War is a dangerous thing.
Darksiders is one of the last great games from the (sadly) now defunct THQ. It’s an action-adventure in which you play as War, one of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. The game takes many of its cues from The Legend of Zelda series, but plays as more of an action/hack and slash style adventure, with puzzles and a bit of exploration thrown in.
I’m not going to bore you with details of the plot, but suffice to say, it is a little convoluted at the beginning – not too bad, but enough to make me not bothered enough to remember exactly what happened for this review. It all does add up in the end to a satisfying enough narrative which is built around an interesting world held together by a great art-style.
Indeed, the art in Darksiders is one of its strongest assets. The Great art however never does quite enough to pull the wool over the slightly creaky graphics; it’s a shame, because the game would truly be a sight to behold if its graphics matched its art. One of the strongest aspects of the games art lies in its character design – everything looks cool and really acts its size. All the sharp angles and painted look the game employs really add to something special, however, there is not enough variation in the art – you will see a lot of the same designs throughout.
In fact, repetition and lack of variation is something Darksiders has a lot of trouble with. The game follows a similar system to Zelda, you go to a certain area, then go into what’s effectively a dungeon, fighting enemies, solving puzzles, fighting enemies, jumping around a bit, fighting enemies, solving puzzles, fighting enemies then fighting the boss. I was meant to write fighting enemies and solving puzzles as much as is above, the game really does follow the same formula throughout – sure the puzzles are not all the same but you do spend the vast majority of the game fighting enemies.
This brings us nicely onto the combat in Darksiders, which is pretty solid. There are a fair few combos available for the various weapons and the bonus items/weapons do a fair amount in spicing up the combat. However, the combat is not as smooth as it is in games such as Ninja Gaiden and Kingdoms of Amalur and not as strong or puzzling as in Zelda. This is a problem. For a game to spend its majority in combat, the combat must be the star of the show – in Darksiders it just isn’t.
That isn’t to say you won’t enjoy your time spent in Darksiders, but there is the feeling throughout that it could just be better. Perhaps this is down to the structure of the game. The structure plays very much as a game and it doesn’t make any bones about it. You are constantly being told that there are three rooms to clear, or you have to find the blue key, or to collect certain objects scattered across the world. You may be thinking now that it is a game, and that many other games follow the same structures, and you are right. What makes it more glaring in Darksiders however is in what you are asked to do – you just get bored with going into rooms that look slightly different from the last, to do a similar thing as to what you just did in the room previous.
Darksiders however is a good game; just a flawed one. Behind all the positives and negatives Darksiders has to offer lies a decent level of difficulty and generally very good voice-acting
It plays well and shooting from the back of your horse going full speed, throwing a car at a zombie and the buckets of blood spilled by awesome killing moves – ripping the wings off an angel anyone? – even telling you how much blood you have spilled on the pause menu, never get old.
Darksiders isn’t quite the sum of all its parts, great art-direction, good voice-acting, pretty solid combat and the odd awesome moment can only do so much against slightly technically inferior graphics, an overtly repetitive nature and a slightly convoluted plot (at the beginning). It’s still a good game, but it definitely is not as good as it could or should have been.
Darksiders is an amazingly cool, violent game marred by an overtly repetitive nature.