The world of Darksiders is a world of Demons and Angels locked in an endless battle. You play the role of War, one of the four horseman of the apocalypse, tasked with bringing balance back to the war now being raged on earth. The story is not made especially clear in any way but since you're not on the side of good or evil, slaughtering whoever or whatever stands in your way is perfectly acceptable and encouraged behaviour.
The feeling from the gameplay is much closer to a darker Legend of Zelda rather than God of War as you might expect, but mostly because of pacing and structure rather than the combat. You'll be traveling through the linear storyline to different areas, enter a dungeon, acquire a new tool/weapon and then use that to defeat a boss. Even the items you get closely mimic the hook shot and boomerang and many more, there's even a few real surprises that you find throughout the game which I won't be ruining here. Whether you find this derivative or a homage, Darksiders pulls it off and makes these tools its own. The dungeons puzzles actually make up for a fairly large part of the game and range from insultingly easy to head-scratchingly tough. To begin with you'll be pushing a block around, later you'll be lighting torches, slowing time and quickly switching tools to get the job done.
Outside of the puzzle solving or trying to make heads or tails of the story you'll be getting your sword bloody in some combat and I'm happy to say that it works well, for the most part. Combat appears rather simple with lock on, dodging and a pair of attack buttons. Things gradually get more complicated and you'll quickly find every button on the controller being used in several ways with different combinations, it feels unnecessarily complicated but you will learn to master it before the game is through. Defeating foes (or furniture) earns you souls that can be used to unlock and upgrade even more moves should you fancy a few more combos to remember. The fights are generally satisfying and varied enough to prevent things feeling too repetitive and with a rather extensive attack selection you can attack the same creatures in different ways to find the most effective strategy. Much like God of War creatures can be finished off with a button press, fortunately this does not trigger a quick time event although unfortunately the resulting finisher is rarely as brutal or awe inspiring by GoW standards.
From start to finish without too much collecting Darksiders will run marginally over a dozen hours and apart from an hour or so of backtracking it doesn't feel overly drawn out. After completing the game you can go back to an earlier save and try to get more souls, level up your weapons or find Darksiders' equivalent of heart containers, but there's little incentive to do so. Once the game is complete there's no alternate routes to take on a second playthrough and no multiplayer. this is a traditional setup, you play through the game from start to finish and put it away.
There's a lot to like about Darksiders, if you can accept its lack of originality and options you'll find a game that does its job well and can offer a good full weekend of gameplay, but without much replayability it might be best left as a rental.
Originally posted to CitizenGame.co.uk on Feb 27, 2010