Darksiders is a game that isn’t getting a whole lot of hype for some reason, however, it is a game that everyone needs to try out. It is a fantastic game, mixing elements from some of the best games out there along with the developer’s own concepts. The basic premise of the story deals with Heaven, Hell and the Kingdom of Man and you are one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You are “War” and you quickly learn that you have been set up to take the fall by someone who has broken a sacred pact. The Four Horsemen are only supposed to appear to serve justice to those who break the law, however, after you have been set up you find yourself in trouble with the Council. Now you are the one accused of breaking the law and you find yourself on a quest for revenge, as well as answers. Unfortunately the Council no longer trusts you so they order the “Watcher” to keep his eye on you and make sure you behave. As you progress throughout the game the Watcher will give you hints and help remind you of what you need to do next. The development team did a great job of making you aware of the Watcher’s presence throughout the game without it being completely in your face and annoying.
Darksiders is a pretty big game and one of the most impressive aspects of this title is that there always seems to be something new around the proverbial corner. While I was in the final dungeon I came across a completely new mechanic that changed how I would continue on through the rest of the game. It was a pleasant surprise to see that there was still new stuff I had not seen in the final dungeon. The game flows really well and you are constantly introduced to new power ups and new game mechanics so you won’t get bored doing something over and over again. There is good variety in the weapons and items that you will find throughout your adventure helping everything to stay fresh as you progress. The environments are varied with one being in a destroyed city, another being in a desert, another being a church and more. As you progress through the game you will come across a bunch of different demons with one of them being a merchant where you can buy new spells, upgrade your weapons and things like that. Eventually, this guy will also give you access to the serpent holes. Serpent holes are basically the warp system for this game and they help you get around quicker. As I said before, this is a pretty big game and it would get tedious if you had to continually walk back and forth across the world if you forgot a treasure chest or a item that you need so this is definitely a welcome addition to the game.
The art style for the entire game is really beautiful from the characters, to the enemies, environments and everything else. The cinematics are done really well and woven into the story at just the right times to help move the story along. While watching these cinematics you will get to hear the excellent voice work in the game including Mark Hamill portraying the Watcher character. You can tell the development team and the voice actors were having a lot of fun while making this title. There are definitely some times that I chuckled at some of the one liners during either during a cinematic scene or a random comment during the gameplay. As you go through the game you can definitely see some of the background that the development team brought to the table, most notably Joe Madureira. The art style and graphical presence of the whole game feels like it could be a comic or a really good anime.
As soon as you pick up the controller and engage in combat you will immediately draw parallels to similar titles in this genre. While on the surface the combat might look like a God of War spinoff, it really isn’t. Sure there is the hack and slash gameplay but there is so much more to it than that. You could probably button mash your way through the whole game and be fine, however, if you did that you would be cheating yourself out of some of the cooler weapons and attacks that you acquire throughout your journey. You have your sword which will periodically level up as you use it along with a scythe, a crossblade, a gun and more. There are also abilities that you can learn as you progress such as hardening your skin so that you can take more damage, a blade geyser which brings forth a circle of deadly blades to surround War, affliction where you can summon demons and spirits and Immolation where War is engulfed in a barrier of Hellfire. You also have your “passive abilities” with Shadowflight (where you sprout wings and can float for a few seconds), a block counter maneuver where if you time it right you can turn the tables on your foe and Ruin, your horse with hooves of fire. A lot of these are available to be purchased from your merchant friend, Vulgrim, as well as upgrading your existing weapons and items. There are some light rpg elements as you level up all of your different equipment. There are also artifacts placed throughout the world that you can bring back to Vulgrim and he will award you with more souls, the currency in the game. There are also different items you can buy to make your weapons stronger such as the “Weapon Master” which will boost the damage inflicted by that weapon. The combat can be as shallow or as deep as you want it to be with all of these options that I have talked about along with many more.
Overall Darksiders is an amazing game. They did borrow the best things from some of the most popular titles out there, however, they did a great job combining that with their own ideas. Graphically the game is gorgeous which the different kinds of environments help to showcase. This is a really easy game to get into and one that everyone should be able to enjoy. If you are a completionist it will take you a while to get all of your abilities and weapons and to level them up completely. If you just want to go through the game and enjoy the story and not have to worry about leveling up or customizing anything then you can do that too. The weapons that you use the most will level up naturally as you progress so it isn’t anything that you need to concern yourself with if you don’t want to. The characters compliment each other really well and this is an incredible effort for Vigil’s very first title. Not only is this a tremendous start to this year, this is a tremendous start to this decade and something that both Vigil and THQ should be very proud of. This could be the start of a great new franchise for both studios and gaming in general.