I will be honest, I never played the original Darksiders. I was aware of the game and kind of roughly knew what it was, but it wasn’t until I sat down with the Warmastered edition that I really got a good sense of the game. Playing it now, I kind of wish I had played the original. I might be a little late to the party, but I really enjoyed my time with Darksiders.
For those of you who don’t know, Darksiders puts you in control of War, one of the four horseman of the apocalypse. War’s job is all about keeping balance between humans, the creatures that lurk in hell and the angels of heaven. Humans have a role to play in an upcoming conflict, but that cannot happen till all 7 seals have been broken. The problem is things don’t go well for War at the start of the game. He has seemingly been tricked into thinking the 7 seals have been broken, therefore he enters the fray of battle. He is stripped of his powers and abilities by his superior and sent to figure out what happened and prove his innocence. Of course, as you would expect from a video game, it’s not going to be an easy journey. Especially when your name is War. That tends to cause some conflict. War travels the apocalyptic world growing stronger all the while fighting a litany of enemies. How do you do this you may be asking? Well you take your ridiculously over sized sword and hack and slash your way to victory. The usual mechanics you expect to see in a hack and slash game can be found here. Expect to be racking up combos that lead up to a gory and brutal finisher. Darksiders isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel here, you will be platforming your way around the world, moving objects and figuring out how you progress through a locked area. Basically if you have ever played a God of War game, then you know almost exactly what you will find here.
That’s not to say the game doesn’t do anything new. Well new for the time the game originally came out (2010). Darksiders has a generous health system using both a health bar and a limited amount of lives. Once the health bar is empty, you lose one life, but instead of dying the health bar refills immediately. This process continues till all lives have been used and the health bar is empty, which then leads to your death and restarting at the last checkpoint. The game also features an interesting way of fast traveling around the world. The areas are pretty big, there is plenty to find such as artifacts to sell in the store or scattered pieces that will give you permanent boosts to such things as health. To make up for the likeliness of you missing something, you can fast travel to the areas you have been to before and have a second attempt at finding everything. While you may expect to see this feature in a modern-day game, it’s a pretty impressive feature for a 2010 game. So many older games, and even some newer ones, take a harder attitude to linear games. If you miss them then that sucks for you. You have to replay the game and look harder next time. I appreciated the choice the game gave me. As a side thought, I wonder if on a physiological level players are more likely to go back and get missing collectibles if there is a fast travel system then they would be if they had to replay the whole game again? Either way it’s a nice touch and I personally feel it will help players play the game for longer.
I could talk longer about the games mechanics, design and other areas of the game like I would normally do in one of my reviews but I want to try something different here. This is my first remastered review so stick with me, but I want to discuss how it feels as a modern-day remaster. Graphically, there has clearly been a vast improvement. Don’t expect Uncharted 4 level graphics, but it’s certainly one of the better graphical improvements seen in a remaster. Also, let’s take a second to appreciate the brilliance of the Warmaster pun. Anyway, the game runs smoothly at 60fps which I hear is a big deal? I don’t really get it myself, but I know it’s important to many people, and not every remaster can achieve this so kudos to the game. The game handles well for the most part, but I have some slight issues with the controls. Nothing major but you often press too many buttons to do a simple task. For example to throw your blade properly, your switching to the blade, then holding L2, you press R3 to enter free aim mode then use the right stick to aim and R2 to throw. It’s more complicated then it needs to be. Free aim should be the default mode and mapped to L2 and R2 only. A simple removal of a button press would make it feel more natural and smoother.
As mentioned earlier the game runs extremely well. Loading times are short, and I never encountered any bugs or glitches. Well except one annoying…’thing’. I use that word because I am not sure what to call it. Basically you will often find the audio and mouth movement are out of sync. And not even a little, often by 3 or so seconds which for a game or any media is a big deal. This doesn’t happen constantly but it happens more often than not. My first thought was that it was some kind of bug, however I have a few other potential causes I want to discuss. No matter which of the bellow are true, if any, it’s certainly an issue I feel needs to be fixed. So if my first thought is correct and it’s a bug, then fine, fix it. However never playing the original I wondered if it was something that was present there as well. If it was, I would still expect it to be fixed for a remaster. My last thought was it was due to a faster frame rate throwing it out of sync. As I said, either way it’s something that should really have been taken care of before launch, but I wanted to throw some thoughts and ideas out there to the readers. But that was really my only technical issue with the game. Recently we have had a wide range of remasters come out that either added bugs or glitches to the game, or didn’t fix the ones that were in the original version. Even with the audio issues, Darksiders serves as an example of how remasters should be done. Let’s also not forget its price. A quick look at various retailers and you will see the game selling for roughly £15. It’s an extremely good price for a remaster, especially as it’s on a disc. I’m struggling to think of a recent remaster that is out on disc that didn’t cost the usual £40-£50. I also feel THQ Nordic (God I missed seeing the THQ logo) could have charged £40 and be easily justified in doing so. Is this the start of developers/publishers exploring the price ranges of their games? I would be willing to bet the answer is no, but it’s still a nice thought.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition is a remaster done right. It’s a really good game that makes me want to go buy the sequel to catch up on the series. It may not be ground breaking, even for an older game. However it features the best mechanics the genre has to offer, plus a few new ones. The game visually looks better and it’s clear some time and effort went into this. Sure there is a couple of niggling issues, none of which are game breaking or even particularly bad. But they are there and it’s worth pointing them out, but don’t let it stop you from playing this game, whether you are a returning fan or new to the franchise, it’s worth your time. For the price, you really can’t go wrong.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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