Darksiders was a franchise that has always been on my radar, particularly the first game which received glowing reviews when it released back in 2010, but one that I never truly got around to playing.
Having conquered the Dark Souls franchise, Bloodborne, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, God of War and many more action RPG’s since then, in what I now deem my “action-RPG awakening”, I was more than happy to head into the world of Darksiders with the Warmastered Edition to see what it had to offer.
What I received was a well-crafted adventure that is packed with content (about 15 hours or so), and although there are one or two signs of age (which I actually enjoyed), for the current price of R329 on the PlayStation Store, this game is incredibly worth the price.
Darksiders‘ story puts you in the shoes of War who, for some reason is the only member of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that was awoken during the start of the final war between the three nations; humans, heaven and hell.
The four horsemen work for an independent group, “The Charred Council”, who are meant to maintain a balance between the three kingdoms and prevent such a war from happening – a job they clearly didn’t do too well. After War lands on earth to see heaven and hell battling it out, he soon finds out his fellow brethren have not been summoned to join him, and quickly gets blamed by the Council for the war breaking out.
Trying to prove his innocence, War manages to get a bargain to send him back to earth, on the conditions that he loses his power, and one of their servants gets bound to him for his adventure. This servant, for the keen of ear, happens to be none other than Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker; The Joker), who puts on a very “Joker-esque” performance for fans of the animated Batman series and Rocksteady games.
This is the basic premise for the game which, for the most part, runs in a fairly linear fashion, which is one of the signs of age I was talking about. Once finished with an area, there is almost always a small cut scene to show the area behind you being sealed up, which nowadays will have most people sighing at what is now a common gimmick, but actually had me smiling at the slightly old style of gameplay.
What doesn’t get old is the combat system, which has you, as War, wielding not only his mighty sword, Chaoseater, but also an almost alarming array of other weapons and moves, all of which can be used to hack, slash and cleave your enemies in twain in a variety of meaty-feeling combos that pleased me immensely.
This game is no joke though, as you will quickly learn to master dodging and blocking in order to not get blasted by the bigger enemies, and the enemy design changes often enough that you will always be on your toes. Although not as hard as Dark Souls, there is definitely a challenge here for those that want it, and the boss fights will have you thinking quick on your feet.
The graphics update and remastering has been done with love and care with the end result that the title, to me, did not really feel like an old game thanks to its slightly comic-look, similar to that of Saints Row. The game, for the most part, runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, although there were one or two instances, especially in some of the later bosses, where you could feel this take a hit. I suspect an incoming patch will no doubt fix these problems.
The level design, like most classic action RPG’s, will have you doing puzzles and various challenges in order to get through the level, and although challenging, for the most part they are easy enough to solve once you understand the developers methods.
If I was to nag I would say, despite a stellar voice cast for the game, the dubbing itself can be extremely weak at times, which can take away from the experience a bit, as the voicing was up to a second out at times in my playthrough of the game. The sound design, other than the bad budding at times, is excellent, and the soundtrack fits in nicely with the action happening around you.
Despite a few minor issues, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is a fine game that still stands up on its own in this day and age, and at R329, you simply can’t pass up this deal as an action-RPG fan.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.