Darksiders II Argul’s Tomb Review: Let’s go grave robbing!Posted 10:30 am on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 by Michael Revis
Darksiders II on its own is a decent, if heavily flawed, title, which we mentioned in our original review of the game last month. With the release of the Argul’s Tomb DLC, THQ and Vigil Games sought to expand the experience and make things more engaging, if only slightly.
The DLC works as a separate campaign, selectable from the main menu, rather than being directly accessible in game, and is designed for those who have managed to get pretty far in the primary story already, or have already beaten it. In it, Ostegoth, the goat-like merchant that has a thing for old artifacts, tasks the Pale Rider with exploring the burial chambers of the former King of the Dead, Argul, before he was ousted by his subordinate, and the current King of the Dead, the Lord of Bones. It’s an interesting location lore-wise, particularly in how you learn why Argul was betrayed in the first place. Regardless, that’s in the past, and the present instead puts you in charge of raiding his tomb for insane amounts of loot.
And loot is exactly what you get, and more. Argul’s Tomb is separated into three components, at least two of them being linked together. Each houses a different kind of progression than the other, using new setups for players to tackle, although the concepts themselves are very familiar for those who have progressed enough in the game already.
The first section is The Caves. This area is a full-blown TPS mini-dungeon, where Death grabs a weapon randomly dropped on the ground from some unknown entity and starts blasting everything in sight. This is actually the weakest of the sections in terms of design, not only because the guns you use don’t change at all during the course of your trek, but the enemies don’t either, and there’s not much strategy involved other than shoot everything. It’s a simple distraction at most.
The Frostbone Crypt houses the more puzzle-oriented aspect of the tombs, utilizing a lot of voidwalking setups to create some tricky movements. The puzzles do get you to wrack your brain a bit, but simply looking at your surroundings to find the next void portal to open up works best, as some of them are cleverly hidden. It also thankfully doesn’t have any of the shoddy stage design that the main campaign was plagued with. This area is more engaging than the previous, and is required to complete if you want to proceed to the final area.
The Spire is more traditional, being more like the original game in its mix of combat and puzzle segments. It’s also where the final boss, a humongous frost dragon, resides at. The encounter itself is more unique than the rest of the dungeon, as he’ll fly into the air to shoot frost bolts at you, then crash down to the ground to try and freeze you and get free hits. Overall, he’s the most enjoyable part of the whole adventure.
The whole trip should take roughly two or three hours to complete, though this is based on your own playing ability, your level, and your gear. The actual difficulty of the dungeon is also based on these same factors. Because I took this on after having completed the game already and was at a noticeably high level, I was able to trounce everything by abusing the hell out of my maxed out Harvest skill. The lesser enemies also aren’t any different from the ones you’ve faced before, with the only real difference being that they’re covered with ice instead. Because of this, the same tactics you used in the main game apply for pretty much the entire dungeon except the final boss, and most players should have no trouble obliterating everything. For DLC such as this, having some more unique adversaries and puzzles would likely have made the dungeon more challenging.
Overall, it’s a neat little distraction that should add at least another hour to your overall playtime, though the $7 price tag seems a bit high for such a quick bout of grave robbing if you didn’t get the Limited Edition. For those who have been waiting on the WiiU release, you’ll be glad to know that Argul’s Tomb is planned to come packaged in with it, so if you’d rather wait on that than spend extra money on something you’re not sure of, consider that an incentive.
Final Grade: B-
Michael is a man of many things. Journalist, writer, gamer, professional procrastinator, cosplayer, super hero, whale wrestler, evil mastermind, and robot master. And that’s just on the weekends.