|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vigil Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.5, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
If ever a game could be called a love letter to a bygone era, it's Darksiders. This game features more homage to past games in the action/adventure genre than I could count on both hands. The game's strongest point is that the developers knew just the right games to cherry pick ideas from, but it's also its biggest weakness. It seems they got a little too carried away, and the game doesn't present enough ideas of its own. What results is a game that is extremely high in quality but somewhat low on personality.
The only identifiably new thing that Darksiders brings to the table is its wonderful art style created by well-known comic artist Joe Madureira, who spent time drawing for Uncanny X-men and is famous for his exaggerated feminine and masculine characters. "Joe Mad" has created a truly unique aesthetic for Darksiders, and the overall package is massively uplifted by the art style employed.
Everything from the creative monsters to the, oftentimes, gigantic bosses is fantastic and gorgeous. While Darksiders doesn't shimmer with the high quality graphics most often found in high-profile triple-A releases, the stylized look puts it on par with most of those games, nevertheless. It won't make your jaw drop with Uncharted 2 levels of detail and polish, but you'll still be enamored with the interesting world that's been created here.
The game takes place during a time when the apocalypse has been prematurely unleashed, and the blame has been placed squarely on the shoulders of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War; our main character and protagonist. While the battle between Heaven and Hell rages, War serves neither camp. Rather, he is a warrior that serves the balance between these forces and keeps the peace. At the start of the game, War has been framed, and to find answers and seek revenge, he sets out to clear his name.
The concept for the story isn't entirely original, but it's relatively untrodden territory for video gaming, and you certainly won't be feeling any déjà vu. Darksiders' only problem in terms of story is that it has a tendency to leave it out. There are giant swathes of time during which the story is barely even mentioned, or mentioned only in passing. For a game that starts out with so much focus on concept and narrative, it becomes odd that the player can often be prone to forgetting characters entirely, or losing track of certain motives.
The aesthetic and story are just about where it ends for Darksiders in terms of what you can expect to be surprised by. What plays out beyond that is a mix of Zelda, God of War, and Legacy of Kain. You may be thinking this sounds like the recipe for the ultimate game of all time. How could a game like this not be awesome?
In a lot of ways, that's exactly the case. At first, the game will seem like a straight God of War clone, with levels being mostly linear and easy with a heavy emphasis on swordplay and some platforming. But, before you know it, the game quickly hits you with some pretty serious dungeons. While there's never anything that approaches the complexity of a Zelda dungeon, they will certainly surprise you and take you off guard if you're not paying close attention.