Friday, November 10, 2017

Darksiders Revisited

I started a new game plus in Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition to get remaining Steam achievements. To my unfortunate surprise however, something had changed and the game had become very unstable since I played it last year. Maybe they included the beta patch or something but crashes had definitely become common.

The Crashinitive Edition

I did not mind about it too much. Darksiders II saves itself often and I was barely losing progress when a crash happened. Of course it was bit of an annoyance having to restart the game that frequently, especially so since I was using CheatEngine to increase FOV from the default 60 to 80, which required few extra clicks every time.

20 degrees wider FOV makes a huge difference, though. It was much easier to keep track of enemies. I could have increased it further but in a 3rd person game with the camera a moderate distance from the character, I feel 80 is enough. It gives you a better view without fisheye effect.

Anyway, the crashing became an actual problem when I got to the Crucible arena. It has 100 waves and you get a checkpoint only after every 25 waves. At that point I had noticed the crashes only happened in combat and 25 waves of it was too much. The final 25 waves were also fairly challenging on the Deathinitive difficulty so I had hard time beating the arena even without crashes.

Hence I started to look for a solution to fix the crashes. I tried compatibility mode and clearing settings and then not maxing shadows. Compatibility mode disabled Nvidia's adaptive vsync but apparently the game's vsync option now works -- kind of. After playing some time, I got terrible stuttering which I guess was caused by the in-game vsync and I then got a crash as well. And so I reverted everything.

One random idea I then found mentioned on some forum was to turn off damage numbers. And that seemed to do the trick and I got through the rest of the game without crashes. I wonder if the game just cannot handle too many numbers on the screen at once. One move that often resulted in a crash was the forward dash attack which sends Death's scythes spinning vertically in front of him. They hit many times in short succession and with my build's cast-and-forget spells also dealing damage in the meanwhile, there sure were a lot of damage numbers on the screen.

Disregarding crashes, Darksiders II is an amazing game. The game plays smooth and its atmosphere is great thanks to Jesper Kyd's music. Replaying it was totally worth it.

I am not too convinced about the value of  the new game plus, however. In addition to two of the DLC dungeons being too bugged to actually complete, my skill build was already pretty much done at the end of my first run. And the only items I upgraded were shoulders and scythes with new possessed ones. I found only one wrath steal item throughout the whole game to feed to the latter but it was enough. With crit chance and damage as well, I believe they came very close to being as great as possible. In total I had about 80% crit chance and 220% crit damage at the end.

Darksiders Warmastered

After finishing Darksiders II, I ended up playing the first game again. It got a Warmastered Edition (the puns seem to continue) a year ago and it was given to owners of the original game on Steam for free. Interestingly enough it was not developed by Gunfire Games but instead by some German company called Kaiko.

They did splendid work with the remaster as far as I can tell. The game has actual graphics options and looks better thanks to sharpened textures and shadows. There is also an FOV slider which was an unexpected but a very welcome feature.

I decided to go for 100% clear this time. The original developer, Vigil Games, sure made it unnecessarily annoying, however. Maxing out weapon levels and getting enough souls to buy everything takes a serious grind to accomplish. At least there is bit of a trick to hasten the progress as one Steam user had found out.

In the Ashlands, near the place the two horsemen spawn is a hole you can jump into and climb back up to spawn two additional horsemen. You do that as many times as you want or how much your PC can handle and then gather the horsemen army for mass killing and then repeat the process. To level up scythe and gauntlet you have to lead the horsemen to a nearby cave with a platform as you can only attack with sword from horseback.

In addition to the grind, I found the game frustratingly challenging at times on the hardest, Apocalyptic difficulty. I have mentioned this in previous posts but the biggest reason for that is War's dash being so slow compared to Death's. It also noticed it does not make you invulnerable so you better time your dodges perfectly. I found the casting of Blade Geyser to be better than actual dodging due to its iframes. Blocking is unreliable at best too and likely does not even work against big attacks. Completely avoiding damage is really hard. But I did eventually beat the game.

More Darksiders to come!

Earlier this year there were some exciting news as Gunfire Games was revealed to be working on Darksiders III. And its protagonist will be the female horseman, Fury. Her weapon of choice is whip, which in the "pre-alpha" gameplay footage seems to lack the meatiness of War's sword and Death's scythes. But Gunfire will hopefully improve the combat before its release next year. She will likely have secondary weapons too as is customary in the series.

I hope they keep amount of gear items similar to the second game although completely random loot is maybe not necessary. But since Gunfire has former Vigil developers, they probably know what they are doing. Joe Madureira, the creative director for the previous games, has his own game company now but he has evidently helped designing Fury for the third game regardless.

Apparently Darksiders III happens concurrently (again) with the previous games and Fury's task is to destroy the Seven Deadly Sins. There is something with these numbered entities I really like. I cannot wait for the game to come out.


I came to a sudden realization that instead of calling her whatever the biblical rider of the black horse is traditionally, Vigil Games probably decided to name Fury after a quote from The Mourning Bride play by William Congreve. It is usually paraphrased as "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" but evidently the original line is:

"Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned,
Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorned"

It certainly would fit the Darksiders lore.

I do wonder how the final horseman got his name, though I suppose 'Strife' is pretty close to conquest.

No comments:

Post a Comment