Darksiders XBox 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.5
Value 8.0
Distributor: THQ
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
January 2010
Reviewer:
Tyrone Williams

8.0


Darksiders

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 start 2010?

Written by comic legend Joe Madureira (X-Men), Darksiders 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.

To 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 your journey.

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!






 
 



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