Darksiders 1 was originally released in January 2010 on PS3 and Xbox 360, it was then released on PC later the same year in September. Due to the game’s popularity from the previous generations, the game also got remastered onto PS4 and XboxOne late in November 2016. A version for the WiiU was also released in May 2017 just in case someone still played that console.
Owners of the original game on PC got the remastered version for free, whilst console players had to purchase their upgraded copy. The first Darksiders received positive reviews and to this date, the game has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. I had only previously played the original game for around two hours, so this was my first proper playthrough with the remastered version.
For some reason, I found the story for Darksiders to be very bland. The best way to explain it is probably just ‘meh’. The main character, War, didn’t give me any sort of feelings that would make me care about him or his situation. The game is set in present day, but a war between the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell has been waging since the beginning of time. The game starts at what appears to be the final battle between the two armies. War is accused of inciting this battle between the two armies. Whilst this battle takes place, a demonic host intervenes and defeats the two armies and takes claim of Earth.
War is then presented to The Charred Council and is stripped of all of his powers and faces death as punishment. It is then that War is given the opportunity to return to Earth to prove his innocence and bring those responsible for the war ending to justice. The premise of the story is fine. Heaven Vs Hell with demons. Sounds interesting to me, but for some reason I just couldn’t get myself engrossed in the story as much as I’d liked.
The story is progressed through short cut scenes at the end and beginning of levels, along with maybe an NPC discussion part way through a stage. You can’t find any further story from exploring and finding books, or notes which would have added to the backstory for those interested.
Even though the original version of Darksiders visually looked fine on PC even for it’s age. The Warmaster edition really brings it to current day standards. With high resolution textures, smoother animations and impressive special effects and lighting on show.
It may not have the realistic art style that you would expect from a game in this genre, but the almost cartoonish art style is really pleasing to play with. War, and all of the characters have a good design, with some well known actors voicing them too. Troy Baker, and Mark Hamill both make appearances throughout the game and are played very well.
Technically the remaster was completely fine too. Most of the time I had an uncapped framerate that was more often than not hitting 120 fps at times. I also didn’t have any issues with tearing or clipping either.
The best way to describe the gameplay in Darksiders for someone who’s never played it before, is that it’s basically a more darker version of Zelda. Now, having never played a Zelda game before this comparison didn’t mean much for me, but I got the jist of it.
The game is a single player linear hack and slack with puzzles dashed in here and there, and smidgen of platforming too. Much like the story mode, I felt very ‘meh’y with the gameplay. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly exciting me and making me want to play more of it. It felt very bland and plain. The combat is easy to use, with a few simple combos for you to learn, you will soon be able to master most regular foes that are thrown at you. At the start of the game you have access to one sword, this will be your main weapon, but throughout the story you will unlock and find more weapons. These weapons have their own uses apart from being used in combat, such as using the electric fist weapons to destroy frozen icicles in your way. These side weapons can be upgraded in the same way your main weapon can, by using the souls you collect off fallen enemies as currency to purchase upgrades and new combos to use. All three weapons use the same combinations of buttons to pull of the same style attack. This felt very lazy and again didn’t help with the repetitive nature of the gameplay. It would have been nice to see a lot more variety with the attacks with very different styles of weapons.
The best part about the gameplay is the boss fights. Each zone tends to end with a boss, and as you’d expect, the bosses are harder and have their own unique set of abilities and fighting style. This did add some variety into the otherwise mundane hacking and slashing. Most boss fights require you to do something out of the ordinary to take them down.
The whole game took me around 16 hours to complete. That was definitely 8 hours too many for me if I am honest. By the time I had reached the last third of the game I was ready for it to be over because I wasn’t seeing anything new, and much of the content felt repetitive from that point on.
I also found the game particularly challenging to control. I started off using the Xbox controller, but when it came to situations where I was having to aim with ranged weapons, I absolutely had to make the switch to using the keyboard and mouse. Sadly you can’t just swap on the fly. I had to save, close the game and reopen it if I wanted to swap my control method. Also around 50% through the game I tried playing with the Steam controller with my Steam Link. This was a little better with the aiming, but ultimately I ended up going back to the Xbox controller and battling through solely using that till the end.
If it weren’t for these controller issues, I’d say Darksiders would have been a perfect introduction to the action adventure genre, but they hold it back for only those with advanced skills. The tutorial system in game is OK. There isn’t any need for an extremely in depth tutorial as the basics of the gameplay is simple though
Overall I had an average time playing Darksiders. It’s not the worst game out there, but it is certainly not the best. It doesn’t do much wrong, but I just couldn’t enjoy myself playing it. The control problems had a lot to do with it, but I also need an interesting story to get engrossed in if I am going to enjoy an adventure game like this. The actual remastering of the game is top notch though. It looks great, sounds great and has no performance problems what so ever. I’d only recommend playing it if you have it on PC already, and got the remastered edition’s free upgrade. If you have a console, and would have to purchase it separately. I’d say spend your time and money else where on the newer games in this genre instead, as you aren’t missing a ton of original content.