key review info
- Game: Darksiders
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Darksiders delighted PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 users at the beginning of the year with fun hack and slash gameplay combined with clever puzzles and a variety of different weapons.
Now, the game has arrived on the PC and its time to see if its console-specific gameplay has withstood the porting process and if it delivers an exciting experience.
The story is about one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, War, and how he was summoned to Earth to deliver justice onto the three Kingdoms, that of Heaven, Hell and of the humans, even though it wasn't his time.
As you can imagine, that posed a problem for the Supreme Council, the highest form of power in Darksiders' universe, so after the destruction was all said and done, they punished War by stripping him of his powers and sending him to find out why the signal for the Apocalypse was given in the first place.
While that may not sound pretty interesting, the story is actually extremely well balanced, even though its main protagonist isn't exactly the most easy going guy. Luckily, his lack of personality is made up for by his "watcher", a spirit voiced by none other than Mark Hamill, the man behind the voice of the Joker from the Batman animated series and video game.
The rest of the characters War meets in his journey are pretty well characterized, and you can see that some work has went into fleshing them out to keep the story interesting and, most importantly, relevant to the actions on screen. Throw in twists and turns, as well as some major reveals, and Darksiders is definitely top notch from a story standpoint.
To put it bluntly, Darksiders isn't the most original of titles, as it features elements from a variety of popular franchises including God of War, The Legend of Zelda, Portal and Batman: Arkham Asylum. While some accused its developer, Vigil Games, of downright stealing from the aforementioned titles, the studio actually combined all these things into one cohesive experience.
The fighting takes cues from God of War and Devil May Cry, the puzzle solving from Zelda or Portal while the environment interactions and changes remind of Arkham Asylum, but all of these were great titles, and Darksiders made a good move by following them.
It's one thing to downright steal things and copy paste them into your own work, but Vigil really made Darksiders its own when it carefully combined these things and made them work together for a better experience.
That doesn't make it perfect though, as the game has quite a few faults. First off, War isn't exactly the most agile of protagonists, so when he's forced to executive complicated acrobatic moves or time his jumps to the millimeter, things often go wrong.
We should also mention the puzzles. While some are pretty simple and rewarding when you figure them out, others, specifically ones toward the end of the game, are extremely complicated and will certainly make some players quit the game entirely. Throw in the multiple new weapons and equipment War gets throughout the game, including an extending whip, a Portal-like gun or a crossblade, all that need to be used during such puzzles, and a migraine is almost guaranteed.
Darksiders also follows some classic adventure game tropes, including forcing you to backtrack through different environments to hunt out special items, with such a quest being given right before the final boss fight. While the world is varied enough to still be interesting, such quests just artificially extend the play time, and will definitely bore a lot of players.
The PC version of Darksiders is a pretty good port of the console edition, but, sadly, has quite a lot of bugs, especially towards the end, with crashes and freezes right in the heat of combat. As such, maybe it should have gotten a bit more quality assurance testing before it was released.
The mouse and keyboard control scheme is also a bit weird sometimes, when it asks you to push multiple keys at the same time, but, in the end, it takes care of the job and allows War to survive his endless battles and puzzles through the game world. Still, a PC controller might be better suited for the game, but only if you get it working.
Graphics and Audio
Unlike many games that are currently being released, Darksiders actually uses a full color palette, not limiting itself to gray and brown, with the occasional red blood. Fighting is beautifully done, and the enemies are varied enough to keep things interesting. You will witness different colors one after another, eventually culminating with the enemy's red blood and the eventual blue (money), yellow (rage) or green orbs (health) earned by killing him.
The world is also extremely varied, going from desolate cities to deserts, underground tunnels, water lagoons or even cemeteries, each with its own feel and interconnected by the whole game.
The audio is pretty well done, with orchestral scores highlighting the intense battles and slower ones during exploring sections. The voice work is top notch, and even though War's voice is a bit lacking in personality, Hamill and other characters more than make up for it.
Overall, Darksiders for the PC is a very good game, even if it has quite a few bugs and might crash from time to time. It is an adequate hack and slash for the PC, which definitely needs to be congratulated for the courage it showed in order to appear on this platform.
The adventures of War are quite exciting and the world of Darksiders is a nice one to find yourself immersed in.