Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 24.01.2017

Review for Darksiders: Warmastered Edition on PlayStation 4

Originally released in 2010, Darksiders was a hit in a slew of other similar action-adventure titles that were released in that time period. While it did little to redefine the action-adventure hack and slash genre, it took the best elements of similarly placed titles and merged it with the thematic of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. When War is accused of disrupting the balance between the forces of Heaven and Hell, while bringing about the demise of mankind, he returns to whatever remains of Earth to investigate the situation a little deeper and punish those responsible. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (Xbox One review here) is the second remaster to hit the PS4 behind the sequel, thus ensuring that the franchise can be enjoyed by newcomers and past fans.

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition plays like a typical third-person action-adventure hack and slash. Those who have played the God of War titles will know what to expect here. War commits a flurry of melee attacks with a press of the Square button, and combining it with varying analogue stick motions and shoulder buttons opens up new pathways to advanced attacks that deal more damage. In addition to his basic sword, War expands his arsenal with new weapons and abilities that he gathers on his path for redemption. The Scythe is a terrific weapon that incorporates lightning fast attacks at the expense of the attack damage, while the Tremor Gauntlet allows for ground-attacks that creates ripple effects that knockdown enemies who are in the vicinity.

The new weapons open up the gameplay, while introducing new mechanics that feature in both the combat, as well as the puzzle-solving aspects of the game. From the early stages in the game, there are temporary blockages that prevent any further passage down those paths. Venturing beyond these barriers requires collecting a certain weapon, such as the Tremor Gauntlet, which can destroy the blue ice crystals that are a prominent barrier in the game. In the later stages, a clever Portal-inspired gameplay mechanic is introduced, where portals can be created in order to reach previously inaccessible locations, while also being used to defeat enemies and bosses.

Screenshot for Darksiders: Warmastered Edition on PlayStation 4

While War is slaying the enemies, he collects the souls of departed, which he needs in order to make purchases from Vulgrim, a demon merchant. Souls are this game's currency, and without them, War won't get very far in term of upgrades and advancements. Blue chests are hidden throughout the adventure, and finding these chests will add a lot more blue souls to the coffers, while hidden Artifacts also offers a greater sum of souls. Vulgrim can be accessed via specific points on the map, which act as a safe haven from enemies, as well as offering the ability to fast-travel through the world via the scattered points. The fast-travel points are a godsend, as the world just continuously grows as the game progresses, and the vast landscapes makes the long-form journey a pain to backtrack through at times.

In addition to the blue chests, green chests restore a portion of War's health, while the gold chests restore his Wrath Abilities metre. There are four Wrath abilities that are mapped to the face buttons upon being learned, and using them expends the Wrath metre. These four abilities are greatly effective in combat, from the Blade Geyser, which summons blades that strike the nearby enemies, and Stoneskin, which renders War invincible for the period that the ability is active, to Affliction, which poisons the enemies to take damage over time. Lifestone and Wrath Shards are hidden in special chests, and gathering four of each increases both the Health and Wrath metres each time, which is vital as the difficulty increases.

Screenshot for Darksiders: Warmastered Edition on PlayStation 4

There are 12 enhancements that can be imbued into one of the three main weapons, which adds both Slotted bonuses and Passive bonuses to War. While they each offer different upgrades, they can be changed at will from the pause menu, so that War can switch between them at will depending on what is needed at a particular time. Secondary weapons and passive abilities also get introduced into the fold as the story progresses, and soon, War gains a horse called Ruin, which he can traverse large chunks of land on, while firing his pistol and cross blades from. Should War reach a large gap in the landscape, he can perform Shadow Flight to make the distance by extending his supernatural wings.

The set pieces and scenery that Darksiders employs is amazing. The remastered edition enhances the graphics and upscales them to look at home on the PlayStation 4. However, these renders are not without some hiccups. While the cut-scenes look great, colourful and vibrant, transitioning between them and the gameplay sometimes causes abrupt cuts at the end of a scene, which looks awkward or unplanned. The camera also causes lock-on issues where it may not necessarily lock on to the nearest enemy, or sometimes refuses to lock on to enemies within the radius simply because they feature at the edge of the view screen. This clumsiness jars the experience somewhat, especially during those tense boss battles where a split second of fiddling with the controls is enough to put War down for good.

Screenshot for Darksiders: Warmastered Edition on PlayStation 4

Taking a page out of God of War's book, the boss battles in Darksiders: Warmastered Edition are extravagant battles that seem larger than life. Taking a break from the petty, mindless baddies that War is accustomed to beating up, these boss fights generally involve a lot of platforming elements that require traversing the landscapes and using the environments to bring down the mighty titans. These sequences make for some memorable moments and epic death scenes, which are usually triggered by Quick Time Events (QTE). These cinematic moments result in a lot of satisfying but equally gory deaths.

During the down moments in the game, when War isn't fighting, there are puzzles that require solving in order to unlock doors and venture further into the game. Though the majority of the puzzles are pretty basic and won't require a lot of thought to figure out, in the latter stages, the difficulty of these puzzles ramps up unexpectedly. The last third of the game, where the portal-gun gets introduced, creates plenty of head-scratching moments, which feel like they were made to infuriate. These puzzles alone drag out that latter stretch of the game, and while the idea of having these portals sounds great on paper, it is implemented quite poorly in Darksiders.

Screenshot for Darksiders: Warmastered Edition on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition sees a refresher on the famed franchise, which upscales the visuals to look right at home on the PlayStation 4. While the gameplay elements that hindered the previous iteration of the game still haven't been fixed, this is still a great game to own. While fans of the series won't find anything new except a chance to port over their old library to the current generation, newcomers to the series will find this and the Darksiders II remaster a great entry point into the series. This is a brutal hack and slash adventure game, where War finds a range of new ways to rip enemies apart with QTEs, while employing the various abilities learned throughout the game, in his quest to restore order between the balance of Heaven and Hell.

Developer

Nordic

Publisher

Nordic

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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