Review: Darksiders II: Abyssal Forge (Microsoft Xbox 360)
by Sean Madson on November 6, 2012

Darksiders II: Abyssal Forge
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Vigil Games
Genre: Action/Adventure
Release Date: 10/30/2012

Following up on last month’s Argul’s Tomb DLC that was given as a free download for those that purchased Darksiders II brand new, along comes Abyssal Forge to continue the trend of steady new content post-release. It’s also the first piece of content for those that purchased the season pass for Darksiders II. While Argul’s Tomb was a generally well done piece of content, it was a bit pricy for those that didn’t have the finances to purchase it new. However, Abyssal Forge is not only shorter, but more expensive and incredibly buggy. Let’s delve into specifics, shall we?

When you first begin Abyssal Forge, Death is dropped into the middle of what looks like a poisonous swamp. There really isn’t any reason given for him being there, you’re just left to explore on your own. Remembering my thoughts on how the exposition preceding Argul’s Tomb wasn’t all that great, I dismissed this and journeyed on, thinking that the developers probably felt that if they weren’t going to do the narrative in this content right, they would just as soon choose not to do it at all. So on I went, navigating a few short puzzles and finally encountering the first boss.

Upon defeat, he reveals that he is a blacksmith that was banished to the swamp realm you are in because of his creations. One of these creations, known as the Abyssal Forge, runs the risk of crafting others like it that are not only self-aware, but will properly cleanse any other species but themselves. Per usual, it’s up to Death to clean up the mess left behind by others, and your quest begins.

This time around, you have access to your gun, the Deathgrip, and the Soul Splitter, the latter of which will be your primary puzzle solving tool. The first part of your quest involves finding ore from which to craft an item that makes you immune to the poisonous effects of the swamp, while the second part involves destroying the Abyssal Forge. So in reality, there is only one dungeon that needs be navigated in order to finish Abyssal Forge, though there is a mini-dungeon of sorts consisting of a couple of rooms that will net you a legendary item.

The dungeon design itself is fine, and had me scratching my head in places. Enemies you face are primarily constructs, so there isn’t a lot of variety in that regard, but they are the least of your worries. No, your greatest enemy to be faced in Abyssal Forge is the plethora of bugs, and not just the graphical kind either (though there were those too), but actual game breaking bugs.

There were a few instances where opening doors would cause Death to get stuck in the door in such a way that his character model was literally wedged within the confines of the door and couldn’t move. Fortunately, simply exiting and reloading the game got me unhinged, but it was quite a nuisance. Also, upon exploring the mini-dungeon and finding the legendary item housed there, the item simply disappeared. It didn’t appear in my inventory, it didn’t show up in my mailbox, nor did it appear as some sort of quest item. It was simply gone, and there was no way to go back and retrieve it so far as I could tell.

Perhaps the biggest problem of all was in the final battle in Abyssal Forge. Without spoiling too much, the boss has a weak spot that has to be pulled out of him in order to not only inflict damage, but to deal the finishing blow. On three occasions the weak spot appeared outside of the boss and could not be interacted with, forcing me to restart the battle. On a fourth attempt, the boss just froze altogether and could not be damaged. That was four tries that the boss glitched on me. Four. I gave up after that. I just simply could not believe that the most important battle in the entire DLC could glitch that badly.

If you’re a season pass holder, I sincerely hope that the rest of the content turns out much better than this. As for everyone else, I simply cannot recommend the eight hundred Microsoft Points that is being asked for this. It’s much shorter than Argul’s Tomb, more expensive, and utterly broken, and the only reason I can see someone replaying it would be to go back to it after it has been (hopefully) patched up. As tempting as it is to spend Halloween with Death, it might be best to leave him at home this year.

The Scores
Story/Modes: Bad
Graphics: Enjoyable
Sounds: Great
Controls/Gameplay: Good
Replayability: Bad
Balance: Bad
Originality: Poor
Addictiveness: Bad
Appeal Factor: Bad
Miscellaneous: Worthless

Final Score: Poor Game!

Short Attention Span Summary
Look, I enjoyed Darksiders II a lot. I also rather liked Argul’s Tomb, even though I took issue with certain aspects of it, such as the price. Abyssal Forge, however, felt like it was phoned in. It’s much shorter than its predecessor and can be cleared in much less than an hour, so long as the glitches don’t halt your progress. It’s also more expensive, as eight hundred MSP (or $10) is far too much to justify investing in this, especially since I couldn’t even physically finish it on account of the bugs. Regardless of your love of the game, I recommend passing on Abyssal Forge. Hopefully, the next piece of content is more of an effort.



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