I am not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of the Darksiders franchise. Sure, the games do get a bit long and somewhat repetitive, but the world is immersive and the stories do engage me while I crawl from dungeon to dungeon. I am also thankful that Prima was kind enough to let me review the Darksiders II strategy guide as it provided a nice compass on my spelunking adventures!
Anyone who played the first game already knows that the combat in this game leans towards combo junkies. This is where Prima does a nice job with the beginning of the guide by going into great detail over the combat and exploration aspects of the game. Everything from the basics of wall grabs and swimming to complete charts detailing every combo with various weapons make an appearance. What I liked a lot were the tips scattered about this section. They not only pulled the info together, but also aided in making this combo rich game that much more fun.
After handling the fundamentals, the guide dives into the walkthrough of this lengthy game. This area is chock full of screenshots, maps, tips, and other useful information. I found it to be pretty thorough and easy to follow, with the rare exception being that some item location descriptions can become a bit cryptic, but the included screenshot usually aids in deciphering these riddles.
Another nicety is that each mini-boss and every main-boss receive a good amount of attention. The guide nicely describes behaviors and what to look for in order to bring each baddy down to their knees. I found myself relying on these sections after several failed attempts on my own. I also found I cursed myself for not seeing something as obvious as mines here, or a crevasse there.
The last bit of goodness in the walkthrough portion is that it starts with a small description of each area as well as a breakdown of what one can expect to find in their dungeon crawling endeavors. I also liked that each area ends with the optional sidequests listed, thus giving me the option of tackling those or continuing with the main story. One subtle addition is the recommended levels attached to each sidequest. This saved me a lot of time and frustration from tackling objectives I had no right in doing so early in the game.
Speaking of sidequests, the next section is dedicated to these time sink morsels. While the details on these are small blurbs of what to do and where to do it, I still found it easy to tackle them thanks to the descriptions and tips included. Also included are the rewards and recommended levels for tackling each quest.
This section does also include a breakdown of each side area along with maps and locations of items like Boatman coins, Stones of Power, and so on. While these areas are optional, Prima put the same care and love into them as though they were part of the main quest line, and that I appreciated that so much. In addition, yes, explanations on how to solve the various puzzles throughout the game are easy to read and understand.
The inclusion of an appendix is more helpful than I first gave it credit. This is full of charts detailing where to find every item and collectable scattered about the world. It may lack maps and pushpins of where to find things, but the maps scattered about the rest of the guide do a fine job in filling in that piece. Completionists will want to spend time combing through this portion as they quest for that 100% trophy/achievement.
Finally, we arrive at my favorite section–the behind the scenes pages. This consists of an in-depth interview with the developer, along with a look at how the art went from concept to reality. It is an amazing glimpse into how this game came together and a view into some of the thoughts and ideas behind making Darksiders II what we have now. I strongly recommend reading this over some morning coffee or to pass time at lunch.
Overall, I am very happy with how Prima handled this guide. The little touches like a table of contents on the right side showing where I am in the book down to solid combat tips made me appreciate it. While I strayed from the walkthrough portion a few times and struggled finding some items, I relied on it more than I thought I would. If you are a fan of the Darksiders franchise, this is a must purchase!