Remastering a video game is a strange concept to pitch to people that don’t already understand and/or accept the practice. The idea of updating the graphics and smoothness of gameplay on an older game rather than making a sequel or new game altogether seems like a waste of time on paper. Some games, like Devil May Cry 4, get remastered with obvious love and care. Going above and beyond by not only updating the look of the game, but also adding characters, special outfits, and even unlocking all game modes from the start so that veteran players can play the way they want to. More recently, Skyrim: Special Edition brought new graphics, faster load times, and even Mod support. By doing this, these remasters bring life to an older game that has simply lost their edge to newer games made with better hardware.
On the flip side, games like Sleeping Dogs and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition can show developers what kind of pitfalls remasters bring with them. In the case of Sleeping Dogs, it may have added the DLC to the package deal, but the graphical overhaul wasn’t enough to create a buzz around the mediocre game. As for Gears of War, the remaster seemed to have more glitches and issues than the original while retaining many of the problems from the original, creating a game that simply felt like it deserved more. With all of that said, Darksiders: Warmaster Edition manages to fit somewhere in the middle for me. While it remains as fun as the original, albeit with smoother controls, it simply doesn’t add anything for veteran players or even players that don’t care about graphics. Due to this, I could see certain people picking up the original Darksiders since it would cost next to nothing to pick up. Without any additional equipment, areas, modes, or DLC to add, this remaster does the bare minimum to be considered a remaster.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as the graphical upgrade is a big enough change and the game runs smoother than the original. Since Darksiders: Warmastered Edition does make the appropriate upgrades, I can say that, as a remaster, this game is a current-gen alternative to the last-gen orignal as long as players can eat the price difference. Since the game is a remaster, it looks well enough in its own art style while the sounds feel a little dated, which I believe is forgivable. Besides aesthetics, Darksiders controls are still smooth and simple. Hack and slash gameplay never gets terribly complicated, but it is always nice when a game has virtually timeless controls. The controls aren’t the only thing that works as it should however.
With the platform and puzzle sections of the game in mind, I think it is fair to say that most players have played similar games with similar set ups. What I mean is you’ve got a hack and slash game that tries to break up some of the mundanity that comes with the genre. By using puzzle sections like this, Darksiders does two things. On the good side, it allows for an experience with various types of gameplay that take longer to get stale. On the bad side, it makes the game feel like the levels go on forever, which can ruin the game for those that simply want to get through the story. Either way, Darksiders was never going to top games like God of War or other such games that make use of similar mechanics. Besides having the long level issue, I think another reason is simply because of how the game always feels like a game.
This may not be the case for many people, but I have personally been spoiled by how newer games handle things like bosses, changing levels, and various other things you only find in video games. Without giving any one example, I’ll simply say there are times when Darksiders feels a little too video game-like. It may be a minor issue, but it may also turn some newer gamers away if they’ve been spoiled like I have over the last few years. Besides this, Darksiders Warmastered Edition makes for a very middle of the road addition to the ever-growing collection of remakes and remasters that this generation of gaming is (slowly) getting accustomed to.
As some final thoughts, I’ll simply say that if you are a veteran fan and have to have the remaster, it’s here and it does what it says it does. If instead you are a new player, you should only get this over the original if you care about graphics or don’t have a 360 lying around. Again, it’s not a ‘bad’ remaster, but it’s not a ‘good’ one either.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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