Darksiders 2 trailer: a glimpse into the apocalypse
by: John Wright
Video games, a portal into a computer generated world where you are in control. An outlet to relieve stress or in some cases instigate massive levels of stress. At any rate, a good game trailer can make or break the sales. So the Darksiders 2 trailer: Death Strikes needs to try and increase the hype for a series that wasn’t that widely known or liked. The trailer itself is a pretty simple one, we see Angels and Demons fighting, Death enters and starts slicing through many demons, a giant creature shows up, and Death fights it, all while in a wasteland. I was a fan of the first game so all the choices that they made in the trailer got me really excited to see a successor to a game that I loved. The real question is, does it give enough to the general public, or is it for a cult following? Is the deep underlying story of brotherly love, and his quest to clear his brother’s name ever revealed, or is the trailer all action no substance? So for this I will look at it from an uninformed perspective and will inform as much as I can to even it out where the trailer just might not do a good job.
Let’s start at the beginning of the trailer. After the usual rigmarole of watermarks and sponsors it begins with a quote at 0:10 : “And there was war in heaven, where demon fought against angel and angel fought against demon…” -Revelations 12:7 Now I’m not a Christian but I’m pretty sure this quote is talking about the apocalypse partly because of the premise of the game. Darksiders 1 was a game where you played as War, one of the four horseman of the apocalypse. You are then blamed for starting the apocalypse because you showed up without being signaled even though you claim to have been signaled. You faced judgement and are then forced to constantly be watched by the council while you try to clear your name. This is just the first game as the Darksiders 2 happens in parallel.Which brings up the question of why name it Darksiders 2?
A lot of people when they see 2 after something feel like they should watch or play the first. However in this game they are technically happening at the same time and playing the first won’t really give you anything more to the experience of the second. You would only get some background towards the second which you could get with just a synopsis of the first. Even the core gameplay is completely changed from 1 to 2 so why not just give it the sub name Death lives rather than call it Darksiders 2? The answer requires a little look at a different franchise, Assassin’s Creed.
Assassin’s Creed is a series that has many games to it but the number is only at 4 rather than 6. The reason being that they don’t change the number till a new game engine or a new protagonist is introduced. This is not a new thing so it makes sense that Darksiders 2 would also follow suit because of the overhaul. At any rate, the quote pertains to the game as in the first scene there is an angel and demon war and it is about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The next scene there is a feather, which can be assumed to be an angel feather, falling signaling that the angels are not doing so well in this war. We see angels being beat on and dying and right before one last below from a demon our protagonist arrives(0:42).
Even though the trailer is called Death Strikes on TV, not many people would know that this is Death. It is never addressed in the trailer except shortly at the end because of the title of the game which raises the question of, why? The easy answer is that the name doesn’t matter because the game and the trailer are more focused on the action. The hard answer requires a little more background knowledge. As was stated earlier, Darksider 1 was not a widely known game but one with more of a cult following. It didn’t really stand out on its own and the style took from many other games and it didn’t bring anything new to the playing field. That is not a bad thing as it was still fun in it’s own right but and the style was clever. Well, leave it to the gaming population to try and get a sequel out and after some years the sequel was released. So, in short, the trailer was tailored to cater more to these people who were following the production and so when it revealed this outstanding character to them it was the first revelation of the character design for Death. When he is revealed it is more than just a dramatic entrance.
The character design for Death is interesting to say the least. In most cases when you picture Death in tv shows and movies and such he is a minor character. He is usually sporting a Dark robe with a hood that hides his face and is essentially just a skeleton with a scythe. This would work had Death been a minor character in this game but since he is the main character it doesn’t work. Now, I usually don’t bring these kinds of things up but Death is surprisingly sexualized in character model. Instead of the usually bones and robe he is sporting neither, we are greeted with a muscled human like person with powerful looking armors, abs, long flowing gothic hair, and a stern, chiseled look on his face. The gothic style isn’t new to Darksiders but Death seems kind of like fan service. To me it doesn’t matter if he is sexualized as long as it doesn’t take away from gameplay which is the same feeling I feel towards the sexualization of females in video games. It is welcomed as he is the hero and it makes sense for him to look like a hero.
The scene when Death arrives and a few following actually reveal some extra things about the game. The immediate gore of it helps detail that the game is rated M but not necessarily for nudity but more for violence and such. It reveals that this is an action game with an emphasis on action. Under the surface of the action it is also saying to the gamers that follow it that if they didn’t already know Death is going to be more agile and nimble compared to War. This kind of fast paced action is pleasing to the viewers and helps to build excitement in everyone watching, but more than that it is a signal to parents as well. Its signalling that this game is not suitable for children as it is very violent and can be bloody right in the trailer so that they don’t have to do extra research. The next few scenes are where it gets confusing for people who don’t know anything about the game(1:24-the end).
There is a dark shadow that falls over Death and his aggressor to which Death begins to run(1:20ish). All of this is to help build off the excitement as it shows that there is a bigger enemy afoot rather than these demons. One step sends everything flying, whatever is approaching is really large and powerful. After some slow motion Death is lodged in a rock and we get a glimpse of this creature for the first time(1:24). The general public and gaming public begin wondering what this thing is, where as the Darksiders public wonder why you have to fight a guardian. Death rides on his horse Despair(1:45), this is the moment where if you questioned if this was about the four horsemen of the apocalypse then you would know by now. This is also when we finally get a view of his scythe and the allusion to the horsemen Death is finally completed. This scene while showcasing the nimbleness and mobility of Death is also a weapon showcase where they show off the scythe and how it transforms. A leap from the horse and more gameplay aspects begin to be shown off. Purple hand is shot out to grasp this creature (2:22) bringing Death to eye level where he transforms into a more stereotypical image of Death(2:32) toting the purple robe, giant scythe, skeleton hand, and no visible face, he leaps and chops off the arm of this giant. One final slash and the normal ending credit things commence.
The entire ad is focused on action and trying to rile up the viewers more than anything else. Even the music takes a backseat the whole time so as not to deter from the action. it is just generic action music that can be heard in every action trailer and movie ever, and it was clear that they wanted to show that Darksiders 2 was more action packed than the first. The environment was also bleak and sort of a wasteland showcasing that the apocalypse was going strong. However there was a lack of actual background or foreground story wise if you didn’t already know the story of why Death is doing all of this. So to end we’ll clear up the motives of Death and the story to the game of which I own.
The story of Darksiders 2 is a story of brotherly love parallel to the first game. While War is trying to live out the punishment of the council Death is going out of his way to prove that his brother is innocent. His journey consists of finding multiple people and doing them favors to try and get information on why this is happening. This is not really addressed in the trailer but the reason he seems to be helping the angels is because he knows the demons are part of the problem and possibly the real reason for the apocalypse.