Darksiders III (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 26.11.2018 6

Review for Darksiders III on PlayStation 4

It's been a very long road to Darksiders III and it's easy to see why fans began to think it would never materialise and that the Apocalypse may never reach its final conclusion. Produced by Vigil Games, the company sadly went the way of the Earth in its game when parent company THQ went bankrupt in 2012. Darksiders, amongst other THQ licences, went up for auction and some of the bidders would have made for a stunning renewal, especially should Platinum Games have gotten its hands on it. Ultimately, the series went to Nordic Games, a company staffed with many who came from Vigil, and the series was back in the hands of its original owners. Now, six years on, it's finally reaching the fans and it's time to see if it was worth the wait.

With the games getting up there in years, fans will be forgiven for forgetting some of the story - unless they have picked up the remastered versions. The Warmastered of the original and the Deathfinitive Edition of Darksiders II. For those who have not, and need a quick refresher: while there was an endless War between Heaven and Hell, there was a third race that stood apart - the Nephilim, a race of mingled bloodlines between Angel and Demon, a race without a home. The Nephilim were causing unimaginable destruction until four of their number went to the Charred Council. Beings more ancient than time itself that came from the very first moment of creation. The offered themselves up to the Council and became the Four Horsemen, and for the low price of slaughtering their entire people, they gained godlike power. They did so in defence of a new race, humanity. Once the Nephilim were slaughtered, a pact was made and the endless war put on hold. Seven seals were placed, putting a ceasefire on hostilities until the three races of Angel, Demon, and Man were of equal power.

Screenshot for Darksiders III on PlayStation 4

This is where the initial entry began. This first game launched back in 2010 and quickly managed to gain a huge cult audience. In this initial entry, the Horseman, War, is falsely accused of prematurely breaking these seals, beginning the Apocalypse early, and then had to traverse a post-apocalyptic Earth, taking on the forces of both Heaven and Hell to uncover the truth of how the seals were broken and why he was set up. It concluded with War being joined by his three fellow Horsemen. Unfortunately, this story was not what came with the sequel. Instead, the follow up from 2012 followed the second Horseman, Death, in a fantastically enjoyable title, but one that did little to progress the plot. Running parallel to the original, it instead saw the skull-faced Horseman embarking on a quest to save his brother, but ending up saving humanity instead.

Now, the third again gives a parallel story. It's a strange choice considering the shaky ground the franchise has been - and somewhat continues to be - on. This time it's Horsewoman, Fury. Fury isn't going to rush to save her brother, as she doesn't care much for any of them; she's instead fiercely loyal to the Charred Council. Therefore, when she's tasked to gather up the escaped Seven Deadly Sins, she is more than happy to oblige. The story plays out over the 100 years War was imprisoned, and so the Earth is still being ravaged by demons, with the last vestiges of humanity hiding away in the rubble.

Screenshot for Darksiders III on PlayStation 4

Anyone who has played the others will feel at home here. This just feels like a shallow imitation of what has come before. More pale imitation than pale rider this time, though. It's a big adventure game, which bundles simple puzzles and fast combat. Fury has a Blade Whip to begin with that makes for simple, mashy combat, but just mashing is a bad idea. The enemies are much more powerful here. They are not any smarter, just following basic patterns that can easily be evolved and dodged. The annoying thing is the enemies have some absurdly cheap attacks that deal huge damage, especially on the higher difficulties, which will have plenty of instant one hit deaths. While the combat itself is disappointing, the designs are good, at least; there are a wide range of enemies from both Heaven and Hell on offer, with some fantastic designs that really fit with the overall aesthetic of the franchise. Best of all are the boss fights against each of the Seven Deadly Sins and some extra boss monsters that are grotesquely gorgeous. However, the mechanics of each boss offer up little of new experiences outside of damage sponges that fight like the regular enemies.

It's not just the Blade Whip in Fury's gauntleted fists, either, as like her brothers before her, she gathers up an arsenal of other weapons across the course of the game that have dual purpose. Many comparisons were drawn between the original and Zelda, and it's easy to see why. It focused on gathering up items in dungeons, which grant new abilities to revisit previously completed locations and uncover new areas with new loot. In Darksiders III this comes in the form of elemental attacks. The first gives Fury the power of fire, letting her stride through lava, burn down Spiderwebs, and to upgrade her double jump into a triple jump to reach heights previously inaccessible. This is followed up with the ability to wall jump, walk underwater, hover, and even gain a Morph Ball style ability. The problem with these is that they feel so simplistic compared to the previous titles.

Screenshot for Darksiders III on PlayStation 4

Darksiders II went for more of an open-world style than the original's focus on dungeons and distinct areas. This title swings more towards the first but tries to bridge the gap between the two. The issue with this style is the loading of each area. There are no loading screens outside of fast-travel and deaths, and this was a terrible choice. Instead of having set loading screens at specific points, the game freezes up while the logo loads an area, something that can happen at very inopportune times. There is an area where Fury has to run across an open field where a sentient Tornado chases her, for example. Just as she reaches safety, the game freezes to load the next area. When it stops loading, Fury switches from running to being stationary, causing an instant death. This, combined with the regular loading moments between areas, and the huge loading times on death, really impact on the experience.

Almost as negative an impact are the issues with the graphics. Most prominently these are in regards to the textures within. It's not as noticeable during the action, but in cut-scenes it's horrendous, with characters flickering between fully formed and basic models with no detail. Even fully formed they don't look great, and at times the remastered Darksiders II looks better than anything here.

Screenshot for Darksiders III on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

A game out of time; it's wonderful for fans of the series to actually get their hands on this title that almost ended up on the trash pile with the death of THQ, but Darksiders III is so riddled with issues that they just can't be ignored. It feels like a game that was developed many years ago and then put on a shelf, finally now to be released. It feels worse than both previous entries and, worse, it feels more dated than the originals. It's so sad to see this franchise that held so much promise fall so far, and worse it seems unlikely to recover, either. The game hints at a fourth iteration, again retreading the same time period, this time in the shoes of the fourth Horseman, Strife, but if it's of the same level of quality as this compared to previous titles, it may be better if it never arrives.

Developer

Gunfire Games

Publisher

THQ Nordic

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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   

Comments

5??? Aw shucks...
Judging from the fact that I found the first one to be just good and the second one to be... okay, I dare not touch the third one.

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

I'm still curious... but not $59.99 curious.
 

I loved Darksiders, this one hurt. Five may even be generous...

i knew something was up when there was almost no marketing for this turkey.

Oh wow, I had high hopes for this so that is a shame!

Insanoflex said:
i knew something was up when there was almost no marketing for this turkey.

I know! It really did come out of nowhere. Shame it kind of lost the momentum the first 2 games built up with a kind of cult following.

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