March 3rd, 2010, 12:46 Posted By: jonnyrodgers10
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3(reviewed)
NA: January 5, 2010
EU: January 7, 2010
AUS: January 8, 2010
UK: January 7, 2010
Genre: Action Adventure / Hack and Slash
I did hear much about ‘Darksiders’ before I got my review copy, but was intrigued by the badlands comic style graphics and the post apocalyptic battlefield between demons and angels. The game is trying to be a next generation hack n’ slash that has many creative and familiar aspects which make it both appealing and fun to play in a lot of ways.
Given that I had been playing the God of War collection up until now it turned out to be more familiar than I had anticipated but on the other hand it was the first attempt by Vigil games into the next generation of console game design.
David Adams (founder of Vigil games) is well known as a comic artist for the X-men series by Marvel and interestingly their next project will be based on the popular Warhammer 40,000 series. But back to this game.
The story of Darksiders was quite creative and graphic but focused more on a dramatic introduction and a little less on story until the game has progressed. You play the character ‘War’ (the sinister/humorless one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse) who was basically tricked into starting the apocalypse and as a result had most of his powers taken away.
The opening sequences involve meteors raining down on Earth with beasts and demons destroying the cities of the world. The character War appears in a similar fashion and does not know what has happened but quickly realizes that the apocalypse has begun. He is then taken by the ‘council’ (who govern the truce between heaven and hell) and told he must restore the balance.
In order to do this he will kill either the forces of light or dark that gets in his way. To achieve this quickly he makes a deal with a powerful demon who instructs him to confront four of the ancient powerful ‘chosen ones’ (bosses) in order to obtain their hearts and gain access to the ‘dark lord’s’ castle.
From the onset of the first level the cut scenes were quite dramatic and easy on the eye until your first experience controlling War. At this point I found some of the graphics a bit grainy to be critical but took it in as a developing atmosphere. This area of the game improved as it progressed through the different environments and was sometimes a joy to watch as a comic fan but not in any way pushing the boundaries of graphics.
The controls and movement of War were a little sluggish/non responsive especially for jumping close to edges which sometimes made a few sections repetitive. I found the aiming system took a little getting used to and a lot of the fighting was very generic, especially the moves which War could perform with the use of one button. This could even be taken a step further and say that most enemies, including bosses, can be destroyed by repeating a simple charging move that is very easy to gain.
On of the reasons a game such as Batman: Arkham Asylum was so successful was because of its balance between different aspects of the game on top of the combat system that constantly changed and forced you to think. Darksiders on the other hand which centres around its combat has very little variety in terms of moves that you will actually want to use and puzzles that rarely put you out of your comfort zone.
Like any slash game though it was full of general things, like soul meters as currency for upgrades and secret items in chests to give more health, again all done before with the addition of a few extra powers and abilities to expand your search criteria. There were a few small details I could appreciate though such as the ability to throw objects, fight horse mounted and the way different enemies could be finished. It would have been a nice addition to have multiple endings for the death of each character but at least it could only happen once with a boss and was always pleasing to watch.
In conclusion it has aspects from a lot of very successful games especially God of War and Zelda but it was a good step for Vigil and has put them on the radar as a serious game developer. It was fun to play and had enough variety and story to keep me interested as the game itself was surprising long and other than a slightly annoying control system it was quit fluid.
For me it was a bit run of the mill as far as originality is concerned and does not look too much better than a lot of older hack n’ slash games. Much of it is attractive thoughtless entertainment but there are others with a bit more diversity and quality in terms of meriting a replay.
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