Darksiders (PS3)

Darksiders PS3 box
7 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Mechanics: 6/10
Story: 8/10

Graphics | Sound | Story

Ridiculously hard boss fights

Game Info

GAME NAME: Darksiders

DEVELOPER(S): Vigil Games


PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360, PC

GENRE(S): Hack and slash, action adventure

RELEASE DATE(S): January 5, 2010


 Darksiders, developed by Vigil Games and published by THQ, is yet another homage game. Nodding its head to both the Zelda and God of War franchises, Darksiders attempts to meld elements from both into something new and engaging. It took me a few hours to get over the whole “homage” aspect of the game, but when I did, I enjoyed it – at least until the boss fights, where I was consistently forced to look them up on the Internet to learn how overcome their gimmicky mechanics. I wanted to like this game, for a lot of reasons, but in the end, I just put it down and walked sadly away from both its strengths and its weakness.

Darskiders: War mounted

The concept of Darksiders is tied to its protagonist, War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It seems that the Devil, known as the Destroyer, somehow tricked War into breaking the Seven Seals, thus causing Armageddon. War is stripped of his power by the Charred Council (mysterious powers that maintain the balance between Heaven and Hell) and sent back to Earth to set things aright. The background story is good enough, but what struck me as it unfolded were the liberties that the game’s creator, Joe Madureira, took with the Armageddon mythology; unnecessary liberties, in my view. But aside from that, the story as a whole is a good one; both engaging and entertaining.

Darksiders: War with sword

The gameplay and mechanics are very close to the God of War paradigm. There are some minor differences that take a bit of getting used to, but nothing that major. One difference is the variety of additional weapons that War eventually comes to posses. Mid-way or so through the game, War has collected more weapons than can be easily mapped to the traditional controller, thus forcing your bumpers to act as weapon menu buttons. Variety is nice, but too many choices often result in being too much trouble to bother with. Which played poorly into the next difference – boss fights. Unlike God of War where you bash on a boss until you trigger a quick-time event, each boss in Darksiders is, itself, a puzzle. That means that each boss behaves in a set way until you figure out what triggers the next behavior. Couple that with too many weapons (i.e., a scythe, a gauntlet, a glaive, a gun, a chain grapple, and more magic attacks than you comfortably have buttons for) and what you get is a lesson in frustration every time you run into a boss. Or a mini-boss. I kept having to look up how to defeat each phase of each boss/mini-boss fight, and eventually, I just got tired of it. If you like boss fights that are puzzles, then this game is for you. If not, then you’re on your own.

The graphics and sound we both top-notch. Each area had its unique sound effects and background music that admirably set the tone. And the graphics – well they just kicked large amounts of ass. The art style is exactly what you’d find in a comic book and the whole game unfolds in that comic book style. I really liked Darksiders’ art style; it was literally an animated comic book delivered in high def. The little boy inside me squealed in delight at getting to play in this world – at least until the gimmicky boss fights; at which point my inner child just cried. Still, Darksiders’ sound and graphics are both solid features which make massively positive contributions to a game that struggles with its boss mechanics.

All told, I have mixed feelings about Darksiders. On the one hand the game looks and sounds great. On the other are some of the least enjoyable boss fights I have seen in quite a while. I don’t want to dismiss this game altogether, but at the same time, I don’t want to praise an obviously flawed game design (i.e., the boss fights). Instead, I think I’ll try to split the middle and hope Vigil pulls off an “Uncharted” like Naughty Dog did with Uncharted 2. It’s well documented that the first Uncharted had both serious flaws and serious potential. I think Darksiders falls into that same category. I hope that Vigil makes a sequel – and there is every indication that they will – but I also hope that they fix the boss fight mechanics and bring their franchise to a new, higher level of success. In the end, I give Darksiders 7 our of 10 and I’ll keep my fingers crossed until I play the sequel.


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Author: Michael Bartok View all posts by

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