The lights are on
Darksiders has been constantly referred to as a mix of God of War and Legend of Zelda. That mix isn't quite equal: it's more 60% God of War and 40% Zelda. Players take on the role of War, one of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. After a short introduction sequence taking place in the present day, War must defend himself against the judges of the universe for accusations of starting the apocalypse early.War is allowed to go free, his powers dampened by "The Watcher" now bound to his body, in order to find the demon who called War to Earth before his time. The rest of the game takes place a hundred years later, after all humans are dead, and many are zombified.
War is thrust into a world of open areas connected by slim passageways, most of which are ruins from our time, and most of which are cut off from him at first. To enter the tower where War's prime suspect lies, War is sent on a fetch quest to gather the hearts of 4 great demons.
The combat is similar to that of most modern beat-em-ups, like God of War and Devil May Cry. War has his trusty sword Chaoseater on hand at all times, and is usually accompanied by a second weapon such as a wide, slow scythe or quick, powerful gauntlets, and a third projectile weapon. Each weapon is assigned to a single button for attacks, leading to their own combos, and have different attacks based on button timing, whether War is in the air or on the ground, or the player can press R1 to use some special attacks.
Throughout the game War can equip each of his melee weapons with a single upgrade that can be switched out and can buy special weapon attacks and Wrath spells from the game's single merchant. War can also purchase consumable items to keep him alive and his enemies dead. All purchases are made using souls gathered from destroyed environments, blue chests, slain enemies, and by trading in limited Artefacts hidden in the world.
Along with the Artefacts, also scattered in chests are Lifestones and Wrath Shards, which War can find to increase his life and mana pool, Wrath. Ten pieces of Abyssal Armor are also waiting to be found, though they are general harder to find, and grant War greater defense.
As War fights through the areas, along a linear path, he eventually finds the Zelda-inspired sections, the dungeons where the great demons preside. These dungeons are not quite so linear, and are usually filled with light puzzles such as pushing boxes, finding keys, and throwing bombs. Like in the Zelda series, each dungeon has a piece of equipment for War to find, such as the "Crossblade" boomerang for hitting far objects and stunning enemies, and the Abyssal Chain for swinging across gaps. Each one of these items opens up more of the world for War to explore, leading to the next dungeon.
The puzzles themselves are often tedious, requiring War to wait for something to happen like a bridge to turn or running back to pull a switch several times. Even knowing what to do it can take several minutes to finish a puzzle because setting everything up takes time. Worse, the dungeons usually run out of new things to throw at you about 3/4 through them and fill any new rooms with the same few enemies.
The battles themselves are hard and tiring, even on Normal difficulty. The smaller enemies are nuisances but are often coupled with a larger enemy that can take chunks of War's health away at a time. It is not uncommon for the player to be left on his last leg after a battle if he doesn't actively dodge the larger enemies' attacks.
The bosses, though few, are gems. Unlike the previously mentioned God of War and Devil May Cry series, which require players to simply avoid the boss' attacks and hit back, Darksiders' bosses require a little more strategy. One early boss requires you to throw bombs at her for the first segment, and then find a way to set them on fire, so you can ground the boss, and another has War needing to clear a path of debris so he can shove a train's lower half into the boss' gut. The bosses are tough as well, and even being careful can fail with their aggressive tactics. Having consumables on hand isn't a requirement, but without them War has to throw everything he has to survive.
Darksiders is a blast, even if it does drag on at points (one segment is a 7-minute long on-rails shooter, in which there is a trophy for getting a very large number of kills and likely requires more than one try). The game sometimes unexpectedly throws you into a boss battle or segment in which it's possible to miss items and trophies permanently, and that can be a problem for some. The dungeons are well made and the battles are tough and enjoyable...but for both that only stands true for the majority of the game. With its linear nature and lack of NG+, Darksiders has only moderate replay value. It's "puzzle solved" jingle is charm, though.
Check this game out if you can.
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