Face the Wrath of War
I've been taking a keen interest in Darksiders since I first heard murmers of a game featuring one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Revelations is probably the only part of the Bible I find remotely interesting and this fresh take on that material is always welcome (Some might say I have a love of Apocalyptic Games, but hey...)
Darksiders is a Third Person Action Adventure game. It borrows alot from many different games, it has the overall structure of Assassins Creed, since you have all your powers at the start then lose them and seek to regain them, apparently the combat is remenicent of God of War, it has Zelda like Adventure/Puzzle qualities....and finally, it borrows from a Valve game that promises desert at the end...
You play War, one of the Horseman....and well seems you went off a bit half-cocked and came to early to the Apocalypse Party, and thus the Charred Council who maintain balance between the Three Kingdoms (Man, Heaven and Hell) blame it all on you and take you out of action for a century. They summon you and charge you with finding out what the hell went on...but not without a leash, in the form of a Watcher (voiced by the Joker.) So off you set on your quests.
The graphics here are really influenced byt the Comic origins of one of its creators, Joe Madureia, in that the characters are not realistic but have that coimc feel to them of oversized swords and armour etc. Also, the colour in this is amazing...it is bright, vibrant and varied for a game that takes place during the Apocalypse and its aftermath. It really suits the character and feel of the game, once again showing its Comic origins. The game engine is fantastic, I only experienced minor slow-down in one or two places...and never really noticed any tearing as alot of people have complained about, perhaps because I was too busy focused on the flurry of combat on the screen.
The sound of Darksiders is really solid as well, the voice of War is suitably deep, vengeful and filled with malice; The Watcher is suitably scheming, kniving and shady....Mark Hamil does great evil characters (Sometimes he does slip into the Joker a bit...but its not as bad as some have said.) The combat sounds are chunky and force behind them, and the music is that Epic Chant/End of Days type as well that suits the setting to a tee.
Gameplay, this is where I feel Darksiders shines the most. They did a really dangerous thing by taking so many different elements from other games and putting them all together...but they also pulled off the rarest of achievements: The made it all work, and fit together seemlessly. The combat is fun and it flows, the controls are not overly complicated either making combos easy to pull off. The puzzles can be a bit frustrating and annoying at times, but if you get stuck...put the controller down, walk away and come back refreshed. 9 out of 10 times you'll come back and solve it first time. That being said, some of them you need to concentrate on and be wary of your surroundings. There is alot to collect in this game, and like Assassins Creed II; It all has a purpose. There are 6 pieces of Gear and 3 weapons that you will recieve throughout the game no matter what...the gear is esstential for solving puzzles, and the weapons are varied, but do much the same thing. Then you have Life Stones, 4 Shards = 1 Life Stone (Zelda Heart), Wrath Core's for Special Abilities, Artifcats that can be traded for Souls that will then be traded for moves etc...everything has a purpose and a use, so you will not have stuff lying around you will not use (There is also an Abyssal Armour set that makes War nigh on impossible to kill...unless its a really massive Boss)
As I said, the gameplay could've easily come out a mess and been sloppy all over. It didnt, and that comes down to the Dev Team focusing on the single player campaign and making the game they wanted to make, not the game other people might have wanted. This has resulted in a level of polish that you rarely see these days and has given us a game that is rock solid and even though it was release 7 days into the New Year....its a contender for being in most Top 10 Gaming Lists at the end of this year.
Darksiders is a rock solid gaming experience that shows new IPs can be successful and well made in this day and age, using tried and tested gameplay mechanics that have been with us for years and putting a new spin on them. I recommend that everyone try this game, I have no doubt you will find it fun.