WITH echoes of God of War, Zelda and Prince of Persia rippling through its DNA, Darksiders II serves up a smorgasbord of stolen ideas from classic games.

Darksiders II

Publisher: THQ

Price: £39.99

Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3, PC)

Age rating: 15+

WITH echoes of God of War, Zelda and Prince of Persia rippling through its DNA, Darksiders II serves up a smorgasbord of stolen ideas from classic games. It should be a recipe for disaster, yet somehow, in spite of this awful mishmash of pilfered ingredients, it all comes together to form an incredibly satisfying action adventure.

In case you missed the first game, it was set in the aftermath of a global apocalypse, with War – of Four Horsemen notoriety – falsely accused of wiping mankind off the face of the planet. It was all a gloriously silly excuse, of course, to crack a few demons’ skulls together, explore countless sprawling dungeons and ride about on a fire-breathing horse. Darksiders II offers more of the same, with events running parallel to the original game, only this time you’re controlling the Grim Reaper – or Death to his pals – as he embarks on a quest to resurrect the human race and clear his brother’s name.

Your Skeletor look-a-like is a much more agile chap than War ever was, capable of wall-running and back-flipping his way out of trouble, while the game is divided into four huge open worlds, each one crammed with trap-laden dungeons, inventive puzzles, optional side-quests, hordes of monsters to slay and Diablo-style loot drops. Combat is a primary focus of the game, with Death equipped with a pair of scythes as well as a choice of secondary weapons – including maces, hammers and claws – and you can chain a dizzying number of combos together to cause varying amounts of damage. A split skill tree offers a mix of offensive moves, such as teleport or fire-based attacks, and spell-casting options that let you summon creatures to assist you in battle. Additional armour and weapons can be purchased, stumbled across or retrieved from fallen enemies, while certain ‘possessed’ weapons can be upgraded by feeding them unwanted items.

Repetition sets in after a while, with similar puzzles and fetch quests being the main bugbears, but this is offset by some lively boss battles. The main game should take at least 20 hours to complete, with a ‘New Game +’ option and a Horde-like survival mode offering extra longevity, although the inclusion of a co-op or multiplayer mode would have been preferable.