So in case you don’t know by now, Darksiders is the newest addition for PlayStation Plus this week, but is it worth those 10GB’s of bandwidth to download? Keep reading to find out, and I’ll put a “tl;dr” in for those of you who want it quickly summarized. Also, to note I will be reviewing the PS3 version of the game as this is for those of you who are debating whether or not to download this game from PS Plus.
In Darksiders, you play as War, one of the four Horseman of the Apocalypse. He is a powerful enforcer of the ancient laws of the Charred Council, and when war between Heaven and Hell breaks loose, War is “called” upon to resolve the issue. He is then falsely accused of instigating the conflict, and is sent back to Earth 100 years after the apocalypse to prove his innocence.
The core gameplay itself is pretty solid. Granted, it borrows from some notable games. God of War and Zelda will probably be the ones that come to mind when you play this, and although it is still fun nonetheless, if you’re going to copy a formula from one game to another, your goal should be to do it better, not just mix the two to make a mediocre product.
Although I would consider Darksiders gameplay mediocre, I still enjoyed it quite a lot. It’s combat is borrowed heavily from God of War, and the actual exploration is like Zelda. The combo’s fit nicely with the gameplay, and some can be very satisfying to pull off correctly. As for the exploration, it can be pretty linear. It’s technically open-world, but don’t go in expecting the kind of exploration you could get done with a game like Zelda or Skyrim.
The world itself was also pretty bland. The game looks OK for a 2010 game, and while some environments can vary and be pretty nice to look at, some feel bland, outdated for their time, generic, and sometimes plain redundant. The amount of collectibles to find though is definitely a nice addition to have, and it will keep players coming back and exploring and finding some of the better, nicer looking parts of the world, too.
While playing the game though, expect to run into glitches. Also, when I say glitches, I don’t just mean your standard clip-out clip-in, I mean uncalled for deaths, frustrating freezes, screen tears, frame rate drops, texture pop-ins, etcetera… Most if not all are NOT game-ruining in the slightest, but some can appear often enough to take you out of the experience and make you shake your head for a few seconds.
Puzzles are also another gameplay element in Darksiders. Most are very easy, and after doing a fair few, I got very bored with them, and most started feeling generic and more and more of a grind to do. You’ll find yourself doing the same tasks over and over again, too. Blow up this wall here, climb across here, the usual stuff.
The negative points I have mentioned thus far though are not the entire game, and they are quite minimal in comparison to the rest of the game and its offerings. Animations in Darksiders I feel are top-notch, and very satisfying to see one play through, although there could be a bit more variety to them. There is lots of gear to find, buy, and upgrade through the world though, and it was a lot of fun leveling up my weapons and getting better and better with some.
The controls were OK. They weren’t terribly hard to use, but they were decent enough that I could play the game with almost no hindrance. Sometimes I couldn’t get the stuff done that I would have liked to with the layout, but it was manageable and it thankfully didn’t take away from the overall experience.
Presentation: Menu’s are OK to navigate, you’ll sit there for a few second before fully figuring them out. 7.0
Graphics: OK looking game, some pretty nice looking area, some bland. Characters could use a bit more detail. 6.9
Sound: Strong voice acting, good soundtrack, nice sound effects. 9.0
Gameplay: Fun combos, redundant puzzles and mechanics, satisfying kills. 7.5
Lasting Appeal: Collectibles, trophies/achievements, 15-20 hours of single player, no real point in exploring on your own. 8.1
TL;DR - If you are a Plus subscriber, get this game. It is worth the 10 gigabytes it takes to download, and you will have fun with it. If you aren’t and haven’t picked this up already, I’d suggest at least watching some gameplay, then maybe going to find it at your local game retailer or online for cheap. Remember, THQ is the publisher for this one, so buying new can go a long way!
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