Set in a Post Apocalyptic world that it is inhabited by Demons set on ravaging and destroying what’s left of Earth. You play as War, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
The story starts with you on the rampage in what you think is your mission and destiny to partake in the Apocalypse and bring balance to the three kingdoms of Angels, Demons and man but events soon play out that War has been betrayed by the powers that be and framed for bringing about the premature ending of all that is. This in turn kick starts the war between the kingdoms and as punishment the charred council strip War of his powers and sentences him to death.
War convinces the council that he is innocent and if he would be granted a second chance he will bring before them the one responsible for bringing about the Endwar. Bound by a keeper, The Watcher, War returns to Earth on a quest of vengeance but first must regain all his lost powers and abilities.
The game is a Third Person Hack em up, later adding in a gun <ahem> Devil may Cry. By use of souls, which can be claimed from fallen foes, you can upgrade War’s abilities and combos but I found this to be a bit half-arsed – yes I had lots of upgrades to choose from but I always found myself using the same combos. The combos themselves are short, sweet and more Western than some of the crazy button combinations you might find in games such as Bayonetta.
The main formula of the game is the bit that annoys me the most. I really hate games that you start off as a complete bad ass then before you know it you are in trouble, your powers are gone and your off on another quest of gaining those powers back and vengeance <yawn>
However, Darksiders does treat this age-old game method quite well and almost tricks you into this gameplay mechanic that we have all played so many times before. The journey of the game is what does it, with epic boss battles, a hub world and some truly awesome characters that you meet along the way. Darksiders is a very enjoyable experience and doesn’t feel like a grind or chore at any point in the game.
The game itself was a confusing one, not only is the storyline a little confusing and a bit off the wall but the game itself never settled into going in one direction. Starting as a simple hack and slash it changed into a more Devil may cry epic Boss battles game, then next you are dungeon crawling Zelda style or navigating the underworld and opposing the powers that be like Soul Reaver, next you are backtracking to access areas you couldn’t get to before Metroid style with weapons and items that seem like Link himself just delivered them. On top of this, throw in several movie influences: Legend and Tremors to name but two, my head was truly beginning to spin.
At times some of the enemies seemed unfairly difficult and had me getting mighty frustrated, several times I exited to dashboard only to sit and stew on that last annoying Demon before I quickly fired the game back up and finish off that son of a bitch.
The graphics aren’t a touch on say Modern Warfare 2 but neither are they so bad that you would turn away in disgust. It’s nice to see a colourful palette being used for this game as it’s just too easy to go with dirty dull colours which so many other Apocalyptic games have opted for. War’s character design feels very familiar to something you would find in World of Warcraft and the general environment of the game although sinister in nature feels a bit ‘cartoony’.
It also seems a lot of the character design has taken direct influence from several films such as the fantasy film Legend. Samael reminds me so much of the Lord of Darkness. There are also several nods to some of the enemies of Zelda as well, but of course this isn’t a bad thing and almost adds to the experience of the game as some things have a similar feel about them.
The main issue I encountered with Darksiders was some horrible screen tearing which spoiled the gameplay experience.
One of the finest points of this game is the ever so excellent Mark Hamill. In this game he is The Watcher and just like the Joker in Batman the man is certainly on form – his voice acting is second to none and I could listen to his one liners and delivery of script for ages! On the flipside the audio was also one of the games weakest points as with some of the speeches by the Demons resulted in a nasty distortion in my surround sound, which is a real shame as the SFX and general ambient noises add to whole atmosphere of the world War finds himself in
Darksiders is a very enjoyable experience with a western feel combo system together with a wealth of interesting characters to come across and meet. Some of the enemies frustrated me and although empowered War felt a little sluggish at times resulting in me being overwhelmed by enemies and resorting to the same button combos over and over. Play on Apocalyptic difficulty and there really isn’t any need to play this game again, as 1000 gamerscore can be achieved on one playthrough. Darksiders touches on shear brilliance with some of the puzzles and items implemented from Zelda and Soul Reaver but playing through the game, I felt as if it was holding back on me and never quite brought me to the heights of that wow factor.
Darksiders Review Results
What we liked:
Excellent character scripting and development
You’re a Horseman of the Apocalypse!
What we disliked:
Screen tearing and drop in audio quality
Stripped of all your powers at beginning of the game
Difficulty spike in certain enemies