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Submitted by Chris Leyton on January 8 2010 - 14:17

THQ and Vigil Studios attempt at smashing God of War and The Legend of Zelda is a surprisingly engrossing romp...

Pros
  • Brutal, satisfying combat.
  • Inspired Zelda puzzles.
  • 15+ hours of content.
Cons
  • Combat relies on the same combos.
  • Needless padding towards the end.

For a game that exhibits no shame in parading its influences, Vigil Studios debut title Darksiders hits the mark with an engaging balance between hard-hitting action and taxing puzzles.  Originally touted as God of War meets The Legend of Zelda, Darksiders' illusions of grandeur would usually fly past unnoticed in the typical blast of hyperbole.  Strangely, in a nutshell that description absolutely fits.  A little more surprising is the fact that Darksiders actually lives up to the high expectations and quality of such influences and just about manages to forge its own identity.

The story revolves around War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse waiting for the destruction of the Seven Seals to signal the end of an uneasy truce between the kingdoms of Heaven and Hell.  When the signal arrives, War steps unaccompanied into action and mistakenly brings about the end of the world of Man.  Seeking revenge on those responsible for the deception and to restore his honour, War sets off to track down and take the hearts from the four members of the Chosen.

Each member of The Chosen is unsurprisingly a gigantic boss lurking at the heart of each of the game's four primary stages.  Based upon a careful balance of puzzles and platforms, Darksiders creates a strong sense of exploration through the multi-layered puzzles working together like cogs in a machine.  Armed with the knowledge that an item to assist further progress also lies at the heart of each stage, Darksiders draws upon the same qualities of the Zelda series with compelling and cunning design.  Admittedly it never really expands beyond Zelda's boomerang and grappling hook puzzles, but the vast majority (with the exception of stage three) are of a good enough standard to make trawling through the many floors an enjoyable and absorbing experience.  Just in case it needed a further classic to cite as an influence, later stages in the game even manage to draw inspiration from Valve's Portal to surprisingly good effect; you can imagine the pitch: "It's God of War meets Zelda meets Portal - what's not to love?"

Puzzles and exploration are complimented with fierce and ferocious combat that shares more in common with God of War.  Pace and fluidity underpin the combat system effectively, although the relative ease on the Normal difficulty setting is an issue that means the same basic combos are sufficient to get through the majority of the battles.  Despite the three primary weapons offering a fair selection of unlockable and upgradable moves, Darksiders' relative ease coupled with enemies that don't require individual strategies to overcome offers very little incentive to explore additional techniques.  The same can also be said about the small selection of Wrath abilities on offer; it seems War's brutal efficiency makes other techniques at his disposal virtually pointless.  Nevertheless with a protagonist like War, Vigil Studios has managed to keep the combat fresh with its powerful and dramatic nature, despite the fact it's little more than bashing a couple of buttons.  A fast and responsive auto-lock system again pays homage to Zelda, which effortlessly brings combat on a wide scale down to cinematic individual battles.  The God of War series has continuously managed to keep combat exhilarating and engrossing despite its hack n slash repetition.  Because of the difficulty issue Darksiders doesn't quite manage to reach such heights, but somehow still manages to make itself exciting despite the game's 15+ hours length. 
 
Vigil Studios approach also manages to keep things varied and interesting.  War's selection of weapons and moves expand with experience, providing a considerable amount of depth and variety despite the aforementioned issue.  Some of the guns War gets his hands upon take the game's pace to extreme levels, which provides an exciting change in the tempo of the action.  Sections that put War onto of his trusted steed, Ruin, also work well, particularly because of the strengths of the auto-aim system and also providing a much needed speedier form of transport, particularly when the game throws a little padding at you towards the end.  It's this change in pace that ensures the flow throughout Darksiders rarely becomes a chore, never becoming too slow and laboured with puzzles but at the same time never becoming excessively arduous by chucking too much action at you.  Vigil Studios have demonstarted a keen eye for what works and managed to gett he balance virtually spot on.
 
A final mention must also been made of Darksiders boss battles.  Again the influence comes largely from the Zelda series, embracing a circular arena style that forces you to adopt varying strategies with War's increasing arsenal of items.  Like much of Darksiders it's hard to get too excited by a good bit of design that the Zelda series has been employing for the past twenty years, but it's nice to know that a satisfyingly demanding battle awaits the end of each stage. 

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  • Graphics: 82%
     
  • Sound: 85%
     
  • Gameplay: 90%
     
  • Originality: 80%
     
  • Longevity: 84%
     
Overall Score: 8/10
Beyond Darksiders action aficionados also have SEGA's Bayonetta and EA's Dante's Inferno to look forward to at the start of 2010, however Vigil Studios and THQ title manages to stand on its own with an inspired blend of its influences. A surprisingly decent attempt despite its issues. We look forward to seeing what the reunited four horsemen can do in the inevitable sequel.

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Darksiders: Wrath of War

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User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 05th Feb 2010 17:34, Post No: 22

Help!

I am fairly new to gaming and

need to find out how to get rid of the

huge Demon.

In my game he is stuck up to his thighs in the street. The only thing I

can really do to him is throw cars at him.

There are no tall buildings. No electric lines nor

any pipe lines to climb to drop onto him or to

escape.

Any suggestions? I am really stuck here.

Does Darksiders have a guide book?

I did fine until this.

Thanks for any suggestions and

hope your gaming day is a good one!

amc3111


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 05th Feb 2010 17:34, Post No: 21

Help!

I am fairly new to gaming and

need to find out how to get rid of the

huge Demon.

In my game he is stuck up to his thighs in the street. The only thing I

can really do to him is throw cars at him.

There are no tall buildings. No electric lines nor

any pipe lines to climb to drop onto him or to

escape.

Any suggestions? I am really stuck here.

Does Darksiders have a guide book?

I did fine until this.

Thanks for any suggestions and

hope your gaming day is a good one!

amc3111


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 30th Jan 2010 05:02, Post No: 20

the 2nd one would be alot better if u could choose whatever horseman u wanted to be and they each had a different story line


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 27th Jan 2010 23:47, Post No: 19

Yea a sequel would for sure be amazing!!! I loved this game!! I'll be first in line to buy the second one.

 


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 25th Jan 2010 19:36, Post No: 18

Even if they didnt have a co-op system If they had a differnet stroy line for each of the horseman and you interact and join as a cameo apperance in the other ones.. would be nutty


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 23rd Jan 2010 17:01, Post No: 17

i just kicked the living [#@!?] out of this game I can't wait for the sequel. this game was bad ass!


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 23rd Jan 2010 03:38, Post No: 16

I just completed a normal play-through of this game and I am currently undergoing the apocalyptic difficulty. I have to say that this has to be one of the most satisfying brawlers i've played in a while. I'm fully anticipating the sequel to be like assassins creed two is with a much larger variety of weapons, armor, and storyline. I love this game and look forward to seeing its fan base grow.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 22nd Jan 2010 14:03, Post No: 15

Love the game..  it was awsome... can't wait for the sequel..


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 20th Jan 2010 22:00, Post No: 14

i am currently playing Darksiders and it's friking awesome so many secret spots and such also many puzzles that really reminds me of Legend of Zelda games such as (the hook shot and riding horses and mini bosses and big bosses and the god of war action like it's a bit air slashing and ground slashing and the grab abillity/dash evades/and ending move and 1 thing from world of warcraft that involves riding horses flying demons and also the character looks like a Blood Elf Paladin if you look closely


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 18th Jan 2010 05:55, Post No: 13

THIS GAME IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!


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