davebefree's Darksiders (PlayStation 3) review

DaveBeFree's Darksiders Review

Do you like video games?  Namely Zelda and Devil May Cry?  Do you like comic books?  These are the questions you need to ask yourself when considering Darksiders.  It may seem unfair to precede a new IP with such grandiose comparisons, but Darksiders mostly brings this level of scrutiny on itself.  Few games so clearly plagiarize classics of video games as does Darksiders, with the result being an almost catalog of games from the past.  Unfortunately, Darksiders greatest success is proving just how masterful and creative those games were originally, in unfortunate contrast to this multitasking doppelganger.

Darksiders drops you straight into the end of days as War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Although at first the plot seems particularly novel, especially when placed against the decidedly bland video game landscape, it quickly turns into a convoluted mess.  The dialog is fun, and well done, but the meaning behind the words will go over your head so often that it simply becomes necessary to accept whatever is said, even if it makes absolutely no sense.  What's more the characters you interact with in the game are incredibly memorable, but there simply aren't enough of them.  Samael may be one of my favorite characters in the history of gaming, as he is particularly twisted and menacing, but the fact that he is practically the only person you interact with for half of the game diminishes from the overall felling of immersion.  

So what are you doing in between talking to people and advancing the plot? Cutting stuff and solving puzzles.  In a lot of ways the gameplay of Darksiders feels exactly like Zelda with mature themed combat.  When fighting you can throw out simple combos with your sword, use magic abilities, or use your ultimate meter to turn into a big fiery demon, all while being soaked in gallons and gallons of demon blood.  It's a good mix, but it never approaches the quality of a Devil May Cry, or a God of War, and by the end you may be a little fatigued on it all.  Thankfully, you will spend most of your time solving puzzles, unceremoniously ripped from other games.  You'll have a hook shot to cross chasms, a shuriken to hit switches, and a gun to... well... shoot stuff.  Again, the puzzles have a life and aesthetic of their own, but they never fully shake the feeling of deja vu.

The game also has some exploration and progression elements tacked on, neither of which are truly engaging.  You can upgrade your health, find more magic meter, learn new combos, etc., but War is already so powerful (even on the hardest difficulty) that none of it is really necessary.  This review may sound melancholy, but that's because it is.  I really wanted to love Darksiders, and I had a few moments of true exhilaration over my 15 hour or so experience.  To a degree, I find it a very daring game, as it attempts to reminisce and honor some of the most memorable experiences in gaming history.  However, it succeeds more in feeding your nostalgia and longing for those classics, then it does in creating it's own legacy or unique experience.  As a result you'll probably return to the franchises it is based on more eagerly, making Darksiders a forgettable (albeit enjoyable) gaming diversion. 
 
DaveBeFree

9 Comments
Edited by Seppli

Reviewed side by side - Darksiders would beat any Zelda game in most disciplines.
 
By the way. Did you do any exploration and backtracking for loot? I was literally surprised at how good that stuff is. There's real surprises. Eloaborately hidden treasure. And extra special fun on top of that.
 
I agree with your score, but I believe it should be the other way around. Darksiders is the 5/5 star game and Zelda is the 4/5 star game. Darksiders feels fresh to me, whereas Zelda got really, really old.

Posted by natetodamax

I was thinking about getting this until I answered No to the 3 questions at the beginning of this review

Posted by Vision

I'd say it's more towards God of War than Devil May Cry. 

Posted by sandwich_adjustment

it seems your 4/5 star score does not match up with your written review.

Edited by Dudacles
@sandwich_adjustment said:

" it seems your 4/5 star score does not match up with your written review. "

I agree. The meaning of a review score will be subject to endless debate, but to me, four stars means that the game is pretty good. Your review text seems rather negative. Calling the game a "multitasking doppelganger", or "forgettable". These are not words I associate with good games.
 
It is, however, a pretty informative review. After reading it, I'm not so sure that I ought to put down 60 euros for this anymore. I guess I'll just get something else (plenty of games to buy at the moment) and wait for Darksiders to drop in price.
Posted by Ujio

I plan on renting this game. I've heard good things about it. This is the only review I've read that wasn't impressed by the game. But I have to agree with the others about your rating: 4/5 is a solid game, but the way you've written your review seems to outright contradict this score as dudacles duly noted in his comment.

Posted by Sliqcore

Called it 4/5 but a shitty game in the review?  (It's closer to 5/5 BTW)  
 
I have been in gaming long enough to have played every game that was the first to use any element seen in Darksiders and I can't say I appreciated any of the originals as much as I did this game. I can't say Zelda comes to mind at all except for having similar tools and basic platforming puzzles. Was Zelda really the only game to have a boomerang, floor plates or a grappling hook? C'mon.. If any other game had ever blended all of the themes I love about my games as well as Darksiders I wouldn't have been so eagerly looking for that next new IP to arrive and blow me away. Well guess what? It's here and it has.  

Posted by Sdoots

The score doesn't match with your review at all. You put across this message of the game being a clusterfuck of aspects from other games that manages to fall flat in every area, but then you give it a great score. So, the game isn't that special, but it's also fucking awesome and I should buy it? Because that's the message this review gave me. Aside from that, the review itself is, for the most part, well written, although I had to reread a few sentences to make sure I was understanding what you were saying. Good review, but that inconsistency with the score and the review itself is nuts.

Posted by EpicSteve

Can I recommend you re-word your first few statements? I suggest you take the "do you like videogames" question out.

Other reviews for Darksiders (PlayStation 3)

    Darksiders 0

     If you've heard anything at all about Darksiders, it probably involved its similarities to other video games. It's a bit lazy to rely on comparisons to other titles to describe a game, but in Darksiders' case it would be disingenuous not to mention it. So let's just throw it all out there. The overall game structure and use of puzzle-filled enclosed areas are reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda series and its temples. The platforming elements seem most directly taken from God of War, and the...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    Fight Like a God, Explore Like a Boy. 0

    Though its intro sequence is the biblical apocalypse, Darksiders doesn't make a good first impression; the beginning areas of the game don't differ much from the standard God of War levels, the combat feels much too simple, there's all of one combo to dispatch enemies, and the story sounds like something a fourteen-year-old has been kicking around in his head until he had the chance to apply it to some form of media. The character models look nice and stylized, but look a bit too much like Warcr...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.