Impressions – Darksiders

January 27, 2010

An odd little game this, released just after the Christmas rush and hidden under a tidal wave of Bayonetta hype. I’m sure many people passed it by for that game EDGE gave a ten and has a sexy arse kicking witch in whilst Darksiders happily sat on the shelf displaying its own 10/10 score and lovely boxart. And you know what? Darksiders is actually pretty good.

The whole style of the game makes it very fun to watch in motion.

You play WAR, of four horsemen of the apocalypse fame, who has landed on earth as loads of angels and demons have started fighting. Not knowing quite what’s going on you promptly start to throw buses around and impale things on your sword before you are whisked away and accused of starting the whole thing like your parents accusing you for throwing a party and thrashing their home whilst they were out for the night. So they strip your powers and then send you to perform the cleanup, bunch of squares.

It was when a friend uttered the words ‘It’s a bit like Zelda’ that I added it to my ‘interested list’, and on closer inspection it is like Zelda, but also with an over reliance on rubbish combat.

Ok rubbish combat is a little harsh but coming from Bayonetta of course it was going to be lackluster. The problem with it is that the set up is more akin to God of War, which would be fine if War wasn’t such a slow bugger and the enemies didn’t come in ‘shite’ and ‘tear the player a new arsehole’ difficulty.

The voice acting is very textbook, apart from the joker to the right of this picture, his acting is brilliant.

Zelda works because every encounter is well constructed, naff enemies go down quickly and big enemies take a sensible number of strikes using the block and counter system the game has honed. The issue in Darksiders is that hacking away at a bunch of enemies that pose no threat loses its bravado after the fourth wave, and the opening of the game is set up in a way you’d think the Zelda stuff was never going to come.

And then there are the bigger enemies, annoyances with loads of health, annoyances that don’t flinch, annoyances that have attacks aimed in such a way that if you don’t dodge at the exact right second in the exact right way you’ll be chewing on concrete in no time. Enemies come thick and fast as well, meaning encounters with multiple rubbish ones will happen, and whoever had the genius idea of putting the ‘enemy lock on’ on LB needs a slap and a firm talking to, before being executed for such a horrendous decision.

What about that bit that’s like Zelda then eh? Well littered around the disjointed world are important locations which play out like a typical Zelda dungeon, just with more hacking and slashing. Fortunately the puzzles are pretty good, with only some minor control explanation hiccups to be blamed for my ever-worsening hand cramps. Item use is explained and expanded on in fun ways whilst puzzles make you engage the grey matter for more than just ‘hit the five things in the right order’.

And then there’s the look of the game, it’s a pretty stunning art direction to stare at with bright colours and big chunky demons and angels, I heard it was designed by some comic book dude and it certainly shows, if indeed my informants are correct.

Joe Madureira is his name, drawing anatomically bulging people is his game.

Anyway, it’s fun enough to keep my attention so I’ll press on. Review soon.


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