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By Thomas McKinnon 26 January 2010

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Yes, it’s another game set on a post-apocalyptic planet earth, but Darksiders has a few twists in the story that keep you locked in for the 13+ hours of gameplay.

The first major difference you’ll notice is that you actually get to be part of the “End War” as War, the first Horseman of the Apocalypse who is duped into prematurely starting the whole thing. Disgraced and stripped of his power, War returns to earth a century later to sort out the forces of heaven and hell and punish those responsible for deceiving him.

Paradox

At the centre of Darksiders lies a contradiction. The story isn’t adapted directly from a comic, a movie or a book. Instead, it was written exclusively for the game by the guys at Vigil Games, directed by comic book artist Joe Madureira. Conversely, there is very little that’s original about the gameplay, with Darksiders borrowing elements rather liberally from games like Zelda, Devil May Cry and God of War.

Gameplay

In typical third person action-adventure style the game focuses on three activities, namely combat, puzzles and exploration.

Combat can be a hack-and-slash affair that consists of using basic combo moves to stun enemies with War’s colossal sword, Chaoseater, and an end move to deal a gruesome fatal blow. As you move through the game though, you need to get to grips with special moves, tactical movements and the use of secondary weapons to beat more challenging foes. You literally use every button on the controller at times – with some of the buttons serving multiple functions.

The game’s puzzles are similarly simple to complete in the beginning, but ramp up in difficulty as you progress. While never impossible, you will need to use your brain a little to spot the trick necessary to unlock the puzzles.

The exploration facet of Darksiders is equally good, as you always have items to find and souls to collect that boost your health, wrath or currency. You can use the currency to upgrade your weapons and abilities or to buy information at various locations in game, while wrath allows you to use various special moves.

Attention to detail

The environments are insanely detailed, are all unique and set the tone for the game beautifully. The character models are as detailed and grab you from the first. The voice acting is also impressive, pulling you into the story without over feeding you.

The only thing that lets the presentation down is the background music, which is entirely forgettable, doing no more than an adequate job of altering the mood of the game when necessary. That aside, the game simply oozes polish. 

Verdict

The unique plot, stitched together from myth, legend and biblical dogma, and the less than unique gameplay combine to make this one of the most impressive action-adventures we’ve played.

PROS
The character models and environments look amazing. Gameplay is solid and satisfying.
CONS
Background music is annoying.
USER COMMENTS

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