Considering how much better PC versions of games generally were in the last generation, it's been nice to see so many titles make the jump from Xbox 360 to Xbox One. Games such as DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition have seen huge improvements both graphically and gameplay wise. For the most part, these enhanced versions of games have been a welcome addition to the Xbox One's game library.
Darksiders II was a logical choice to receive such an update since the Xbox 360 release was plagued with performance issues, and its new owner would like to capitalize on their new property. Thus the poorly named Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition came into existence. Surely, this version of the game has fixed the issues that were in the original release, right?
Nope! Somehow Darksiders II has just as many issues (if not more) on Xbox One. If you compare the Deathinitive Edition with the 360 release head-to-head, you'll notice that the game drops a few less frames, and the screen tears less frequently. It's a slight improvement, but still many steps below where the original PC version performed. Something as simple as moving the camera will expose Darksiders II's game engine. The game looks as if it's going to break with every single movement, with the game constantly juddering. A few technical issues could be easily dismissed, but not one that impacts the game constantly.
But enough about Darksider II's technical issues (for a moment, at least), let's talk about what the game really is. Darksiders II is an interesting take on the adventure genre, and is probably the closest game that Xbox owners are going to get to playing a Legend of Zelda title. Players will control Death himself as he travels the world to prove his brother, War, innocent of the crimes he's been alleged of committing. Doing his best Link impersonation, Death travels from dungeon to dungeon solving puzzles and fighting baddies.
The combat, when it isn't impacted by the aforementioned performance issues, is generally fun. Death can use a variety of weapons, from melee to ranged, and there are plenty of different enemies to take on. It feels good, but nobody will confuse the game for being a full-blown action game. This isn't Bayonetta 2, but the action gets the job done.
The real draw to Darksiders II is exploring the world, and solving puzzles. The puzzle solving really forces players to think, and is by far the most satisfying part of the game. The dungeons get trickier as the game goes on, and as you gain more abilities, so there is a constant learning curve that keeps the player engaged. Players will also want to see each part of the world, since the art design is top notch. Darksiders II looks visually stunning at points, and the locations are all varied enough to make the world seem truly fantastical. Well, until you move the camera or in get into a combat situation.
And that is the problem with Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition. The technical issues bleed into every part of the game. The graphical immersion of being in this amazing world is constantly destroyed by screen tearing. The fun combat turns into frustration, and ultimately players will become angry since Darksiders II deserves a better console version. A definitive edition, even.
At its core, Darksiders II is a great game. That is what makes Darksiders II: Deahtinitive Edition all the more frustrating. A horrendous frame rate negatively impacts every aspect. Combat feels clunky, and the graphically impressive game ends up looking bad in motion. At least Nordic Games didn't technically call this a definitive edition, as it's really anything but.