Originally posted August 2015 on wordpress, reposted here with some light editing. Hopefully I'll churn out some newer, better written stuff. Enjoy!
Late night post! So I'm replaying both titles, and wanted to write about them while they are fresh in my mind.
I'll be talking about both Darksiders games here. One might argue that the games are different enough that they deserve their own posts, but I think that Darksiders as a whole works to be talked about in a big picture sorta way, so that's what I'll do here.
So where to start? I remember reading an article on the first Darksiders game in a Game Informer cover story. This was back before I had regular access to the internet, so I was still reading physical print like a caveman. I only read a bit about it, but the thing that struck me was that art style.
It just oozed coolness in this sort of badass way that I immediately fell in love with. I heard they were done by a dude named Joe Mad and that's all I really knew at the time. After that I didn't follow the game much until it came out, and I had to fall back in love with the art of the game. I became a fan of an artist that I barely knew about and it wasn't until much later (and very recently) that I would become an actual Joe Mad fan and learn about his comic book origins.
Recently I read Battle Chasers (revival incoming!) and that Darksiders' art style was in every page. What I was seeing was the art that fueled Darksiders. The popping colors, and the striking character designs were two sides of the same coin between these Mad creations. You could see many of the Battle Chasers characters sort of infused into War.
That Gauntlet of Gully's
Hell, even 'Bretto's physique is pretty much the same as War's.
(Of course if you aren't familiar with these characters I highly recommend you seek out the book, in one way or another and give it a read. It's super fun and now you don't have to wait as long for that cliffhanger to be resolved... hopefully. )
Granted, all of this comes from the same artist, so that style is bound to bleed over. It's just really cool how both could easily be part of the same universe if they wanted to be.
Of course there's an actual game past the badass look of it. Both games in the series, (So far, fingers fucking crossed!) are heavily... HEAVILY inspired by Zelda. They are also inspired by God of War. And Portal. And Diablo. And Devil May Cry. And Prince of Persia. And Shadow of the Colossus.
Darksiders 1 is a bit of a different beast than Darksiders 2 though. The two different protagonists lend themselves to two pretty different play styles, and the games overall feel is affected by this, and that's why I think both game's compliment each other so well. Darksiders 2 proves to be an excellent sequel that manages to not feel like just a more polished clone of it's predecessor, but almost an entirely new game. The differences between War and Death work so well, and creates an almost perfect sequel with how different it feels.
It's a damn shame the fate of the franchise is murky. However, murky is way more promising than dead in the water. I know remasters are all the rage right now, and quite frankly I'm sick of them. But a remaster of Darksiders 2 is on it's way and I'm... actually quite excited for it. Being released on the current gen consoles and only at the fraction of the original price is totally worth it for newcomers to the game. Not only that, but if it sells well enough, and surely this release is being used as a test for demand, Darksiders 3 may indeed be a reality. I would love nothing more than to see the gun wielding Strife in the next game or be introduced to the Horsemen's sister Fury.
Of course Joe Mad is, hopefully, hard at work over at his new game studio Airship Syndicate building the Battle Chasers game and giving us more of the book. So while it would be unlikely he would would work on a new game in the series I should hope that the style would remain similar, and whatever artist they get respects the original works enough to do that.
There's a ton of story left to tell in the Darksiders universe, and it would be a tragedy if it fell by the wayside. Games are a tricky business, and time after time it's shown that any risks are hard to take. While I consider both Darksiders games top notch, and nothing short of beautiful, the harsh fact is that they didn't sell incredibly. The AAA game market wants sure bets, and it pains me to say that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse may not exactly be on the radar. With Darksiders II: The Death-finitive Edition (seriously) on the horizon, here's hoping a new set of fans can help keep the franchise chugging along. And as a current fan I certainly don't mind adding it to my PS4 library for 30 bucks if it means keeping even the mere thought of DS3 on life support.
Here's to Darksiders!