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LONG BLOG

Unofficial Review: Darksiders

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Before you go and spout off that it's a review which doesn't affilate with Dtoid, I've made it clear that I'm going to post reviews now and then which coincide with new releases, or games that have been out a while. I will also not rate them so it will be a constructive criticism in the form of a Kotaku review, with a final outcome. Please be aware there may be some early ingame spoilers as well, so look away from the story section if you want the game to be spoiler-free!


DARKSIDERS
Formats: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3
Cost 49.99/($)59.99
Players: 1
Multiplayer Features: None

I always had anticipation that one day a game comes in and actually does what it says on the tin, be interesting, somewhat original, and take the best ideas out of other games and make it gel. Well, we have had it before in the form of Ubisoft's Beyond Good and Evil, But Darksiders is the Zelda game of the 21st century.

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STORY
The game starts off with a background of a fight between Good and Evil. No surprises there you may think, but the council made a pact to make a truce to end the seemingly endless bloodshed with the angels and demons, and seven seals were created to prevent the planet from going into disarray. However, once the Kingdom of Man was almost thriving, a war erupts once more, with one of the horsemen, War, goes down to attempt to stop the bloodshed. As you find out, it wasn't exactly supposed to happen, and you seemingly get blamed for the actions that happen, and you lose nearly all of your abilities. To make matters worse, he gets the Watcher, brilliantly played by Mark Hamill, to help or hinder him to ensure that he finishes the job that the council has ordered him to do.

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GRAPHICS
Once you first insert the game, you'll instantly notice that it looks bleak, very bleak. To be honest it is for a few hours, but once you've crawled through the first dungeon, it starts to look a lot better once you begin to visit other areas of the game. It is very well animated, and for the most part very pretty, but there are times on the 360 that the game begins to slow down. It isn't unplayable, but bear in mind this is more frequent on the 360 than on the PS3, while the PS3 has jagged lines or slightly worse textures than on the 360. They are almost near-identical otherwise, and which version you pick up is a matter of preference, as they are exactly the same.

GAMEPLAY AND LIFESPAN
Before you say it's a Zelda clone, it partially is, but as Jim Sterling pointed out in his debate, Darksiders invented the teleportation gun, the voidwalker. You won't get that until late in the game, but there are other items and collectibles to get scattered throughout the game world, which will take many hours to find every unlockable and object. Combat also feels tight, but also very clunky in places. Sometimes you will get moments that you pressed the right button, but it takes time for the character to block or even evade the attacks thrown by the enemy. This is no gamebreaker, but it will take quite a few attempts to truly master the blocking controls. Other than that, it does respond to actions and attacks well, and moving the character around isn't as bad as many might think.

You can expect a casual playthrough of about 15-20 hours on the first playthrough, with more or less hours depending on the difficulty, amount of items you collect and the amount of retries you have on repeated playthroughs.

SUMMARY

Pros:
Interesting storyline
Great voice acting
Some unique boss battles
Pretty locations after the first few hours
Gets the best ideas of other games and actually makes them work
A fairly lengthy adventure
Great implementation of dungeon-items
You can control a warhorse! How awesome is that?!
Controls outside of combat usually work well...

Cons:
...but it gets slightly fiddly and clunky in combat
Slowdown on the 360
Slight graphical issues on the PS3
Might not be everyone's cup of tea, since it may seem unoriginal

Overall, Darksiders manages to be a completely original game, even if it does take ideas out of other games, and is worth a rental if you are already enjoying Bayonetta. If you do decide to buy it, you will not regret it, as it lasts a good while, and getting all the Achievements/Trophies will take multiple playthroughs.
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About Xelviarone of us since 7:49 PM on 01.03.2010