on January 23, 2010
Very seldom do I actually write a review, but after seeing the horrible and unjust review that X-Play on G4TV gave, I had to speak up. So I will take this opportunity to lay it out.
X-Play: "I want to see more gore for something rated Mature."
Reality Check: When I ripped the wings off angels and then decapitated demons; that is what I expected in a game rated M.
X-Play: "Weapon Options are Limited."
Reality Check: Sword + Gun + Scythe + Cross blade + Gauntlet + Add Ons + Turrets = Almost more than I can keep up with when I'm playing.
X-Play: "Finishing off enemies is repetitive."
Reality Check: While yes, it can be repetitive at times, but as you level up and become very powerful or use the "turrets" or the horse in the game; you find yourself doing the finish moves less often, especially on the weaker enemies.
X-Play: They knocked the swimming for some odd reason.
Reality Check: The swimming is fine and fluid and adds a lot of depth to the dungeons. No pun intended.
X-Play: "Puzzles were predictable and easy."
Reality Check: Not all are "easy" nor are they predictable at all. You will have to think, especially when it comes to finding some of the chests.
X-Play: "Lacks Originality or a Soul."
Reality Check: I do not know what this game is compared to aside from mechanics "borrowed" from some of the all time bests, but in my opinion it gave the game an old soul that everyone can enjoy. Take something that works and use it. Sometimes people just want a game that is fun, easy to learn, and challenging at the same time.
X-Play: "Hack and slash that is cliché."
Reality Check: NOT AT ALL! I do not think when I stun an enemy with my cross blade, shoot it in the face, then lunge forward with a stabbing blow, and then reel any other nearby enemies with a flame saw sword move, and then finish it off with a gauntlet ground pound, and then raise my horse on the fly and slash away from a higher position while galloping around. Hmmm...How is that cliché??? Let's not forget you can turn into a 25 flaming monster and there are also special "magic" powers that can be used as well.
I could go on and on. Bottom line is that this is a fun game that has given me plenty of surprises.
on January 6, 2010
I'll preface this by cribbing lightly from early professional reviews. Yes, the game borrows concepts from GoW. Yes, there are aspects reminiscent of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Toss in Devil May Cry and Portal while you're at it too.
Does the game suffer from this? Absolutely not.
I believe Darksiders will prove out to stand on its own merits:
Art/color/effects. The Darksiders world is painted vividly. Bloody, scarlet reds. Vivid, electric blues. Hellfire crackles and belches with palpable heat. Death effects are varying and plentiful. The Chaoseater rips through opponents with satisfying degrees of violence and gore. Joe Mad's character designs are top-notch, fresh, and lend strongly to the 'playing a comic book' feel. You'll like it or you won't - but I love it. The angel and demon designs, the shattered, demonically-warped landscape, the weaponry, War's armor - it's just awesome.
Voice acting. Mark Hamill is worth the price of admission. The other voice talents do an able job, but his role really stands out, and he does an impeccable job.
Combat. Button-mashers will find a lot to like. Newcomers will quickly feel at home with the combat setup. Experts won't feel like they're jogging around a dumbed-down rail-fighter. Combos are expressive and fun to achieve, and their resulting effects are satisfyingly brutal.
Story. I won't detail the twists and turns the story takes, but the fact that you're War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, sent back to Earth to figure out who screwed you over, and why, and kill everything standing in the way of that - it doesn't need to be any more cerebral. Revenge and justice are always a solid theme to an action slasher, and the story here doesn't fail.
The soul-currency system is a nice touch. There are many, many items in the destructive environment that will kick out souls that can be traded in as currency for new combat moves, weapon enhancements, health/rage buffs, etc. Some of these items raise an eyebrow (souls confined in a parking meter? ok.), but the gathering process is still fun.
Early boss fights are decent, but these battles really shine with selected increased difficulty.
The puzzles aren't terribly difficult. You're not going to employ any Half-Life 2-type problem-solving to figure them out, but they factor into the overall gameplay logically and seamlessly.
Some players might get hung up in the comparisons to other games in the genre. Others might see similarities or common themes as strengths - building on what gamers like, discarding other elements. My advice - enjoy Darksiders based on what you see, what you hear, and what you beat the holy (and unholy) crap out of in-game. Anticipate at least 17-20 solid hours of gameplay, with plenty to discover on subsequent playthroughs.
Start to finish, this game was a 9/10, and earned a spot on the shelf next to Halo 1-3, Fallout 3, CoD4, and Bioshock.
on January 15, 2010
Thank you Vigil. Finally, a game developer who 'gets it.' It's obvious that Darksiders was a labor of love, created by gamers, for gamers. I've played a lot of games over the years, and Darksiders masterfully crafts together the best elements of the genre while stripping out the garbage we could all do without. Why is Darksiders possibly the best pick-up-&-play action/adventure game ever?
+ Easy-to-learn, forgiving controls.
+ Variety of gameplay elements (swordplay, throwing objects, climbing, swinging, swimming, shooting, riding, treasure hunting, weapon upgrades, puzzle solving, etc.).
+ Beautiful artistic style, animation, and environments - if you've enjoyed Joe Madureira's art in other mediums, playing Darksiders is an awesome interactive experience that brings his artistic vision to life in high definition.
+ Frequently saved checkpoints, plus save-anytime feature, and multiple save blocks that can be copied between memory cards and hard drives.
+ Epic fantasy storyline.
+ Effective defensive moves (block and dash/dodge).
+ Easily-controllable camera/perspective.
+ Engaging puzzles that don't take forever to figure out and complete.
+ Fast-travel network to quickly move between distant previously-visited areas.
+ No 'artificial challenge' that handicaps and punishes players.
+ No flow-breaking, action-obscuring quick-time events.
+ No unskippable cut-scenes.
+ Amazing audio that artfully conveys the epic scale of the characters and battles.
+ On-screen mini-map (and full map on the paused game's options screen) keeps you from getting lost and wondering where to go next.
+ Saved slots are indicated with the location and play-time you saved at, along with your difficulty level and health, making it easy to remember which file to load among multiple saves.
Whoever crafted the controls and usability/accessibility features of this game deserves the gaming industry's most prestigious award and recognition. For all the different gameplay elements, the controls always feel fluid and familiar. Most of us play a variety of games, so familiarizing ourselves with a new game's control scheme (or re-familiarizing ourselves with an old favorite later) can be rough. Darksiders takes this pain away by keeping the controls simple and always displaying the appropriate controller button on-screen next to each actionable icon. Many gamers buy or rent used games that don't come with instruction manuals, and thankfully Darksiders can be quickly and easily grasped without ever laying eyes on a manual. Awesome, powerful attack combos can be pulled off with merely a couple button-presses. The on-screen tips (which are saved in a log accessible via the paused game's options screen) walk you through every step of the way. Any action that consumes resources (like a magical attack that use up your wrath meter) requires two buttons to be pressed simultaneously, so you never accidentally slip and hit the wrong button and waste your resources.
If you've played other popular contemporary action/adventure games, you'll likely find familiar gameplay elements here. Darksiders pays homage to the most fun aspects in popular gaming while leaving OUT the frustrations that are too common in most other games. Most thankfully, Darksiders AVOIDS the maddening handicaps that too many other games rely on to inject what I call 'artificial challenge:'
- Few and far-between save points (sometimes real life happens - the phone rings, a visitor knocks at the door, dinner's ready, etc. - and you don't have an hour to play until the next save point).
- Only allowing one save file (preventing you from having multiple games in-progress, or reverting to an earlier save point).
- Pathetic defense (no ability to block incoming attacks, limited ability to dodge incoming attacks, limited opportunity to take cover, etc.).
- Leaving you helplessly stunned/paralyzed and vulnerable for a brief period after sustaining damage, allowing enemies to endlessly juggle you to death.
- Convoluted control schemes and complex combo moves that are too long or tricky to reliably execute in the heat of battle.
- Scarce resources (never any health or ammo around when you need it).
- Obstructive camera perspectives that obscure your view of the action.
- Requiring you to swim through areas while only giving you very limited breath.
- Defeated enemies release floating orbs for you to collect, but you must be in very close proximity to receive them (I'm here to kick butt, not chase butterflies).
- Performing an attack move (or being attacked) too close to a ledge causes you to fall off that ledge.
- Falling off a ledge is an instant game-over, restarting you at a prior point.
+++ Darksiders does NOT punish the player with ANY of these buzz-kills. If you ever felt like throwing your game controller through your television out of frustration from cheap shots like this that other games shamelessly and repeatedly hit you with, then Darksiders will soothe those old wounds and renew your joy of gaming. Darksiders is by no means lacking in challenge, but it lets you focus on battling bad guys WITHOUT battling short-sighted, penalizing game mechanics. Darksiders doesn't keep finding cheap ways to end the fun and hinder your progress like many other games do. EVERY game developer should take serious notes on how smoothly and accessibly Darksiders flows for the player.
I have a hard time coming up with even minor things I would change about Darksiders:
- I've become spoiled the last few years on the auto-regenerating health systems that many popular games have, so I wish Darksiders didn't require the player to find health-replenishing items (although it partially compensates for this by providing plenty of health pick-ups and a weapon modifier that gives you a little health boost every time you inflict damage on enemies).
- I wish the enemies and bosses displayed a health meter so I could see how much damage my attacks are inflicting (to find the most effective attacks) and know how close (or far) I am to defeating an enemy.
- The screen that lists your available attacks for each weapon does not indicate what level each attack has been upgraded to (the only way to know is to check what the next level available for purchase is at a shop).
- The shop/purchase screen does not give you a last-minute confirming ('Are you sure you wish to buy this item?') back-out option when you buy something, so don't hit that 'buy' button accidentally.
- The shop/purchase screen does not show you how many of a particular item you may already be carrying in your inventory.
- While the 360-degree moveable camera perspective is great, I wish the speed/sensitivity of the camera movement was adjustable (sometimes I want to whip the camera around faster to get a view of something, but again, Darksiders partially compensates for this with the 'lock-on/focus' trigger that instantly resets the camera to the direction you're character is facing).
- There's a combo meter that counts your consecutive hits during fights, but I haven't seen any reward system that ties to racking up long combos (so why count them?).
- The only technical glitch I've noticed so far is some graphical screen-tearing.
Do yourself a favor and play Darksiders, and wrap yourself in a cozy blanket of fun, frustration-free action/adventure gaming. Do the gaming world a favor and buy this game to promote this kind of development so that future games will follow the fine example Darksiders sets. Vigil, please make sequels (and/or other games) that keep the same gamer-friendly spirit of Darksiders. Darksiders is not just a game - it's a gift to gamers.
on January 14, 2010
Why this game is Awesome.
I love this game. The graphics are great, the story is straightforward yet compelling, the combat is amazing, and the puzzles are challenging. Darksiders is a terrific game and a blast to play. All of the negative comments seem to be based on the fact that it is like "Prince of Persia, with elements of Zelda and God of War mixed in" or something to that effect. Well, I have never played any of those games, so to me it is just a great game. Imagine if someone told you a new movie was out that had the story and character motivation of The Lord of the Rings, the space battles of Star Trek II The Wrath of Kahn, and the hyperkinetic light saber fights of Revenge of the Sith. Now imagine you had never seen any of those. You would probably think it was an awesome film. That is Darksiders. Don't listen to the negatives. This is a great game, and more to the point, really fun and enjoyable to play, which is what a game should be.
on January 19, 2010
I was first interested in this game because it was well received by a few review sites, but was hesitant to pick it up because hasn't this all been done before?
Darksiders is an immersive and fun game that stands on its own merits as a game you want to play. I am having a blast with it and hope that more will support Vigil on their freshman venture so we can see some more from them. The controls are easy for novice's like myself while there are more advances combos that veterans will enjoy, but the end result is the same, destruction and lots of it!
The graphics, controls and voice acting are top notch. The load times on the 360 are short as well.
Go pick it up, if you like action games this is a must have!
on January 24, 2010
Purchased on Sat Jan 16th
I almost didn't get this game due to some of the bad reviews, but I figured I would give it a shot. I personally LIKE when a game has familiar controls or a style because it is easier for me to slide into playing rather than learning the controls (Too Human took forever to get used to!). This game reminded me a lot of God of War, which being one of my favorite games, was not a bad thing at all. Over all, I really enjoyed the entire game play experience and even the storyline. Usually I just fast button through the cut scenes but this time I wanted to know what was going on. I liked that there was a load of things to find but that they weren't all totally necessary for the end game. Sure there are the achievements, but spending hours checking and rechecking every location for the one item out of 30 you missed is boring. Some of the puzzles got a bit confusing, but nothing was so hard that I gave up (The first boss fight was a personal nightmare for me though).
Overall, this has quickly become one of my favorite games that I can easily see having a lot of replay even if it is just to ride around and kill bad guys.
on March 25, 2011
I love this game. It's just fun (something game devs nowadays forget is core to a game's success... It can't just look pretty). There are problem-solving elements in the game in certain areas that reminded me of old school Tomb Raider for PS1 that help break up the pace a bit. Brings a lot of elements from games like Dante's Inferno and GoW (in a good way).
For as cheap as the game was (brand new) this was a gem of a find for me. Loved playing it.
on January 14, 2010
Just an awesome game. Not quite as many puzzles as Zelda, and not as many combos as God of War, but when combined it creates a whole new beast. Yeah, there are some bugs, and yeah, sometimes the difficulty curve can spike, but it's still a great ride. You won't be disappointed by anything but the fact that the sequel does not yet exist.
on April 29, 2011
I was looking for a new Xbox game to try, and, after reading some reviews, went with Darksiders. I got the game for under $20, and my expectations were not high, but this game pleasantly reminded me of Zelda in terms of its overarching game-play, while adding a much more diverse and enjoyable combat system. It is as complex as you want it to be, with multiple moves and weapons available, but not necessary.
The story is not terribly involved, but the dialogue often makes me smirk, and some of the sections of the game - namely, acquiring a blaster gun and War's horse - are fun to no end. At this price, I'd recommend it to anyone who remotely likes the action-adventure genre.
on May 19, 2011
Got this game as a present for a friend. Watched them play it a bit. We both agree it's possibly one of the most well made games ever. It's dark, it's mystical its engaging and you get to play a total BAMF. The only downside was that the game was pretty short. Finished in just 2 nights of play. However, if you like adventure games and dark mystical games, this is so worth the buy.