Developer: Vigil Published: THQ Platform Reviewed On: Playstation 3
With THQ and Vigilís anticipated upcoming release of Darksiders 2: Death lives! I decided to try my hand at the first one and I must say, what I found was quite unexpectedÖ I popped Darksiders into my PS3 and expected something to the likes of Danteís Inferno or God of War. I was pleasantly surprised though to receive something that I personally found much more enthralling and entertaining. I am not going to go down the usual routine and compare the game to the above titles as is usually done, but rather I will attempt rate it solely on its own merits. And believe me, there are many merits from which to choose.
The spoiler free story thus far!
In the game you play the fabled character of War. One of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! You get thrown right into the fray and also literally right into the end of the world, as far as biblical scripture is concerned at least. As the introductory movie ends you find yourself in a city enveloped by chaos. Devils and angels are fighting it out in an epic world end struggle and you are in the the middle of it! But something is wrong, you seem to have only a fraction of the strength you should. The final seal has not been broken and this leads to a roller coaster epic journey through biblical myth and mythology, as an age old conspiracy slowly unveils itself. As this game is quite story driven it is hard to elaborate without spoiling anything. It is safe to say though. The story is top notch and I canít wait to see how the sequel will build on this.
Down with the demon skinning!
The gameplay itself takes the form of a third person, action adventure, hacker and slasher. The game play is smooth and combo wise quite simple. Fanís of the genre will be delighted with Darksiders for not only is it a nice addition to this genre but also very innovative. Throughout the game you are presented with an array of primary and secondary weapons as well as some handy tools to help you traverse the landscape. Lots of upgrades and customizations are also available. Some very useful, others not so much. Your basic weapon is Warís trusty sword Chaoseater, but as the game progresses you slowly build upon your growing arsenal. The game also smartly incorporates all your weapons into the environment, as certain obstacles can only be overcome with a specific weapon.
One problem that I find games in this genre usually have is the repetitive nature of the fighting. Although as fun and enjoyable as slashing things to pieces are, there is always a big risk it will start to feel repetitive and even a bit tedious. With Darksiders though, I did not get confronted with this problem, mainly due to its unique use of levels and the occasional interesting flying or third person shooter segments. This helps to keeps things fresh and has the tendency to pop up at just the right moments. As is almost expected, Darksiders also have its fair share of puzzles to solve and tricky terrain traverse and find your way through. Yet it mostly succeeds in balancing the challenging and the fun aspects and I enjoyed not having the urge to slam my PS3 through the wall at every second puzzle.
Never count your chickens though..
My main problem with the game is the boss battles. Where this game handles the problem of repetition pretty well, here it fails horribly. I actually at one point started dreading boss battles for they tend to be very long and very REPETITIVE. Though most of them arenít necessarily even hard or frustrating, the sheer repetition often leads to boredom taking away from the overall good feel the rest of the game presents you. Here I am particularly referring to the battle with Tiamat, one of the first and probably the hardest bosses in my opinion. Strangely enough though they do tend to become a little more interesting towards the end and even slightly less repetitive, almost as if the game is learning from its earlier mistakes as you progress. Somewhat peculiar.
All in all Darksiders is one of those games that will draw you in and takes you along for the ride. By the time you reach the final part of the game, you will be ready for it to end. Not because you want it to, but because it carries you all the way with it to the end by the sheer power of its story and the anticipation it builds to the climax. Darksiders fulfils my one ultimate prerequisite for rating a game as great. If a sequel lies somewhere in the distant or not so distant future, it leaves me waiting with anticipation, counting down the days and carefully watching pre-order dates. With its action packed gameplay, interesting and cleverly designed dungeons, great story line and its promising sequel just around corner. Darksiders is a must play and if you have already, a definite replay as well!