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Darksiders is an action game borrowing heavily from God of War and Zelda. While it doesn't compete with either series, the game offers a healthy dose of fast combat, gratuitous gore, and overly drawn out puzzles and dungeons.
- The gory finishing moves
- The opening sequence
- The moment War turns into a giant fiery beast
- The repetitive gameplay
- The invisible walls
- The lack of originality
The video game industry seems to have an emphatic love affair with the end of the world. You’ll find that not much has changed with the start of 2010; the apocalypse theory is alive and well, albeit growing more than a little old. Darksiders takes the end of the world theory, and runs with it as if the game creators penned the concept all on their own. The game draws heavily from biblical tales of the apocalypse, but does so almost in jest, as if to let the gamer know the world may end one day, but probably not how Darksiders portrays it. Extracting pre-existing concepts is something Darksiders does to a point where many people will be left wondering what original ideas the developers had. This action game draws so heavily from other well-known titles that it’s hard to feel like this is a new game. Still, if you are a fan of games in franchises like God of War, Devil May Cry, or Zelda, you just may have found a perfect early-year purchase.
Darksiders puts you in the role of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. What the human race doesn’t know is that there is a secret balance between Heaven and Hell, a pact that will not be broken until the end of days. The game opens with a comic-style cinematic that illustrates this balance, and gives a bit of background. The comic book art style comes from the involvement of Joe Madureira, the artist who worked on Uncanny X-Men. This opening is one of the best parts of the game, which sadly goes downhill fast after the world ends. War is accused of prematurely starting the apocalypse, and after fighting and defeating both angels and demons; you are stripped of your powers and tried in front of the Charred Council. The council doesn’t trust War, so they set The Watcher, voiced by Mark Hamill, to accompany him as he returns to Earth to seek revenge and try to fix everything that is now wrong. A hundred years have gone by, and the surface world is a vast wasteland filled with demons, zombies, and the occasional angel.
The visual style is decent, but not nearly as good as some other titles on the PlayStation 3. All of the characters, from the angels and demons, to bosses and War himself are colourfully presented. This is a breath of fresh air in the sense that a post-apocalyptic wasteland isn’t just grey, and is full of vibrant, striking creatures of all shapes and sizes. However, the actual environments are fairly uninspiring. The opening of the game sets you in a city, destroying both angels and demons. We loved this part and felt the game had some serious potential. As it progressed and we were transported one hundred years in the future, the world started to fall asleep and the game felt as if it was running on fumes.
As mentioned earlier, the game draws heavily from other games. The first and most noticeable comparison is God of War. The combat is nearly identical. You’ll double jump, slowly falling back to the ground while hacking and slashing at enemies. The action is fairly fluid, and you’ll spend most of your time fighting groups of enemies, meaning you want all of your hits to count. The good news is that the combat works pretty well, but not perfectly. Fundamentally, Darksiders is a competent hack ‘n slash romp mixed with some minor platforming, and heavy puzzle-solving features, though doesn’t execute these aspects quite as well as we had hoped.
Your primary weapon is a giant sword that slashes and bashes enemies in graceful combos. You’ll also get a host of secondary weapons, including projectile artillery. Most of the combat is dealt with in basic combos, so you shouldn’t expect a great diversity in each battle. Boss fights, however, a completely different beast all together. Instead of tests of might, the boss battles require you to use more puzzle-solving style attacks, coupled with a healthy share of good timing. Your weapons, abilities, health, and wrath (the game’s form of magic), can all be upgraded through a travelling demon-salesman named Vulgrim. We enjoyed his wisecracking demeanour, but as a tool for the ... (continued on next page)