By Ofisil 15.02.2017
Don't expect a single speck of originality here. Darksiders is basically a mix-and-match of multiple elements from a variety of popular titles, with the two most important inspirations being the hack 'n' slashing and overall epic scale of the God of War franchise, as well as the exploration and puzzle-solving of that little unknown action-adventure series called The Legend of Zelda - and that's certainly not a complain. Years after its success, and after paying a visit at its Warmastered Edition both in the PS4 and Xbox One, Cubed3 takes one more look to see how it fares on the PC.
Darksiders looks freaking cool! It's not cool in a deep, intellectual way or anything, it's more like that metalhead from your school days who could draw pretty well, and who had filled every conceivable surface with fire-breathing dragons, badass demons, and kind of cool warrior babes. Since this all came from the mind and hand of cult comic icon Joe Madueira, the art style in this title can be summed up as an over-the-top, Iced Earth-like version of The Legend of Zelda, where Link is a steroid-pumped, WarCraft III-esque knight, is "accompanied" by a malevolent "fairy," and kills gods in his spare time… And, yes, Warmastered Edition's HD facelift was more than welcome - but no Red Monika boobage, unfortunately…
Surprisingly, while the fantasy tropes that this follows are as generic as they come, the storyline is actually more than decent, despite being nothing more than a basic Demons-Versus-Angels dark fairytale, with War, one of the all-powerful Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, getting his armour-clad behinds into a situation where he is pretty much blamed for destroying mankind! How will he redeem his self? How else? By slaying everyone that dares to stand on his way.
Yes, this is a hack 'n' slasher, and, to be honest, quite a formulaic (very PS3-era, if that makes any sense), and not that fine-tuned one, with controls that feel a bit too stiff, which makes crowd control a tad hard, and while the camera isn't bad, it isn't helpful either. Saying that the battle portion of the game isn't satisfying would be a lie, though, because some parts are certainly quite enjoyable, despite the obvious room for improvement.
The thing is that only a few here have any chance of walking alive out of a confrontation with War. Fighting might be fun and cathartic, but make no mistake, this is not God of War - and that's evident in the way he acquires his powers, with fighting moves being optional, while other, more specialised tools are "given," since they are crucial for moving on. In other words, don't judge this by its cover, as this is mainly a Zelda-esque puzzle-heavy title.
Sadly, this is also the part where Darksiders inconsistency becomes obvious. At first, it all starts well. War will get some new moves that will let him reach higher places or manipulate the environment, and the puzzles will get progressively harder and better with each passing area… And then, this will suddenly transform into a pure puzzle marathon, with War having to solve one problem after another, making the whole process feel like a chore; a flaw that plagues the last third of the adventure.
Again, this isn't enough to break the experience. While the levels could have a better balance between fighting, exploration, and puzzle-solving, this is still a fun action-adventure to play, especially in short, one-hour breaks… anything longer, though, and the cracks will surely start to stand out. Unfortunately, Darksiders has one more issue, and, come to think of it, it is probably its most serious yet.
Simply put, the structure of this odyssey follows a pretty annoying by-the-numbers formula, which, theoretically, at least, isn't much of a problem - after all, even The Legend of Zelda games do this all the time. Enter dungeon X, find key item Y, and use it to kill Z. This does it way too much, though. It's always find # of this, then hit this # times, and then find # of this to open the # doors, and, finally, use the newly found item on the boss three times, and so on, and so forth.
This is very good… when it's not annoying; it has fantastic pacing… when the fun doesn't take a backseat; battles and puzzles are quite enjoyable… when they are not boring. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is the perfectly average video game. It does so many things great, but, as a whole, it just feels as if there's something missing.