They really aren’t anything special, technically speaking, but they have a very strong artistic design that makes them fun to look at. The game is set on Earth, after the apocalypse, and, as such, the ruined environments are interesting. The enemies are also well designed, and have a lot of different looks to them. The combat also looks very good, with huge sweeping strikes from War’s blade, and blood flying everywhere when you execute a finisher. War animates very smoothly. Overall, despite the fact that this isn’t the strongest game technically speaking, the graphics are well done and look good.
The sounds of battle permeate the air almost all the time, aside from in dungeons. The enemies sound good, and have otherworldly battle cries. The finishers also sound quite brutal, with ripping tearing and ripping happening quite often. Many of the guns you get in the game also sound very good. The voice acting is very well done, with a lot of emotion and talent put to work here. One of the standouts is Vulgrim, the demon merchant. He has a raspy nasally voice, and he has a lot of expression. He sounds very creepy, as well, which is the original intentions. However, the game is lacking somewhat in the music department. It’s not bad, per se, but honestly, I didn’t even notice most of it. This game has its own little Zelda Chime for when you complete a puzzle, but it’s not as catchy as Zelda’s. This is a good sounding game, but the music leaves a lot to be desired.
This is an apocalyptic game that starts at the end; Earth is being destroyed by a battle between Heaven and Hell. No humans survive; yeah, when you think about it, this is a scary game. They all become these easy to kill zombie creatures. Anyways, the Horseman of the Apocalypse, War, is accused of starting the war. Of course, he’s been framed by someone else. After losing a fight to a huge demon named Straga, he is banished to Hell for 100 years. Eventually, he is told by the Council that he must defeat a new enemy called the Destroyer in order to clear his name. And just to make sure he doesn’t stray off the path, he is put under the watch of (you guessed it) the Watcher. If he loses sight of his task or disobeys the Council’s commands, the Watcher has permission to kill him. The story is pretty good, but a few of the plot devices aren’t explained very well, which makes it a bit confusing. However, there is a good cast of characters, and there are also a lot of unresolved plot threads left, which promises a sequel.
It’s kind of like Zelda, but more linear. At the same time, it has a Hack n Slash combat system. Sure, the game may be derivative (actually it is in a few cases) but the parts come together to make a game that is a hell of a lot of fun.
After an opening sequence detailing War’s fall from grace, (which is quite epic) you are put into a ruined world filled with supernatural threats. After being tasked with finding the Destroyer’s Chosen and bringing their hearts to a character who will remain unnamed, you truly begin the quest. The game’s structure is very much like Zelda; you explore an overworld, go to dungeons, fight monsters and solve puzzles.
The dungeons are well designed, and each one has a unique challenge. For instance, in one of them, you must hunt down 5 huge spiders in order to reach the boss room. In another, you have to realign laser beams to free someone. There are well designed puzzles in each one, and the one about the lasers is particularly satisfying, because it spans the entire dungeon and requires a lot of thought and some careful planning.
Of course, no good Zelda clone would be complete without some awesome tools and upgrades to boost your character. And this game definitely has some good ones. For instance, in the first dungeon, you obtain a Crossblade, which is basically the boomerang from Zelda, complete with 5 target lock on. The items are all very well implemented, and fun to use. Near the end of the game, you will do a lot of weapon switching, so it’s a good thing that you can hotkey items.
And how is the combat? Very, very fun. Each weapon swing feels very powerful; the controller shakes with each impact, and each swing can hit multiple enemies. War’s Sword, Chaoseater, is just one of the weapons you get access to. You eventually become able to use Death’s Scythe, and a Power gauntlet that can sends enemies flying with a single punch. You always have your sword equipped, and can switch out between the gauntlet and scythe. You use X to swing your sword and Y to use the other weapon. After purchasing a lot of moves, this allows for some seriously super combos. Needless to say, the core combat is a lot of fun. Other additions to it are Wrath moves, which are abilities that can be used in mid combat, at the expense of Wrath. (think Magic Power from Zelda) These are simple to pull off, and a lot of fun to use. Also, after a certain point in the game, you gain access to War’s super form.
After enough fighting, you can transform into this huge, invincible red beast. Each sword swing does a ton of damage, and can make short work of even the toughest enemies in seconds flat. However, it doesn’t last very long, so you must know the time to use it and the time to save it.
All of this fighting yields Souls. These are the currency system of the game. You trade souls with Vulgrim for upgrades, moves and items. This has been done in other games, and works well. In addition to that, scattered around the world are Artifacts, which can be traded to Vulgrim for a profit. (Which is weird since you end up buying from him anyways.)
Speaking of hidden items, all around the world are upgrades to your health and wrath. A late game item makes them much easier to find, but they are still satisfying to find.
And lastly, this game has some great bosses. Each one has a terrific sense of scale, and makes great use of your arsenal. I won’t go any further in order to prevent spoilers, but let me say that the huge enemies in this game are very awesome, and don’t go down without a fight.
Darksiders is a derivative game. No doubt about that. However, it’s also a very well made one, and is a ton of fun to play. There are some great puzzles and bosses, the combat is very fun to do, the game has a good story and great visuals, and there is a promise of a sequel. If some of the issues are fixed (the game was short, about 15- 20 hours, and the overworld is more linear than I like) then Darksiders 2 has the potential to be something very amazing. I recommend this game to anyone who likes Zelda, hack n slash, both, or just a well-designed game. You can also read the Zelda Ocarina of Time review since they are very similar types of games.
You can buy this game for $18 new on amazon or as low as $10 used. The cheap price is definitely worth buying.