Gaming on a Budget: Darksiders

If you want a good game to take up 20-25 hours of your time, look no farther than former developer THQ’s Darksiders. Originally released in 2009 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, this combination of a hack and slash with puzzle elements puts players in the role of War, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Framed for starting the Endwar without provocation, it is up to you to atone and find out who is really behind these events.

The best way to really describe this game is a love child between God of War and The Legend of Zelda. War is absolutely brutal in combat, using variations of his giant sword Chaoseater and alternating between a huge scythe and a gauntlet that causes small earthquakes as secondary weapons. On top of this, War finds various gear to help him in his quest, such as a boomerang blade, a grappling hook, and even an attachment for his gauntlet that fires portals onto surfaces. All of these have uses in both combat (minus the portal gauntlet) as well, allowing you to pull small enemies to you to throw them off when attacking or pulling you to large enemies to close the gap, or using your boomerang to keep them in place. Enemies come in varying waves, most of which aren’t very difficult unless playing on the Apocalyptic difficulty or towards the end of the game, which will really test your mastery of the combat system. War controls pretty smoothly for the most part, at times struggling a bit and the camera can get in your way during a few puzzles but it is easy to maneuver around.

Darksiders is broken up into six major hubs, each one having a final boss that tests what you have learned in that area in order to win. Some of these fights are much harder than others, though once you learn the attack patterns it’s not overly hard to dodge most of the damage that bosses can dish out. All of these bosses look great as well, and each one does a great job of making you feel like a badass when you beat them when War goes into a cutscene for the final part of the kill.

While characters look great, this isn’t the prettiest of games by any means, so much so that I used to think that they were bad the first time I played years ago. Darksiders utilizes a form of cell-shading that gives everything a very distinct look, and eventually you get used to and really appreciate the way it looks. Character models are awesome, from War himself to the demon Samael, and even Abbadon the archangel who you meet early in the game. The same thing can’t really be said about the hordes of enemies that you slay though, as they are cool looking at first but copied and pasted throughout. Later enemies have the same appearance but a different color variation to indicate that they are “stronger,” though they have the exact same predictable attack patterns.

The coolest part of this game in my opinion is the story and the lore behind it. Taking ideas from “Revelations”, it is great to learn about the different forces of Heaven and Hell and even learning a bit about the Horseman through War, though he isn’t much of a talker and is a bit stiff when doing so. Seeing how the Endwar affected Earth after the fall of man is pretty awesome as well and you’ll be exploring old cathedrals, open deserts, and even old submerged subway stations in your quest.

If you get the chance, try this game out. If you want to buy it, you can get it for less than $15 easily or find it for a rental. Is it the best game ever and worth every single penny? Probably not, and there are some flaws in this game, such as having no post-game content or a new game plus option. However, I enjoyed it so much that I’ve beaten it four times now and I still have a lot of fun with it. It borrows heavily from other series and it’s clear to see that in game, but it still stands out as a great adventure game with an amazing combat system.

On a side note, I recently saw that Darksiders 2 will be getting a re-release on Xbox One and PS4, so let’s hope that comes out soon.

Rating: 8/10

Featured image courtesy of THQ Games


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