I must confess that THQ allowed us to have
a dirty little secret and we've been playing the final version of
Darksiders a couple of weeks before its official release and what better way to
Written by comic legend Joe Madureira (X-Men),
begins with the final days of mankind and somehow the apocalypse has
been unleashed on Earth, the third Kingdom. This is where the game comes
onto its own and from the very first moments, it's definitely a WTF
moment as demons and angels battle it out through the world of man.
compound the situation, you (WAR) have been accused by the Charred
Council of inciting the destruction of mankind through the unleashing of
the apocalypse, however as a last chance of
redemption, you have been given the responsibility of investigating who
was responsible and of course bringing
them to justice.
It's a classic good versus evil story, however
Madureira ensures that there are enough twists and turns along the way
to even make the writers of Lost get confused. Best of all, Darksiders
is an amalgamation of a traditional hack 'n' slash game (think
God of war, Prototype & to some extend, The Legend of Zelda) with a
touch of RPG as you progress through the many levels of hell and Earth through
Although your character was quite powerful during the
first level of the game, you were stripped of the majority of your
powers but thankfully as you progress, these powers will slowly return
as you fight you way through an unending hoard of villains and some
spectacular and over the top boss fights.
Even though Darksiders does
not challenge the status quo of this genre, it's a healthy dose of
mindless gaming action as you use a variety of weapons and powers to
dispatch anything and everything that gets in your way. You also have
secondary weapons and upgrades which does make for some interesting
combinations and battle options. As you progress, there are some great
villains and enemies that you fight which assists in the overall
enjoyment of this title.
Of course, the story of Darksiders plays
quite heavy with the gameplay and there are some great conspiracies to
uncover along the way which means helping the enemy in order to
achieve their needs and yours, such as the demon Samael. Thankfully the
game is not all about killing and there is a healthy amount of
puzzles along the way to keep your mind active and give you a little
break from the sometimes repetitive battles, especially early on in the
game. Some of your weapons need to be used in conjunction with the
puzzles in the title such as your tremor gauntlet which can be used to
destroy certain objects in the game.
You also need to collect souls from the
enemies that you destroy which can be used to progress the story,
upgrades and items. Even though some of the destinations may sound quite
implausible, you will be given new skills along the way such as the
power of flight and a few other goodies that we do not want to spoil for
the gamer intended to purchase this fun title.
The control system of the game is well
mapped out on the controller and whether your interacting with puzzles,
fighting enemies or attempting to pull off one of those difficult
multi button combinations, everything works quite well. Thankfully, the controls
start off simple as well but as you progress, you need to use a variety
of buttons in conjunction such as your Chaos form which is like a super
power up for your character. Classic gaming moments.
Boss battles do have those traditional, push
certain buttons at certain times which is fun, although it does limit
the replay value of the title and Darksiders is probably best enjoyed
once and perhaps a second time to find out all those things you missed
the first time in a row.
It should be noted that the Darksiders does
start a little slow and lacklustre and dare I say, a little depressing
at times, considering that humanity has been wiped out and only the
undead and demons roam the lands. However after the first hour, the ante
gets upped by developers Vigil who have created a rather
entertaining game from story to gameplay.
Match that with some good
looking graphics from detailed gaming environment, great special effects
and some impressive characters and Darksiders is no doubt a very well
made game. The only issue with the graphics is that the character models
look a little too blocky but it's more stylised than a visualisation
flaw. With that in mind, Darksiders does seem like a comic come to life
on the console which I'm sure is what Madureira was attempting to
portray. The game also uses in-game cut scenes to help progress the
story and the loading times between levels are minimal at best.
The soundtrack is quite grandiose and is
almost like it has been taken from a Hollywood movie about the
end of mankind which will definitely help with your adrenaline during
key moments in the title. The voice
acting ranges from good to mediocre as some of the characters you
encounter do sound a little forced and contrived and War is as clichéd
as ever. Nonetheless, not a bad effort and it sounds great through 5.1!
THQ's Darksiders may not be the most original game, however it works by
giving the player a fun gaming experience that attempts to be clever at
certain times and actually succeeds. As the game
progresses, it's interesting to see the story unfold and more
specifically, see our favourite horsemen of the Apocalypse redeem
himself through some visually impressive powers and of course, good old
fashioned hack 'n ' slash action. Definitely a good way to start 2010!