2012's year of gaming is coming to a close and that means Neoseeker is deep in deliberation over its "Game of the Year" award. In the months of December and early January each of Neoseeker's 10 nominees for Game of the Year will be profiled. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade us which game deserves such an honorable award.
The third nominee in Neoseeker's first official "Game of the Year" extravaganza is Darksiders II, an action RPG that tails the horseman Death. In 2010, Vigil Games introduced us to War, and made an unlikely hero out of a Horseman of the Apocalypse. In a bizarre twist of fate and conspiracy, War became Man's champion, tasked with discovering the truth behind our untimely extinction. Darksiders II
picks up after takes place during these very same events, only from Death's perspective, as the eldest horseman embarks on his own journey for truth -- not to save humanity but to exonerate his brother of crimes committed by others.
Like its predecessor, Darksiders II stands out thanks in large part to its visual design, with a look that really captures the fantasy aspect and gives the series an indentity all its own. Sure, we've seen plenty of other combo-heavy action games come and go, but none I've recently enjoyed so much as I did this particular one.
Why Darksiders II is great:
- Worlds never seen before - Darksiders II takes us on a high fantasy, post-apocalyptic romp through a myriad of gorgeous environments. The first game focused mainly on Earth (the Third Kingdom) after humanity had long died off, and demons layed claim to our former home. So many returning fans were quite surprised to see the variety Darksiders II served up, moving well beyond the familiar Third Kingdom to show us places where giants and angels reside. Of course Death returns to Earth, but the vastness of Darksiders II's world offers adventurous gamers hours upon hours of exploration... and eye candy. What this game does that so many others fail at is instilling a sense of awe by showing us places and things we've never seen before.
- A touch of RPG - Games that stick exclusively to the tenets of a single genre are growing more rare these days. With Darksiders II, Vigil layed on a thick coating of RPG goodness, allowing players a great deal of freedom when it came down to how they wanted to play. Death could be a fearsome necromancer commanding a small army of minions, or a down 'n' dirty brawler who relies more on his weapons than magic. Even the weapon customization is addictive, and it all works in adding some much welcomed depth, avoiding that "been there, done that" feeling.
- Death - For a guy with no (visible) mouth, Death is surprisingly expressive, and he's all the more likable for it. Vigil took many lessons to heart after Darksiders, one of which was to make a proper, well-rounded character. Interestingly, Death wound up having many more lines than War, despite lacking an actual face. It's easy to notice all the effort that went into shaping his character, the subtleties that make him a more rounded character than his younger brother. While not the most outspoken of people, Death is nonetheless engaging as a hero (though no less awkward about it than War), drawing us in with a cynical sense of humor and incredible loyalty to his kin.
Those are some major reasons why Darksiders II is one of Neoseeker's nominees for Game of the Year. Certainly, it's not the first of its kind out there, but the game -- and series as a whole -- has managed to separate itself from the competition. It does so by being more than just an action game, by offering the depth of an RPG with the visceral combat of a hack 'n' slash. And most importantly, the game stays true to its high fantasy story, with a beautiful look distinctive to the series, and characters that are memorable both in appearance and personality.
Neoseeker Game of the Year nominees:
- The Walking Dead
- Hotline Miami
- Darksiders II
- Assassin's Creed III
- Far Cry 3
- Halo 4
- Guild Wars 2
- Dota 2
Also, check out and vote in our community Game of the Year poll, where the current leader is Borderlands 2.