Well, here we are again. In case you’re just tuning in, let me just save you some effort and say that while the core Darksiders II game is a load of fun, its first DLC Argul’s Tomb is a worthwhile romp only if you got it free with a new copy of the game. Its followup, Abyssal Forge, on the other hand, might as well have been called Abysmal Forge for how broken and uninspired it was upon release. Now that The Demon Lord Belial is out, it’s time to see if the third time’s the charm.
This DLC puts Death back on a ruined Earth, where he had left Uriel and others during the main campaign. After assisting in slaying the demons that assault Uriel’s group, she reveals that she has heard rumors that there may have been human survivors. As veterans of the original Darksiders would know, the apocalypse that took place at the beginning of that game made short work of any humans that happened to be loitering around the planet. This news of potential survivors intrigues Death, and he resolves to find out if there’s any truth to it. The series of events that follow are slightly more involved than the other DLC, but lack any sort of worthwhile resolution, and leave you with more questions than what the content is willing to answer. There’s enough here to drive you to finish, but it will ultimately leave you unfulfilled.
The setting is one of the more interesting ones utilized in the DLC, relying on demolished urban areas rather than plain looking ice fortresses or a swamp. Some of my favorite locations from both Darksiders games is the ruined city, so it’s nice to be able to journey back here. Unfortunately, as before, the area you have to explore isn’t very large, so no horseback riding through the streets. There’s also only one dungeon to be found here (though split into two parts), so there’s that.
The Demon Lord Belial is far more melee focused than its predecessors, as the only gadgets at your disposal this time around are the Death Grip and the gun, which, while still useful in solving puzzles, don’t require the same level of complex thought that using Voidwalker or Soul Splitter abilities would. Most of what you encounter are fairly elementary push and pull puzzles sandwiched between large segments of combat.
Fortunately, the demons you encounter here put up an entertaining fight, so you’ll have a chance to put all of the gear earned in other DLC’s to good use. There’s even a third-person shooter segment similar to the one utilized in Argul’s Tomb that you get to experience for part of the dungeon. As before, there are two major boss battles to be found. One against a lackey that is merely fodder for Death’s scythes given the ease of the battle, and the final confrontation against Belial that was the complete opposite and took several attempts for me to bring down. Fortunately, it wasn’t due to glitches this time.
In fact, I’m not sure if Q&A was stepped up for this release or THQ got really lucky this time, but the experience was entirely bug free. I didn’t get stuck in any doors, I didn’t freeze frame in my grim reaper form ever, and I didn’t have the final boss glitch four times in a row. It’s a good feeling to have content you pay for work right out of the gate.
There are no new achievements to be earned in The Demon Lord Belial, but there are a number of unique weapons to be found. Sadly, I didn’t find any of them to be as useful as earlier ones that I had found, though I didn’t experiment much with the one dropped off of Belial himself. But again, I was happy that these items were not glitched out of existence.
The Demon Lord Belial, like its predecessor, will run you eight hundred Microsoft Points when purchased alone (this content also belongs to the season pass). It’s a much stronger effort than Abyssal Forge, with its much more interesting environment and the fact that it actually functions. However, having the content work is not enough of a criteria for a recommendation, as having a bug free experience should be the standard, not the exception. Though I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the hour or so I spent with this content, ten dollars is a bit too high to justify the investment.
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Final Score: Decent Game!
Short Attention Span Summary
Darksiders II: The Demon Lord Belial manages to be a much stronger effort than Abyssal Forge and is seemingly bug free, though it’s still light on content when compared to Argul’s Tomb and more expensive to boot. It was nice to have Death return to post-apocalyptic Earth, as fleeting as it was, and the more combat focused dungeon was a little refreshing. I would’ve like to have seen more narrative than what was present here, as well as a more satisfying conclusion, but it’s at least more interesting than its predecessor. At eight hundred Microsoft Points, it’s still too expensive to recommend outside of the most devoted of fans, though if you have the season pass, this content is included anyway. It’d be best to wait on a Game of the Year edition, or something similar.
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