|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|
World as We Know It
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
July 14, 2009 - Darksiders: Wrath of War is a game that takes place during the apocalypse. The world is ending, and angels and demons are duking it out in the streets over the fate of what's left of the world. However, there's just one problem: this apocalypse was never supposed to happen. When it is realized that it was never supposed to happen, everyone seems to be pointing the finger at War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and the only one to appear so far. Now War has to fend off some fairly upset angels and demons as well as find the being responsible for causing such a ruckus in order to restore his innocence.
Unfortunately, until War finds out who is behind this untimely apocalypse, he'll have to fight all manner of supernatural beings and with limited powers to boot. When you first start playing, War is in pretty sad shape after the majority of his powers have been striped from him by an inter-dimensional congress known as the Charred Council. As you progress through the game, however, your actions will be guided by a being known as The Watcher, who has been appointed to guide War's path to redemption. Although The Watcher can kill War at any time, he's more apt to helping guide your actions and to giving advice at pivotal points in the plot.
Once we got through the amazing back-story, we were finally able to get some hands-on time with Darksiders. The game plays a lot like God of War (for obvious reasons). The battle system works like your basic button-masher, with plenty of standard attacks as well as advanced-level combos and devastating finishing moves. These moves are controlled with a wrath meter that, once filled, will allow you to unleash some destructive and far-reaching attacks in accordance with War's current progress in the game.
Even though we spent some time playing with a powered-down version of War, I was surprised at how user-friendly the battle system was. As soon as you figure out some of the more simple combos, dispatching enemies is quite easy. We were also able to take a spin on War's horse, Ruin, and combat while saddled up is even more approachable. We were easily able to mow down enemies and run our swords along even the most daunting of foes.
However, we were assured by one of the developers that there will be more than just button-mashing and slashing in the gameplay. In addition to running through hordes of Angel and Demon enemies, you will also have to solve puzzles in dungeon-based settings. These puzzles can involve anything from manipulating the environment in order to open a door to complex boss battles that involve some sort of puzzling to complete. Although we weren't able to test out the puzzles for ourselves, it seems like a much-needed element to give players a reprieve from the constant button-mashing that playing this game is sure to entail.
Although the gameplay did seem a little too much like God of War (complete with the requisite QTEs), one area that really helps this game set itself apart is the visuals. The game's art style is phenomenal, and everything from the architecture to the enemy designs exudes a certain apocalyptic charm. Since the Human race is all but extinct, the remains of the Earth as we know it are presented in fantastic detail, and the layering of the ruins of human civilization with new Angelic and Demonic structures is quite striking.
Even more striking still are the combat animations, which will definitely fuel the most staunch gamer's lust for gore. War's sword is quite massive, and you will be able to see some very detailed kill animations that involve severed limbs (including Angel wings), broken bones, and plenty of lost heads. The kill animations in particular are especially gory, and the team behind the visuals certainly has the "shock" factor going for them in this respect.
Darksiders: Wrath of War looks like it is shaping up to be a very interesting title. Though the combat does seem like a run-of-the-mill God of War clone, the story, puzzle elements, and visuals should be enough to make this title unique among its peers. Darksiders: Wrath of War is currently slated to be released sometime early next year.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor