Darksiders II – Steam Backlog Bonanza [Blaugust 17]

614 words.

Death knocked at the door yesterday, and I answered with a game called Darksiders II. Get it? Because Death is the protagonist in Darksiders II? Anyway, it was the 20th day in a row of the Steam Backlog Bonanza, and one of the most expensive games in the list so far. I got Darksiders II for $10 in 2013, and it’s taken six years to install and play the game.

It's not World of Warcraft, it's Darksiders II.

I also bought Darksiders at the same time, and previously played that game for eight hours according to Steam. I remember enjoying it, but it was a fairly shallow button-mashing, eye-candy sort of game that’s easy to forget about. I never finished it.

Darksiders II started out the same way. Lots of button-mashing, meaningless arcade-style combat, interspersed with climbing walls and platforming similar to Tomb Raider. (The older, more arcadey ones.) There were some way over-the-top cut scenes with epic, melodramatic dialog that didn’t make any sense because I never finished the first game. I felt like I was playing a kid’s game.

Still not World of Warcraft.

Then a weird thing happened. I defeated the first Big Bad, and I was about to stop playing because I had long since lost interest in it. But the entire game changed completely. It turned into something resembling an open-world RPG, almost like a single-player MMORPG. Suddenly you encountered and talked to NPCs with dialog choices. Suddenly there was a huge map with sprawling locations and different directions to explore. Leveling up and character development started to happen.

I’m probably overselling it, but it seemed like a big shift in the nature of the game, and I became more interested in continuing. I still stopped after about an hour and 20 minutes, but I had shifted my opinion from “this is a kid’s game” to “say, this is not entirely awful.”

It's even got a cool stylized parchment map, the best kind.

Visually, the game looks almost identical to the sort exaggerated cartoon style of World of Warcraft. If you put the two games side-by-side, it would probably be hard for a novice gamer to tell the difference. The music is dramatic and intense. The voice acting is bigger than life. It’s like a summer blockbuster movie.

Will I play more? Probably not, because the combat wasn’t very interesting, and the story wasn’t very interesting, and life’s too short and I still have a million games left on my list to finish.

But I will say that the game surprised me a little bit. It’s a game that I wouldn’t mind playing more if I was sitting around watching paint dry, bored out of my mind. But that almost never happens in my life. The kind of days where I need to fill twelve hours with gaming to stave off boredom are far, far behind me.

Interesting side note: The edition of the game that I bought in 2013 doesn’t exist on Steam anymore. Now you can only buy the “Deathinitive Edition."

Live Stream - Darksiders II

Stream Production Notes: I had to turn off the PC again yesterday because of early afternoon thunderstorms. This time, I remembered to reboot twice and check the audio sample rates before streaming. Otherwise nothing much to report, except that I was surprised how long I kept playing the game. I thought I might end it after 30 minutes, but then I kept thinking, “Okay I’ll just play a little more to see what happens next.” Ultimately I stopped more because I was tired than because I didn’t like the game.

Previously on the Steam Backlog Bonanza: A Story About My Uncle.

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