Earlier today I got to meet with Jay Fitzloff, the studio marketing manager for Vigil Games. He had a gameplay preview of Darksiders II to share with people and was on-hand to discuss some of the additions to the series.

First off, for fans of the original Darksiders the good news is that the game’s formula has not changed. If you loved the first game then you’re going to love the second one just as much, if not more. The standard gameplay mechanics of combat, exploration and puzzle solving make a return and you will still be drip-fed new abilities and gear so that you can reach previously inaccessible areas. Still, you’re playing as a new character that has quite a few new tricks up his sleeve. There’s also a loot drop system this time around.

In the first game you took the role of War who had been framed for triggering the Apocalypse early. War had a strong character and sense of honour. He generally tried to do the right thing and if anyone or anything prevented him from doing what was right he had no problem in introducing them to the business end of his sword. He was a brute-force combatant, able to take a ton of damage and block in-coming attacks.

In contrast Death, your horseman for Darksiders II, is a little more shady. He has no problem in manipulating situations to his advantage and is not above making cloak and dagger deals with other parties in order to get what he wants. He is a darker hero who will do anything it takes in order to clear his brother’s name. Similarly his combat approach is different to War’s. He is more nimble, favouring speed over strength. He also never blocks, preferring to dodge incoming attacks to gain the advantage. During the gameplay presentation we saw Death using his dual scythe attacks and it is clear that he is considerably faster than his heavier sibling.

In the gameplay demo, these two beasties were pulling the King of Bones' castle chariot through the air. They're AWESOME.

As mentioned earlier, Darksiders II will feature a loot drop system. Throughout the combat gameplay we saw, slain enemies dropped piles of gold and even armour pickups for Death to use. According to Fitzloff, the armour that Death was currently wearing contained looted items. Obviously the gold pickups will be utilised for weapon upgrades and unlocks. There will also be vendors throughout the world for you to sell unwanted pieces of equipment. All weapons will have stats, and you’ll be able to customise Death a little more to your play style. It’s safe to say that Darksiders II has been somewhat influenced by RPG titles, but do not worry if that’s not your preferred genre; the traditional Darksiders gameplay is still here.

One last piece of good news is that the PC version will launch alongside the console versions and won’t be a port. The game is set to release around halfway through 2012.