At E3 this year, we were fortunate enough to get hands-on time with Vigil Games' Darksiders II and speak with producer Jay Fitzloff about this stylish post-apocalyptic action-meets-RPG hack 'n' slash.
One of the biggest changes we've heard about -- and saw firsthand -- is the integration of more RPG elements. We saw some of this in Darksiders, where War could build his skills and purchase consumables at a vendor. Not bad for an action game, but in Darksiders II, Vigil is stepping up with all kinds of loot and customizability; secondary weapons, armor slots, and skill trees are just a few examples. The demo didn't include a vendor, but enemies do drop gold now as well, as opposed to souls in Darksiders.
Customization extends to both visuals and gameplay. The armor you pop on Death can change his appearance, and his new in-depth skill trees allow players to build him according to their own play styles. As Fitzloff noted during our post-demo interview, he can actually go full ranged with the Necromancy tree, turning Death into a powerful sorcerer.
Death is also considerably lighter than War, which becomes apparent the moment you lay your hands on the controller (or keyboard). The control scheme hasn't seen any noticeable changes between games, yet Death feels like a completely different kind of beast. He'll scramble up walls and leap over gaps with greater ease than War, and unlike his younger brother, favors evasion over blocking. To really drive this point home, game pits players against a facsimile of War early on, as a treat for Darksiders fans and an introduction for newcomers. That Vigil was able to capture this difference between brothers is quite unexpected but incredibly impressive.
Check out our interview with Fitzloff below, during which we also address the issue of puzzles and backtracking. Hey, who doesn't remember the Black Tower level from Darksiders? You know, when the game suddenly became 90 percent puzzles and running around like a lost, headless chicken. Death, as it turns out, is also more of a talker than War, meaning more dialogue options.
E3 2012 interview - YouTube
Darksiders II will be out next month, and after what we saw at E3 this year, it's easily one of our most anticipated titles of 2012.