Between me, Ash and Alec, we’ve wrote countless reviews over the past 8 years, some for a few websites that no longer exist, and some which do.
We thought it was about time we made use of these past articles, so in the first of our new series – Flashback – we are going to look back at the reviews of original titles which have a sequel on the way.
Given that we are looking forward to Darksiders II so much, what better game to start this feature, than the original.
Check out our original Darksiders II review (first published on Wonderwallweb.com, Jan 4, 2010).
We’ll have another Flashback for you soon, any idea what game it’ll be for?
Many people have said that Darksiders takes its influence from Zelda, Castlevania and Kratos and to be honest they may have a valid point, however given that these games are amongst the greatest ever released you have to wonder how many other games have also taken their influence from these titles. Is a developer wrong from borrowing ideas from the greats? In my opinion the answer is no, in fact the developer should only be blamed should the game be a shambles and in the case of Darksiders I am very happy to report that this is far from being the case.
Darksiders opens up unlike any game before it, playing as War you find yourself in the middle of the Apocalypse, somehow a pact which was agreed between Heaven and Hell and then bound by seven seals has been broken, spelling doom for mankind. Soon into the first level you find out that War seems to have been blamed for this whole Apocalypse and therefore soon finds himself returning back to Earth to find out who the real culprit is. Of course this is not going to be easy, for one you have lost some of your awesome powers and just to rub it in your are accompanied on your journey by The Watcher, who is a nasty demon that is just waiting for your to slip up.
Throughout your journey you will encounter many a nasty creature, these range from demons to angels and mythical creatures to awe inspiring monsters, there really is an incredible mix and each seems to be even more difficult to defeat than the last. I don’t really want to give much of the story away in this review, after all where is the fun in that? What I will say though is that throughout your adventure you will visit many a creature, including foes and enemies and once you have completed the task at hand you will start to gain your powers back one by one and eventually face up to the one who is responsible for your current predicament.
When War returns to Earth he is only armed with his trusty sword, this is named the Chaoseater and with good reason. Chaoseater seems to cut through most enemies with ease and since Darksiders has a RPG tinge to it you are also able to upgrade this and other weapons, making attacks more powerful and also adding enhancements which will benefit your character. Other weapons you will gain later in the game include The Harvester, a nasty Scythe which slices enemies to pieces, the Tremor Gauntlet which not only smashes the enemy but also certain parts of the environment and then there is Redemption, a canon like weapon which literally blows enemies to pieces. It’s not only the weapons that pack a punch though as other equipment that War gains is just as powerful such as the Crossblade which acts like a nasty four bladed frisbee and also Mercy which is Darksiders version of a handgun.
As well as his weapons War is also blessed with Wrath and Passive abilities. Wrath abilities range in their effect, for example Blade Geyser allows you to summon blades around you which spring out of the ground, while others such as Stoneskin will allow you to reduce the damage you take from enemies. Passive abilities meanwhile include Chaos Form which sees you turn into a practically invulnerable flaming demon for several seconds and also things like Shadowflight which sees you sprout wings enabling your to fly for a limited time. It is also worth mentioning that you also meet up with your horse Ruin later in the game, bringing a new twist to the combat as you slay the enemy from your steed.
With all these weapons and abilities you really are prepared for combat and when you add in your defensive moves such as the quick dash, which allows you to quickly move away from impending attacks you really will appreciate the thought that has went into the combat system. Of course no amount of weapons, equipment or enemies would be complete without a well thought out adventure and happily Darksiders provides this. Although when you first start out its all about hack and slash it isn’t long before you find yourself faced with challenges, puzzles, epic battles and huge bosses to keep you busy. The puzzles are quite challenging and will see you having to light bombs using a combination of lit torches and your Crossblade, moving pieces of the environment and also changing water levels in order to progress further. The challenges here are tough and will have you scratching your head time and again, however you will soon get into the swing of it.
Throughout your adventure you will come across all manner of items, these include treasure chests which help refill your Life and Wrath and also gift you souls which is the in game currency. Hidden away in the levels you will also find Artefacts which you can trade with a demon named Vulgrim who not only acts as a trader allowing you to upgrade weapons, equipment and learn new combat moves but also allows you to fast travel between areas. Finally you will also be searching for the ten pieces of the Abysmal Armour and other enhancements which will make your character stronger in battle.
The presentation in Darksiders really is outstanding, of course there has been some help in this respect thanks to comic legend Joe Madureira, who it has to be said must be proud of what the developers have managed to achieve in this game. Each of the areas you visit throughout the game look better than the last, whether you are in the apocalypse torn Crossroads or the mysterious Anvils Ford, which provides a little challenge of its own for you to get your teeth into. The action is also very smooth and the game rarely stutters meaning that there is very little to complain about.
Unfortunately Darksiders does not include a multiplayer mode, however when you have a game which is roughly 20-25 hours in length you can hardly complain about this. In fact to me not all games really need multiplayer, especially games of this type which are made with only the single player experience in mind.
Darksiders is an epic game with fast paced action, eye popping environments and awe inspiring enemies. This game may not have been on many people radars considering the other quality titles being released in the early part of 2010, but it should be the first game on people lists now, because if you miss this you will be missing out of an unbelievable experience.
Review Policy (version tested: PS3)
If you want to know more about Darksiders II then check here for all our coverage so far, including previews, interviews and a whole lot more.
You can pre-order here.