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Darksiders II

by Edo Animus

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Original Thread: The Death of a Franchise - Let's Play Darksiders 2



Back in the ancient year of 2010, Vigil Games put out an M-rated Zelda game called Darksiders. It was pretty awesome. Guard Mom Heart and I LPed that game many moons ago. The original Darksiders was just a fun game that mixed God of War-styled combat with Zelda-styled dungeons. In August of 2012, the much anticipated sequel, Darksiders 2 came out. We will be playing through this game on Apocalyptic difficulty (the hardest mode available from a new game) and collecting all of the achievements (which amounts to getting all of the stuff in the game, clearing the optional bosses, and clearing the optional dungeons).

The thread title comes from the unfortunate fact that THQ, the publisher of Darksiders (as well as Saint's Row and Red Faction), went bankrupt and had to close down all of its wholly owned companies which included Darksiders developer Vigil Games. The Darksiders team members were mostly hired by Crytek USA, a new Crytek branch that opened in Austin, Texas while the IP rights for Darksiders were sold off in February 2013 and ended up in the hands of Nordic Games.

Because to that, the massive cliffhanger that ended Darksiders 1 may never be resolved. You might think that Darksiders 2 would have something to say about that, but you'd be wrong since this game is an interquel between the introduction of Darksiders 1 (where War unleashes the apocalypse on Earth) and the moment the Watcher is bound to War. During that gap of time (hundreds of years apparently), War's brother, Death, goes on a journey to prove his brother's innocence.

Darksiders 2 is a very different game than Darksiders 1. It still retains a lot of its Zelda roots, but adds in a lot of Diablo-style RPG elements including random loot and the always satisfying visible damage numbers that fly off of enemies when they are attacked. DS2 also has great music which we'll be hearing throughout.

As for thread participation, I'll welcome any suggestions about how to spec weapons, but since David hasn't played the game yet, I'd like to avoid any spoilers about the places, weapons (especially red weapons), and events.

Here are some of the strange characters we'll meet:

Death is our protagonist and one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. According to the intro, he was largely responsible for the genocide of the other nephilim (besides the horsemen themselves). This figures prominently into the plot. He is very agile and uses dual scythes as his primary weapons. He can also equip a variety of secondary weapons like axes, hammers and so forth (Hammers being the best, and I'll fight you if you say otherwise). Death is voiced by our good friend Michael Wincott, who you may remember as the voice of Jules Merit from Syndicate.

The Crowfather narrates the loading screens and the introduction of the game and is a new character introduced in Darksides 2. The introduction of the game is all about finding him in his icy castle. Unlike Darksiders 1, where most all of the characters had biblical parallels, the characters in Darksiders 2 are more their own thing. Vigil went to a lot of effort to expand the fiction of their Darksiders universe to include more than just bullet points from the books of Revelation and Enoch. That said, there are still some biblical allusions to point out. The Crowfather himself is mostly a forgettable macguffin used to start Death's story.

The Crowfather is voiced by Keith Szarabajka who voiced the Didact in Halo 4 as well as our favorite beam redirecting angel of death, Azrael, from Darksiders 1.

Eideard is the chief of what remains of the Makers in the Forgelands. He is voiced by James Cosmo, best known as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont in Game of Thrones. He is the wizened caretaker of the dying Maker's world and introduces Death to the concept of Corruption.

Muria is a blind sage that can craft talismans for Death. Talismans are useful trinkets that are the only non-cosmetic armor slot for Death (they just give good bonuses). By beating Darksiders 1 (as we have), she gifts you one of War's Pauldrons and the Chaos Scythes which are styled after War's Chaoseater sword from the first game. The Chaos Scythes are kinda a lot of really good for level 1.

Alya, David's favorite due a convergence of interests, is the fire-haired weapons merchant at Tri-Stone. She won't be selling Death any weapons until a few quests are completed, though.

Valus is Alya's brother and the actual smith working in Tri-Stone's forge. The Maker's Forge (capital M, capital F) needs to be restored before he can get Death some more impressive toys to play with.

Thane is a sullen and sarcastic warrior, depressed at the ending of his homeland and kinsmen due to Corruption. He is a combat trainer for Death and for a few thousand gold will teach him new moves. We'll be coming back to Thane periodically to buy new moves.

Karn, also known as "Pup", is a young maker with dreams of being a hero. He helps Death throughout his stay in the Forgelands and has some very good sarcastic dialog.

Oran is a very old Maker construct who has been dismembered over the millennia he has been sleeping. It's not as violent as it sounds, though, since he can just pop his pieces back into place as soon as Death goes on a "quest" to "fetch" them.

The Warden is a friendly sleeping construct dormant in the Lost Temple. He is one of the Tormented Gates seen in Darksiders 1, and has the ability to call stone to his aid which is a nice parallel to the Earthcaller from the first game being the device to activate the Tormented Gates. This basically means the Warden is needed to open the path to the final Forgelands dungeon, the Foundry. Like other constructs, he is slow moving and likes to yawn.

Absalom is one of the nephilim like Death and War that in times past tried to seize Eden. Death was opposed to this and killed them all. Now their souls are trapped in his chest. Absalom is now the personification of Corruption and gives Death an antagonist and the game a last boss. Absalom is a biblical name, he was the third of King David's sons as outlined in 2 Samuel. He is voiced by Simon Templeman who you may recognize as the voice of Kain from many of the Soul Reaver games, Loghain from Dragon Age or the Blacksmith from Diablo 3 among others.

Ostegoth is Death's store in the Kingdom of the Dead. He's got a great grizzly voice, some good lines and introduces another tier of collectibles - relics. He is voiced by Nick Jameson who has done voices for a number of Tim Schaffer games including Full Throttle, Psychonauts and Broken Age.

Draven is a human (!) who fought for his chance at an instant respawn by fighting through the Gilded Arena. At the moment, he hangs out on the deck on the Eternal Throne in service of the Lord of Bones for some reason. Honestly, the Lord of Bones claim to any sovereignty is dubious, but I digress. Draven acts as the advanced trainer for Death and will teach him all of the rest of the moves that the Blade Master talisman is currently bequeathing. Draven is voiced by the ubiquitous Troy Baker, who is matched in number, variety and prominence of voice acting roles by only a few like Johnny Young Bosch or Steve Blum. A few of Baker's roles off the top of my head include Booker DeWitt from BioShock Infinite, Kanji from Persona 4 and Snow from Final Fantasy XIII.

The Chancellor is a talking roadblock and one of the many Dead Kingdom NPCs who needs you to find or do three things in order to progress for various reasons. He's smarmy and a slave to protocol, but he ends up being more a more interesting character for Death to ridicule than the Lord of Bones whose name is silly and motivations inexplicable. The Chancellor is voiced by Barry Dennen who you may know as the voice of a few Dota 2 characters such as Chaos Knight and Phantom Lancer. He also played everyone's favorite roller skating bomb expert, Fatman, in Metal Gear Solid 2.

The Lord of Bones is the current ruler of the Dead Kingdom and for all his sneering and complaining seems to be a mostly ineffective regent. As far as I can tell, he was just sitting motionless in the Eternal Throne until Death showed up to offer his services. He is not nearly as endearing as Eideard, and serves little role other than an authoritative presence that doles out some thinly veiled fetch quests. The Lord of Bones is voiced by Phil Proctor, who has done voice work for a billion things according to IMDB, just nothing particularly memorable other than perhaps voicing the mad ringleader Flotsam in Dark Cloud 2.

The Mad Smith is an insane and ancient undead Maker that made the eponymous Abyssal Forge (from the Abyssal Forge DLC). His greatest sin is that he doesn't have the same accent as the other Makers. This is probably the main reason he was banished. He is voiced by André Sogliuzzo who also voices Karn.

Nathaniel is a member of the hellguard and a loyal servant to Archon Lucien. He fought alongside Death many years ago during the Nephilim genocide and will be our store for the Lostlight realm. He is voiced by a man that shouldn't need an introduction, Jamieson Price. The roles I know him for are as the Count of Monte Cristo in Gankutsuou, the voice of the eponymous Nier, the narrator for Street Fighter IV and of course Lord Genome from Gurren Lagann. He's been about three billion other video games and animes and is one of my favorite voice actors actually.

Archon Lucien is the caretaker of the outpost of Lostlight and, based on his title and number of wings, a high ranking angel. He is also very prideful. Ezekiel 1:5-6 describes the Cherubim thusly:

Ezekiel posted:

"...and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings."
Lucien does have the right number of wings but not four faces, although the case could be made for two. His name is totally not similar to any other famous prideful angels and his tower totally does not resemble Orthanc at all. I don't know why I even mentioned those things.

Uriel is an angel fighting in the Hellguard on Earth. She is a key player in Darksiders 1. At this time, she is still fighting abyssal forces on Earth in the name of Abaddon, which means that everyone fighting on Earth at the moment is doing so in his name, amusingly enough. She was voiced by Moon Bloodgood in the first Darksiders (an actress with an abundance of 'O's in her name), but is voiced in Darksiders 2 by the sultry pipes of Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. McGlynn is a prolific voice actress with memorable roles like Nevan from Devil May Cry 3 and Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, but I know her best as a singer; she is the woman who sings all of the vocal tracks for the Silent Hill series (2, 3, 4, Origins, Shattered Memories, Homecoming and Downpour).

Jamaerah is the chief Scriviner of the Ivory Citadel and has the gift of "second sight" according to him. He can spy on others and the Archon seems to have used him as his personal NSA, keeping tabs on the other angels of the Hellguard, for example. He has two tiny vestigial wings and floats around on his throne which makes him less "Hark, the herald angels" and more "Harkonnen, the herald angels". Jokes. He is voiced by Keith Szarabajka, the same guy who does the Crowfather's VO.

The Hunter is living proof that humanity was not completely wiped out by War during the Apocalypse. This seems like an extremely important plot point, but since he's introduced in a DLC chapter, frustratingly little comes of it. The Hunter is, naturally, voiced by Steve Blum. You should know who Steve Blum is, you're reading an internet forum about video games.

Demon Lord Belial appears very briefly even though a DLC campaign is named after him. He does make for a pretty good boss fight, so it's all good in the end. He even introduces us to some hitherto unseen characters through purple text in his dialog which makes a good segue into the demon realm in the next episode. He is voiced by Fred Tatasciore who did the voices for the Charred Council in Darksiders 1.

Lilith is the sultry manipulator heard, but not seen, in Darksiders 1. She is infatuated with power, be her own admission, and is pretty good at getting her way through subtle means. She is the creator of the Nephilim and fancies herself Death's mother in this way. Death is not too keen on the title. If we ever get a third Darksiders, Lilith would almost certainly be one of the main villains. See as her manipulation of Death has some parallels with Samael's negotiations with War, there exists plenty of pathos to base an entire meta-narrative around Lilith and Samael's ongoing disputes. But alas, this is probably not to be. Lilith is voiced by Jessica Straus who voices Juri in Street Fighter IV as well as...well...Lilith in the Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls.

Samael returns from Darksiders 1, except now we get to fight him, yay! He's unfortunately not as well designed as Belial, boo! He's just as smug and gravely-voiced as ever, though, thanks to his returning VA Vernon Wells. As mentioned in the character description for Lilith, there's probably an entire game's worth of complex vengeance that could be told between these two extremely powerful demons.

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