In 2010, THQ released four horseman based action adventure title; Darksiders. It was fairly well received and developed a fairly large following. It was noted for its combat, puzzle solving, excellent voice acting and interesting world. Since we seem to be living in the time of remakes, and following in the footsteps of its sequel, Darksiders has made an upgraded return to current gen consoles under the new THQ Nordic banner. So is the shine still on the apple? Well it is, but it’s not that much shinier.
Darksiders tells the story of the first horseman of the apocalypse; War. It follows his journey to find the truth after the war of the three realms began too early thus killing all of humanity. The game is full of interesting characters, from the cold and stoic war played by Liam O’Brien, to the arrogant and sadistic Watcher played by the great Mark Hammil, to the plotting Samael played by Vernon Wells. The cast excellently performs their roles as angels, demons and something in between.
The story itself is well done and correctly paced. It is neither too long nor too short, sitting just about right in terms of length. While there are certainly a few cliché pieces in the story it will likely keep you engrossed throughout the entire experience.
The best way to describe the gameplay experience of Darksiders is to say it is a mix of God of War, Devil May Cry, and The Legend of Zelda. The game takes the difficulty of God of War, so more challenging than the usual action adventure but not Dark Souls abusive. It inherits DMC’s combo system and variety in weapons and abilities. Finally The Legend of Zelda’s puzzles clearly inspired the game.
The game still feels as good as it did when it first released. Combat is challenging but not overtly so, the combat is fun and visceral, and the enemies come in great variety. The only complaint would be the rather simple combo system. Most weapons only have a few combos if any at all. This means you will often find yourself using the same attack patterns over and over to get the job done; luckily enough though the combat is enjoyable enough to forget that at times. The game offers a few weapons for War to brutalize enemy with including a giant sword, a scythe, a four barreled pistol, and a few others. Most of the weapons have a purpose specifically when dealing with certain objects in the environment. This adds a nice little reason to go back and find collectibles you previously couldn’t get to, this almost metro-vania like feature is a nice addition and really helps extend the gameplay. When it comes to gameplay experience this port didn’t miss a beat.
Now coming to what was actually made different in the remaster: the visuals. The new warmastered edition is running 60fps in 1080p. This is a welcome change but one that isn’t all that noticeable. The game is still visually appealing for a six year old game. However there are still a few bugs that have come along with the port. Some cutscenes are a few seconds behind due to the 60fps which becomes increasingly noticeable the longer the scene. The camera itself is a little wonky, sometimes getting stuck on random objects or not locking on properly. Most of the problems are small and are being patched however these really seem like things that shouldn’t have been problems to begin with.
When it comes to Darksiders: Warmastered Edition it is still just as great of a game as it was six years ago. The story and lore is interesting, the acting is excellent, gameplay is fun and fluid, and the experience is overall enjoyable. However this brings me to my biggest gripe with this remaster; there really isn’t much different. If you played the original and liked it but not enough to give it another look you’ll probably want to pass on this. If you weren’t interested in it before you won’t be now.
The only reason to really buy this game is if you REALLY loved the original and want another ride along with War, or if you never played it and the premise sounds interesting to you.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition brings back many fond memories and hopes for a third installment, however it doesn’t change enough to bring in the hardcore again, only those who may have missed it the first time around.