|Developer: Vigil Games
Release Date: Out Now
Revenge, it is said, is a dish best served cold. For Horseman of the Apocalypse War your chance for revenge is well and truly icy, as you are caught up in a conspiracy to end the world and only get the chance to serve up punishment 100 years after the fall of mankind. But with the chance to beat down both the minions of Hell and the servants of Heaven, I think it's worth the wait...
As a hack 'n’ slash action puzzler based on powerful mythical figures wreaking revenge it's hard to avoid comparisons to the fantastic God of War series, especially since the opening scenes of Darksiders play very similarly to the opening of GoW II. The menus and inventory look suspiciously similar but aside from that Darksiders carves its own path, aided in no small measure by the impressive visuals created by comic book writer and artist Joe Madureira.
Like quite a few recent games you get to play through the prologue with all of your powers but start the game proper back at square one, with only your sword, limited combos and some anger issues. The combat is pretty fluid—moves flow from each other with very little delay in recognising your frantic button-mashing.
As you play through the game the fights get more complex and different types of enemies take you on. These range from melee brawlers to flying seraphs, and also toxic or flaming enemies which required you to take them out from distance. You harvest 'souls' (similar to the orbs in most action games) and use those to upgrade weapons or unlock new combos in order to take on the larger waves of enemies.
Some new techniques, such as counters, do help tackle the larger sub-bosses but unfortunately you can roll through the game by maxing out a few easy combos and blocking at the right times, especially since early in the game you can transform into a fire-clad Demon for a short time, which demolishes everything in sight! The combat, even towards the end of the game, never really moves beyond an early plateau and even though the boss battles are good fun they feel more like clever puzzles with dangers thrown in rather than actual battles.
In Darksiders you get to play with an array of weapons, from heavenly beam guns to a Krull-style throwing weapon, called the Crossblade, or a gauntlet that creates shockwaves. Some of these, like the pistol, are really there to fill the gaps but some of them not only change the way you clear the enemies but also open up the puzzle sections of the game with some inventive solutions.
If you don't have the skills at the time the game will move you on from the puzzle, round the corner and you'll find what you need to solve it. Sometimes this is a new weapon but it can also be something that changes the environment to create a whole new level. In one part you solve a puzzle and afterwards you flood the chamber in order to rise up to the level above and solve another puzzle in the same room. This fits in with the game's open-world setup; you’ll notice as you run through the game areas which you can't be entered and will only be accessible later. However there's little back- tracking as when you get to the end of a stretch there's always a new route back to the start, or even quick shortcuts with the 'wormholes' that enable you to quick travel all over the place.
Darksiders is a very good game with a mix of action, puzzles and platforming, so has a very broad appeal. The visual style is unique and offers some interesting characters, even if a lot of the dialogue sounds a bit stale. The puzzles and platforming work really well, if not challenging the player too much, but the combat is only really a bit-player and never really lives up to the standard of the rest of the game. But nonetheless if you want to split hell demons in half while tackling puzzles that don't feel like taking exams then this is the game for you.
- Great Visuals
- Logical Puzzles
- Fun Platforming
- Nice Weapons
- You Play as a Horseman of the Apocalypse!
- Shallow combat
- Disappointing boss battles
- Characters and story are a little stale
- A little bit of back- tracking in places
- No replay value