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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
(continued from previous page) ...tool for the game’s progression, this feature works just fair as some of the upgrades don’t feel all that useful.
One of the best parts of the combat system is this little feature that allows for finishing moves on all enemies. Once an enemy has about one-quarter of his health left, you can tap the circle button to take down the enemy in a gory finishing move. During this sequence War is invincible, so it’s not only cool to watch, but also a useful tool when planning your attack strategy. The combat can be difficult sometimes, so giving yourself a couple seconds of immunity is certainly a pleasure. We enjoyed these brutal attacks, but were again reminded of Kratos slashing away at countless enemies.
The game appears to almost steal directly from the Zelda franchise in that you venture into 4 dungeons, each with obtainable items that are required to continue to the boss. All that’s missing are Zelda’s iconic sound bits, signifying that you found something useful or a secret passage. You’ll get a mini map showing the enormity of the dungeons, but we found these maps a bit useless. In fact, it’s easy to get lost since the scenery isn’t overly distinct.
Some parts of these dungeon-style puzzles are a bit obvious. For instance, there are loads of these breakable walls that are clearly placed, so you rarely feel like you found something hidden. Speaking of walls, the game is riddled with invisible walls (not the hidden treasure kind, the kind that feel misplaced). This is one of our biggest pet peeves in gaming. The world of Darksiders doesn’t feel real or tangible. For example, if you come across a wall sporting a gaping hole in the middle protected by wooden planks, don’t think that War can cut down the timber to get inside. Very little in the world is destructible, and at this point in gaming, we feel we deserve more realism – funny to write that since this game is extremely fictitious.
Darksiders is repetitive to say the least. You fight the same monsters over and over again, solving similar puzzles in each dungeon. Even the approach to combat is pretty repetitive. Despite your arsenal of weapons, we primarily used our main sword to slash away at the hordes of enemies. At the end of the game you can retrace your steps to gather various collectables that give you souls – in game currency. Darksiders is filled with things to collect, but there feels like a great need to go exploring. You’ll be able to find these treasures easier when you stumble upon the treasure maps.
Some bright spots of the game come from the different mounts War encounters on his quest for revenge. Parts of the game will have you riding on a horse, fighting waves of enemies, while another part will have you fly around on a winged creature, shooting at other flying critters. The flying combat, along with your trusty bladed boomerang, calls forth a cumbersome aiming mechanism. The boomerang was one of our favorite parts of combat, but it’s difficult to really get a good feel for aiming.
Darksiders doesn’t offer a greatly unique story, but it is unique in that you play one of the four horsemen. The concept alone is very strong. We also really enjoyed beating on both angels and demons—something about that felt so awesome. Towards the beginning of the game, you’ll regain the ability to temporarily transform into this giant flaming demon. In this form, you harness intense power and are virtually indestructible. As the game progresses, this ability makes combat quite a bit easier.
The game has some very strong elements, but never really takes off as we’d hoped. Action fans will probably love this game for its fast-paced combat and gory finishing moves. Fans of puzzle-adventure games in the Zelda realm will probably appreciate the obvious homage to the classic Nintendo series. Still, there is the other side of this ‘borrowing from the classics’ theory that will irritate a lot of gamers. We fell somewhere in between these two classes, meaning we enjoyed the throw back to these venerable franchises, but we wish Vigil Games had tried to make a bigger impact kicking off the 2010 gaming ... (continued on next page)