Under the Radar: Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition, AC Syndicate Soundtrack

Under the Radar is a weekly feature highlighting games and other products that you might have missed.

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DARKSIDERS 2: DEATHINITIVE EDITION

Back in October, as the big-time game releases were just starting to pile up, Gunfire/Nordic Games released Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition, which brings the 2012 ARPG to current-gen consoles and adds the game’s DLC.

Terrible title aside, the Deathinitive Edition reminds us that the critically well-received Darksiders 2 was a strong game, even if a little under appreciated by gamers when it was released. A mashup of influences from Zelda to World of Warcraft to the God of War series, Darksiders 2 is the story of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, on a mission to rescue fellow Horseman War and — ironically enough — resurrect humanity. Exciting combat, fluid platforming and exploration, and a robust leveling and upgrade system add a lot of depth.

Not quite an open world game, Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition includes a huge amount of content, with a long and satisfying main quest and dozens of side quests, plus the three DLC chapters. Locked in at 1080p/60 fps, the Deathinitive Edition approximates the experience of playing the original on a high end PC. It looks just a little dated, but the art direction is stellar and the writing, voice acting and music are really top-notch.

If you missed the game in 2012, or it escaped you again in October, Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition is worth checking out when all the new and shiny games have started to lose some luster.

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AUSTIN WINTORY: ASSASSIN’S CREED SYNDICATE SOUNDTRACK

Los Angeles-based Austin Wintory has created quite a following among music-loving gamers, and his haunting score for Journey was nominated for a Grammy. He has composed music for television, independent films, and games such as flOw and The Banner Saga. He is also a vocal advocate for the rights of musicians in the game industry.

Wintory’s score for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was far from the usual triple-A action game soundtrack, relying on intimate ensembles of strings, piano, voice and woodwinds, and sounding a little like 19th century parlor music with a decidedly Spanish/flamenco accent. Almost entirely without bombast, Syndicate‘s action sequences are accompanied by wild, skittering waltzes played by a string quartet.

Like the sea shanties in AC Black Flag, Syndicate includes some surprising and amusing “murder ballads” and hours of incidental music performed by street musicians in the game. Listen to a brass band playing in a gazebo and they will perform variations on “Rule Britannia,” and the pubs are filled with singers.

Although available through all the usual outlets, the nine dollar Bandcamp version of Syndicate also includes bonus tracks and even printable sheet music for the murder ballads.