Last week I shared my misadventures as Death in a two-part, hands-on preview of the first zone of THQ’s and Vigil Games’ Darksiders 2, due for release Aug. 14.  (Check out part one here and part two here.)  I covered the breadth and depth of the zones, familiar puzzle-solving aspects and my favorite part of the game, combat.

I was also able to take a stab (and a hack and a slash) at The Crucible, a Darksiders 2 game mode that offers people like me (the ones who are in love with Darksiders 2 combat) all the face-smashing, curb-stopping action we can ask for.

So what exactly is The Crucible?  It’s an unlockable arena mode in which you fight multiple waves of enemies for phat loot and glory.  (Mostly phat loot.)  The enemies come at you non-stop for five waves.  Every five waves (if you survive), The Crucible’s arena master, Kargon, will ask if you wish to claim your reward or continue fighting.  If you choose the reward, you are directed to a chest full of goodies, but once you start the arena again you must start from wave one.  If you continue fighting and die before the next fifth- level break (10, 15, 20, etc.), you get no reward.  The farther you go, the greater the reward.  Regardless of what wave you’ve reached, every time you accept a reward you start over from wave one.  So you need to make some high risk decisions based on your confidence in your ability to kick ass.

I walked into The Crucible at level 15 with all the confidence and swagger you’d expect from a Horseman of the Apocalypse.  A couple of my comrades made it into the teens.  I didn’t make it past wave six.  But if you’re a regular reader you know it’s already been established I’m old and slow.

Kargon welcomes you to The Crucible. Let him know if you want to collect your reward or risk everything to continue fighting for greater riches.

So how do you unlock all this bloodletting goodness?  Darksiders 2 is made up of four zones.  Upon the defeat of each zone’s boss, 25 levels of The Crucible open.  That’s 100 levels of hack ‘n’ slash goodness.

After the beat down of my level 15 Death, I was boosted up to a fully armed and armored level 30 with a nice pool of skill points and previously un-accessed abilities to play with.  After taking a peak at all my beautiful glowing armor, reinforcing my zombies and crows, I marched out into the arena again.

This time I laughed with derision at those who so callously caved my head in during the early waves.  I made use of an interesting ability called Soulsplit which is used to solve puzzles that require Death to be in two places at once.  With this ability I distracted enemies into attacking my inert (and apparently impervious) self while my ghouls and I took care of business on the other side of the arena.  If I got into serious trouble, I could swap places with my other half with the press of the button.  I made it into the 30s with this strategy and probably would have made it farther if I had remembered to use a potion.  Or reaper form.  Or one of my damage reduction abilities.  In other words, if I hadn’t acted like a total noob.  The bad guys’ toughness amps up fairly quick.  It’s easy to get cocky and pay less attention when you’re loaded for bear.

A little scarab hulk will not stand between me and my phat loot. Two might.

I was enjoying my playthrough of Darksiders 2 before I was introduced to The Crucible, but the frenetic, fast-paced action without all the pesky puzzles (Death smash!) to slow me down sold me on giving this game a try.  I imagine it will take me a while to complete, as I’ll be spending a lot of time tackling The Crucible as I gain access to each set of 25 waves.

If you are fan of Darksider and Darksiders’ combat mechanics in particular, I think you’ll love Darksiders 2 combat, and The Crucible makes this game a must play for any combat fan.

Until next time,

Wolverines!



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