Find out what it's like to play as the unlikeliest hero on PlayStation 3.
Death comes in many guises. The trick is trying to settle upon a form that does justice to such an enormous concept. Having already tackled the story of War - from the legend of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - in Darksiders on PS3, Vigil Games is set to tell an even more ambitious tale: that of Death himself.
One of the men charged with the delicious irony of bringing Death to life in Darksiders II is Vigil Games' art director, Han Randhawa. "Death was the character we considered for the original Darksiders, actually," he tells PlayStation.com. "He was always the coolest of the Four Horsemen, but there was something about him that our key audience may not have connected with immediately."
There's no danger of that now. After battling through the premature Armageddon in the original game as War, it's time to saddle up as the force no living being can escape. Death arrives on PS3 to save Creation - here's how he'll do it.
War as a warrior was "like a juggernaut". Death, on the other hand, is far nimbler, Randhawa explains. "The thing we didn't want to do was cover him in masses of armour, like we did with War," he says. "Death has to be relatively uncovered to enable him to be more acrobatic. As you get further into the game, you pick up loot and develop your armour, and you'll find Death slowly starts to evolve."
Death will be clad in Slayer, Wanderer and Necromancer armour sets - and all will strictly be fit for his grim mission. "In other games, your character could start to look a little like a jester after hours of play." Death is clearly no laughing matter in Darksiders II.
Don't fear the Reaper
Hooded, eerily calm and unfailingly efficient, the Reaper is the spectre everybody and everything fears. In Darksiders II, it's an elaborate, clinical finishing move unlocked after clearing hordes of enemies using your scythe, claws and hammer. "String together a large enough combo and his terrifying true form is revealed," Randhawa reveals with a grin. Then he gets to the punchline.
"To begin with, the Reaper form is a kind of teaser, a cherry on top of the cake. After you explore the game, level up and develop Death's wrath, you will eventually get to play in his full-blown Reaper form."
Apocalypse on a new scale
Fittingly for such a colossal figure, the world Death crusades through is immense. As well as his quest to avert Judgement Day, there are several side missions which allow you to refine Death's skills and uncover powerful new tools. All of these take place in a vast, sprawling world of fiery lakes, crumbling grandeur and, surprisingly, lush green oases.
"We need an element of free roaming, and you can't have that in an enclosed space," says Randhawa. "We have enormous dungeons and branching areas. Taking a modular approach to design has really opened the game up and allowed us to build much, much bigger environments. The fantastic thing is you're going to see a lot of variation: from angelic citadels to demonic pits."
Armageddon may well be the stuff of nightmares, yet in Darksiders II, your mission to undo it looks certain to be a thrill ride you won't want to wake up from. The game is set to launch on PS3 in 2012. Make sure you keep an eye on PlayStation.com and PlayStation.Blog for more news of the arrival of this most feared Horseman.
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Abandoned cities reclaimed by nature. A population decimated by a modern plague.
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