wess's Darksiders (Xbox 360) review

Ready your boomerang, hookshot, and portal gun for a good time.

Vigil Games' Darksiders is a game that takes a whole lot of inspiration from some of gaming's greatest: The Legend of Zelda, God of War, and even Portal.  It does this without apology, and really doesn't do a single thing to hide the fact that it totally took the idea right out of other games.  In fact, it feels almost like the developers are staring back at you from your TV and saying "Yeah, so?  Why wouldn't we use all these ideas?", and after thinking about it, I see no reason why they shouldn't - because I love all those games, and Darksiders is solid enough to stand on its own.
I think it is safe to say that Darksiders most heavily borrows from the Legend of Zelda franchise.  That is, you roam the various areas of the world collecting new equipment and upgrades that allow you to reach new areas, most notably the "temple" like areas where you find keys, and always a new item that you will inevitably use on the next boss.  You'll also find a map for these areas and another familiar item relabeled the "Hoardseeker".  I'll let you guess what that does.  You increase your overall life by finding 4 "Lifestone shards", and by beating a boss, and you totally get a horse to romp around on.  The biggest difference between Darksiders and Zelda is the combat, and that's where God of War comes in.  You have a small list of combos you can use, including aerial attacks and the like, and when an enemy gets beat down enough you press a button to finish them in a brutal way.  You also have the ability to assume Chaos Form when you kill enough dudes, transforming you into a huge invincible monster to destroy everything for about 20 seconds.
So, like I said, a lot of similarities.  However, Darksiders still manages to be its own entity, without only being fun because of borrowed mechanics (although they certainly help).  The story of War is not the greatest bit of storytelling you'll find, but it has enough pace and character to it to keep you interested throughout your time invested.  Speaking of which, the game took me about 18 hours, and that was with finding most everything there is to find.  To me, that length felt perfect, with the right proportions of item hunting to dungeon crawling to story telling.  The story is based on War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and his search for answers and revenge when he is blamed for the beginning of the end of the world.  Thankfully, Darksiders didn't expect that I knew anything about the Book of Revelation, and explained what little you needed to know in order to sort of understand what's going on.  Apparently, however, if my knowledge of the Bible was greater I could have predicted what came to me as the "twist" of the game pretty easily, but I guess that just makes it better for me that I was totally ignorant.
For me, this is a game that is hard to find things to complain about, even though not a whole lot about the game was exemplary.  There were some minor weird technical issues, but certainly nothing crippling.  Really what Darksiders does is take a bunch of familiar concepts and sort of mix it up, and present it in a slightly fresh way.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Darksiders, and would encourage anyone with a love for Zelda games or God of War games (provided that you don't have a strong hatred for either) to see this adventure to the end.

2 Comments Refresh
Posted by MajorMitch

Hey, Mr. Former English Major. "alot" is two words, not one. Get it straight, son.

Posted by Wess

Argh, foiled again!

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