Maker: Vigil Games
Release date: Jan. 5, 2010
“Darksiders” is an action adventure game from THQ that heavily borrows from the framework and formula of the Zelda series. The game boasts art direction by Joe Madureira, who worked on the “Uncanny X-Men” comics in the late 90s.
While the art direction is solid, the rendering is not up to task. Random load times and graphical glitches are frequent.
The game’s main character, War, is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Unfortunately for him, the rules for calling him to the Earth were broken during a false alarm, thus triggering the End of Days. Deceived by the politicians known as the Charred Council, War is blamed with kick-starting the end of the world. But as luck would have it, the Council has allowed him to go back to Earth to remove the tarnish from his name and uncover a conspiracy spanning both Heaven and Hell.
The game is pretty long, and the first play through will take about 15 hours on average, including the five dungeons and the ludicrously annoying fetch quest at the end. But the game is fun and enjoyable. It shows its Zelda-inspired roots with pride, and it works very well.
The game’s main journey tasks War with retrieving the four hearts of the Chosen, who are Lucifer’s favorite demons. Each demon resides in its own dungeon full of puzzles, enemies and new gear. Some of those puzzles are perplexing, and require a bit of divergent thinking to get solve. But there is nothing too hard, and the plot opens up during the procuring of these hearts.
The game’s combat borrows from the likes of action games like “Devil May Cry” and “God of War,” but is overly simplified. There is only one combat button and gamers will mash it in conjunction with the triggers and the directional stick to pull off satisfying bloody maneuvers. War can also upgrade his weapons during the game, but doing so bears little fruit and feels a bit tacked on. Also, if an enemy gets damaged enough, a contextual clue will appear that offers War some health or souls to upgrade his gear.
On the downside, astute gamers will notice the use of the “Hookshot” from Zelda, and the portal gun.
Finally, pulling off the special moves require the use of a shoulder button and D-Pad or face button input, which is annoying because it might cause some cheap deaths and is ultimately forgotten. In addition, the game’s controls are a bit sluggish and the game might mistake an input for doing something strange like dodging when War meant to block and so on.
Overall, “Darksiders” is a game that shows off what can be done with a little bit of idea grabbing and a dash of original flair. Gamers can expect a bloody and somewhat satisfying adventure with shooting elements and open-world roaming. Some minor problems keep this title from reaching its full potential, but it is fun and worth the ride to the End of Days.