by Darrin Wright
Darksiders is a game that could possibly be one of the best games to slip under your radar. Vigil Games and THQ teamed up to bring us a game about the apocalypse; that is, if the apocalypse felt a lot like a combination of the Legend of Zelda and God of War.
In the game you play as War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and that’s all I’m going to say about the story, except something happens that War gets framed for and spends the rest of the game – about 15 hours or so – trying to clear his name. The best way to do this? Killing a lot of things.
Basically speaking, the game’s very technically sound, and that’s because it borrows a lot from some of the most popular franchises in gaming. Zelda, God of War, Prince of Persia, and Panzer Dragoon all seem to be part of the mechanics in one way or another. If you’re not trudging through a dungeon and solving puzzles like Link, you’re tearing apart enemies in increasingly visceral ways like Kratos. If you’re not running on walls and slowing down time like the Prince, you’re riding a griffin and shooting down angels and demons like in Sega’s classic series. It’s all really fun, and everything handles great except for some minor camera issues that can creep in, especially when you’re in the middle of combat. The only problem is you get the feeling that you’ve done all this before. There’s even an obligatory backtracking “go get item X” mission or two, and while Quick-Time-Events do pop up, they’re blessedly short and, many times, not that crucial.
Graphically, the game shines. The artwork looks like something right out of a comic book, and while a lot of times you’ll find yourself fighting hordes of demons that all look alike, it’s not a major problem. The scenery is nice and some of the dungeons are spectacular, but at the same time you find yourself wishing they’d done more with the game. True, there’s not much you can do with a world where all life has virtually been wiped out, but it would’ve been nice to see at least a little something extra.
Combat is a breeze, and probably one of the biggest flaws in the game; it’s too easy. Just hit the attack button. Hit it some more. Did the demon get back up? Hit it MORE. Now, true, this is what happens with most games like this, but when you add in a target-lock system that – while it works OK – you end up ignoring more than you do using, and you get a fairly standard button-mashing experience. Again, it’s still fun, but nothing new.
All things considered, Darksiders does a lot of things right, but when you borrow from some of the biggest franchises in gaming, you darn well better.
Developer: Vigil Games (Published by THQ)
Genre: 3D action/adventure
Length: Around 15 Hours
Gripes: Bosses tend to be easier than some normal enemies. Also, some camera slowdown during intense group battles.
Get it for the: It’s a hybrid of Zelda, God of War, and Panzer Dragoon. If you like those games, buy this.
Editor Note: Played the PS3 version start-to-finish. Many sources cite no noticeable differences between the PS3 and XB360 versions.