True, Darksiders gives a subtle nod in a lot of directions to many games of the current generation as well as last generation – but its not a bad thing in any way. It all has a fresh approach or is at least dressed up in new designs or colours to differentiate itself from the rest. I’d even go so far as to say it combines the best elements of a lot of different games and wraps them into one completely enjoyable entity. Darksiders doesn’t ‘rip’ any ideas, rather it pays homage to a lot of games before it. And it works.
For the most part, its a hack and slash button-masher, but push the difficulty up to “Apocalyptic” and you’re going to find yourself in a word of hurt fairly quickly if button mashing is your only approach. The use of the ‘dash’ button is paramount, with most major enemies having an extremely powerful charge attack of some sort. The controls take some getting used to as Darksiders uses pretty much every possible button (and combination) on the DS3 to accomplish moves, weapons and accessory switching.
L1 & R2 summon War’s Chaos form, L1 and R1 summon War’s mount, the fiery horse, Ruin. Almost any combination of buttons you can image have some sort of action in Darksiders. Thankfully, additional gear is all spaced out in its acquisition, so it doesn’t take much brainpower to add another combination to your repertoire.
A friendly get-together
The world in Darksiders is largely a sandbox environment, with certain key regions and locations having a more conventional, or linear approach. Some areas you will not be able to reach straight away and they will require re-visitation later. Areas are full of secrets, treasures and various other pickups and bonuses. Even after story completion, you can roam around, max out weapons and continue to harvest souls for upgrades.
Currency in Darksiders comes in the form of Souls, which are harvested by killing enemies primarily, or by destroying environmental objects. In addition to souls, green ‘souls’ act as your health boost and yellow ‘souls’ act as your Wrath Power boost. Wrath Powers are special abilities (including things like Stone Skin and Blade Geyser), offensive and defensive boosts that compliment your already varied arsenal. Default weapons also have ‘sockets’ and allow added attributes (fire damage, extra soul harvest for example).
Enemies are varied and the whole Heaven and Hell theme gives Vigil Games a superb creative licence seldom seen in titles – massive scale creatures, Demonic denizens, Archangels and winged brutes, skeletal warriors – basically anything that could have possibly fit with the Heaven vs Hell vibe was included. You get the feel that the creative team just sat around and tried to out-do each other with cool creature ideas. Every boss battle is epic and engineered for the maximum effect. With the manual focus camera, it makes for some seriously cinematic fight sequences.
Reunited with the trusty… flaming… steed