Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Darksiders for the PS3 and 360 review




January was definitely a great month of games, wasn’t it? I mean, we got some big name titles like Bayonetta, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Of course, with any month of the year when games were released, we had some of the average games like Army of Two: the 40th Day. Then, we have the utter stupidity of stuff like Dark Void, which shouldn’t have been released during this year. However, there is one game I wanted to play in January that I wanted to play before Bayonetta, but couldn’t since I run by the laws of Gamefly.com. So, what game could have been on the top of my list of games to play this year? I mean besides No More Heroes 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom? Give up? Well, it was made by a company here in my town of Austin, Texas. It was a very well written and well-created game simply known as Darksiders. Now, it’s funny since I know this company because they have made the Warhammer 40k RTS games, and this is the only action game they have made. So, how do I see it through my eyes? Let’s doom the whole world and find out!

The story takes place when the earth is thrown into the grasp of the apocalypse. When this is all happening though, one of the four horsemen, named War, comes down to Earth. He then goes and kills some demons and angels, and then gets to a giant monster that he almost kills. Sadly, he was doing all this on a false alarm. This high council that sets the rules for Heaven, Hell, and Earth then pulls War down to them and punishes him. War is stripped of his powers and is given the task of finding out who caused the whole thing. He gets his sword, is attached to a character called the Watcher, and sets off to destroy the evil that has destroyed the land. It’s nice to see God has a sense of humor calling in War on a false alarm. You won’t believe how many times I have done that, myself.

The game play featured in Darksiders is a mix between God of War’s combat combo system, Zelda’s adventure and weapon themes, and Zelda’s targeting. At the beginning, you basically get a huge sword that War can of course wield with one hand and that’s it. During the game, you gain multiple weapons like a huge horn that can send back enemies, a large pistol, a boomerang cross blade, a scythe, a large gauntlet, and other very interesting weapons that can be used like normal, but here is what I think. If you think cleverly enough, you can use these weapons to get through enemies faster. For example, during the Twilight Cathedral run-through, I was using the horn to blow enemies into the lava-filled floors, which cut down on time that this game demands. Then again, if you ever played a Zelda game, you know how long it can take to get through the entire game. There are some unique areas, like when you get to ride on a griffin, and summon your horse that you once rode when you were the mighty horseman. You can also use enemy weapons and some of your own weapons in a third person view, which works pretty well and is much easier when you have a chain gun to shoot down angels…never thought I see myself type that. You can also find multiple things like shards to combine into extra “heart tanks” or to increase your wrath meter, or to make new armor items that you can wear when you replay through the game again. There are a few quick-time events thrown into the game, but don’t expect anything like God of War 3 or Resident Evil 4 and 5.There is a lot to do, and it’s going to take hours to beat this game if you’re one of those completist. The boss fights are huge and are set up just like the Zelda bosses, where the first boss Tiamat requires the use of the throwing inert bombs at the giant bat, then making them explode with your cross blade. They are all very creative and are fun to go through. There are some simple dungeon-crawling areas like in Zelda, so don’t expect anything different than games like Zelda of God of War 3, where you have to backtrack to certain areas to solve one puzzle. The puzzles however, are mostly easy, with some of them taking some time to get used to, which varies from level to level. I like this since it gives me a good familiar feel for the levels and environments around me.

The graphics for the game are outstanding. I mean, they won’t push the PS3’s or 360’s limit, but they are nice-looking overall. It helps that famous comic book artist, Joe Madureira who is famous for his own comic series, Battle Chasers and his work on the Uncanny X-Men comics, is the creative guy behind the whole look of the game. Though is it just me, or could a majority of these enemies and bosses fit right into the Warhammer universe? I mean, War could be part of the Chaos Space Marines, and some of the demons could be Tyranids and such, but that is just my own opinion. The music is also very well executed with tracks fitting in just right. This is due to the help of Cris Velasco, who worked on games like God of War 3, and games based off of TV shows and such. The second composer, Mike Reagen, worked on stuff like Rise of Kasai, Darkwatch, and Bruteforce. The third composer is Scott Morton, but I couldn’t find anything about him. By far though, the best part of the game is the incredible voice acting. War is voiced by Liam O’ Brien who is known for his works in Devil May Cry 4 as Sanctus, Eternal Sonata as Lord Waltz, and other video game, anime, and documentary roles that you can find on Wikipedia. Though my favorite voice actor so far in the game is the person who does the Watcher, Mark Hamill. Now, if you all know me, I am just a huge fan of Mark Hamill’s voice talent, and think he is one of the best voice actors in the industry. We also get the talents of Phil LaMarr as Vulgrim the merchant, Fred Tatsciore as the charred council, and the rest of the voice talent is very well done.

However, this game does have a few bumps that I feel like I need to address as a reviewer. If there is one major gripe that I have with this game, it would be when you travel through the desert area. There is this one specific area where you need to travel from platform to platform without getting caught by the giant worm that travels through the sand. It’s just tedious, and took me a good two hours or so to get it right, since you can’t double jump or move any faster than a snail riding on top of a sloth. It just wasn’t fun to go through this specific section of the game. It is hard to fault this game for this one section though, since every action game has that area where it is just not fun to go through. I would complain that there is no multi-player, but I don’t think THIS game needs it. You get a lengthy adventure that takes days or even weeks to get every single little thing. Besides, there weren’t enough characters to have a multi-player component. I do like the level designs, but sometimes it isn’t clear enough where you need to go and what you need to do. I was actually stumped a few times until I looked up a walkthrough on some of the areas, but it doesn’t happen often. My final complaint comes from the tedious currency system. It always seems like the first game in an action series has that issue, God of War, Dante’s Inferno, you get the idea. This one is no different since it’s like “oh boy, I can buy this scythe!” then you can’t buy anything else.

In my opinion, Darksiders was a fun game to play through, and I would recommend checking it out. I might pick up a copy of the game when the price drops, but I think it was a fun game to play through, and it was smart for Vigil Games to start making a sequel for this game. Overall, check out Darksiders and lose yourself in a world of chaos. Make sure to send an email to moonstone140@gmail.com if you have any comments or recommendations of games to review.

This game gets an 8.9 out of 10

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