Darksiders

Darksiders is an action/adventure game for the Xbox 360 & PS3 in which you play as War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in an epic battle to clear your name in the fight between Heaven and Hell on Earth.

Just The Facts

  1. Darksiders is an action/adventure game for the Xbox 360 & PS3 game consoles
  2. Darksiders borrows heavily from other action/adventure games
  3. Darksiders is wicked fun

What's it about?

You play as War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who is summoned to Earth during an epic battle of the forces of Heaven and Hell. When the forces of Heaven are overthrown by the Destroyer, you get the blame, and you also get killed. However, you get a second chance from the Council, a group of old spirits who keep the balance between good and evil, and you are sent back to a post-apocalyptic Earth hundreds of years later in order to clear your name and exact vengeance upon those who wronged you.

"Your bad breath will not go unpunished"

That sounds badass!

Yes it does. And it IS badass. Basically this is a revenge tale where you try to clear your name while killing everyone in your path. Think The Fugitive, if The Fugitive met Kill Bill in Bible studies class. The story isn't terribly complex, and really doesn't pick up until later in the game. But the great thing about the story is it is steeped in religious lore. Expect to see cameos from The Angel of Death (Azrael), the devil (Sammael) and even the Garden of Eden. The game is just swimming in awesome religious references, and handles them in a strangely normal way. There is love, betrayal, and even codes of honor. Of course, War doesn't play with any of that crap, and is mainly focused on killing just about everything in sight, and how!

Badassness Maximus

The Gameplay

Now playing with religious themes isn't exactly anything new, but the story is fairly unique and inspired. There have been few complaints about the story. No, the biggest complaint is the gameplay. Now, it's not the gameplay is bad - far from it. The gameplay is actually quite good, with fairly seamless combat filled with many moves (including sweet finishing moves that send blood flying), excellent dungeons with epic bosses, puzzles with new gear to obtain, lifestones, a character that guides you and torments you...

Are you starting to get it now? Sound familiar? Well, it is. It sounds like Zelda. Meets God of War. With some Portal elements thrown in there. The most direct similarity is to Zelda. The gear takes direct pages out of Zelda's handbook (a hookshot, a spinning blade used to trigger items in the evironment, exploding rocks used to destroy barriers, an annoying sidekick and of course an overpowered sword). It even controls relatively similar, with locking on, combo streaks, blocking and even assigning things to the D-Pad. It is incredibly hard to ignore the similarities.

That ain't Epona though, bitches.

But it's fun. And it's gory. Yes, this is similar to Zelda, but even though it lacks the polish of the Nintendo series, it's still fun, and bloody as hell. If they made a very mature Zelda with spoken dialogue, awesome cut scenes, and brutal gore, this would be it. Some call it imitation, others call it homage. The real truth is that it is FUN. Many compare it to God of War for its themes and its combat. But God of War itself is an homage to games of the past, albeit a more polished effort. Still, saying games are similar to one another isn't a bad thing, especially if you are comparing them to excellent games. That's the biggest compliment you could receive!

The gameplay is varied and fun, even if it has flaws (blocking comes to mind, and the fact that maps are almost useless and not everything is laid out for you and becomes hard to decipher what to do next). Still, what other game lets you play as a f$%%ing HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE? That's got to count for something.

See? Badass.

Visuals/Audio

As of this article, the horrible screen-tearing problem on the 360 version has been fixed with a patch, so that is no longer a problem. It WAS a horrible inconvenience and an eyesore, but again, it's fixed now, so no more complaining, hippie.

The visuals aren't exactly Modern Warfare 2 or Gears of War. However, the visual style is awesome. The post-apocalytpic Earth is pretty neat. Though there are familiar settings like sand dunes, fire levels, and underwater areas, everything still holds a resemblance to actual Earth-based architecture, which is really cool.

Characters are done well, especially bosses and other important figures. Minions that you kill all of the time can suck, but the animations for fighting and killing them (pressing a button towards the end of their lifecycle ends in gloriously gory fatalities) are a joy. War himself is an absolute badass, and his character design is done well, and is very fluid.

Speaking of War, the actor (Liam O'Brien) doing his voice does a great job. Everything is said with such a snarl and raspy, foreboding tones that it gives the impression of a god-like figure, which is perfect. Other voices are done incredibly well too. Voices you may recognize are Moon Bloodgood (of Terminator: Salvation fame) as Uriel, and Mark Hamill (YOU KNOW WHO THAT IS) as The Watcher. Hamill seems to be using The Joker's voice over again from Batman: Arkham Asylum, but it works.

Save the galaxy? Or piss Batman off? Tough call.

Sound effects are great, from the clashing of swords to crumbling buildings to large explosions, everything is handled well and has the appropriate sounding effect. It's not exceptional, but it's fitting.

Music is there, and appropriately epic, but it won't stick in your mind for long. It fits the scenes perfectly, but you won't rush out to buy the soundtrack any time soon.

Overall Verdict

Darksiders is awesome.

This game, being an homage to video games, is also an homage to gamers in general. It is a video game for video game's sake; it wasn't made to sell a brand or to make a movie out of (although it is apparently being turned into a movie eventually). The game is simply FUN.

Sure, it is flawed, but if you're looking for a game to enjoy with some challenge involved, with a kickass story and a badass main character, you shouldn't pass this one up. Even as an homage to other, better games, Darksiders can still stand up on its own merit and should be enjoyed by anyone who calls themselves a "gamer".

Pictured: You.