in Darksiders 2. The Wii U version of the grim reaper's star vehicle is as roomy as a hearse and comes packingnearly all of the game's DLC right out of its new blue box.
The Wii U revision isn't too ambitious in utilizing Nintendo's new hardware, though this also spares us from obnoxious mechanisms that don't do justice to the game's original design. Pairing different weapons, powers and protective outerwear with Death's taut physique is a simple time saver on the Wii U's GamePad, and it's a great deal faster than the sluggish menu that shipped with the other versions. You can, of course, keep the original menu and play exclusively on the TV or your handheld screen.
There's some graphical tearing on the smaller screen, but otherwise Darksiders 2 comes close to technical parity with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. There appears to be more shadow pop-in within the larger areas, but the framerate holds up just as well (which is to say, it doesn't always hold up when fighting gets frantic). Attacks feel responsive through the game pad – the light click of the right shoulder button works especially well for Death's graceful dodge – and they all work through the Pro controller if you prefer. The face-button commands are not remapped, however, leading to considerable travel time for your right thumb between jumping on B and manipulating the camera via the right stick.
Other Darksiders detritus ends up on the Wiipad too: you jolt the controller to spur on your undead equine transportation (that's the thesaurus result on "zombie horse"), and you tilt it to roll around the impractical, spherical keys that tend to litter ancient temples. Neither of these are preferable to doing it the old-fashioned way, so it's just as well they're optional control methods.
The best addition to Darksiders 2 on Wii U is the inclusion of post-release content, offered separately on other systems. You can start using some bonus high-level weapons and armor once you exceed level 5, while "Argul's Tomb," a bonus campaign that can be accessed from the main menu, offers extra traversal puzzles involving portals and Death's ghostly grappling hook.
The overall game doesn't get the polish on Wii U that it needed on other platforms back in August, but it remains a majestic blend of melee combat, puzzle solving and exploration. And if you squint, it's the best Steven Tyler game since Revolution X!
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