DARKSIDERS / THQ / PC
 
 
Darksiders is a tryhard fantasy-themed game for Dewbros in the manner of God of War. In fact, it pretty much straight-up rips off God Of War; you're the God of Horseman of the Apocalypse War, on some vague mumbly quest that isn't really introduced very well but has angels and demons fighting and eventually you're told to either break or get the Seven Seals of Sinbad or something like that. That's the other thing, I'd heard from various message boards and such that it rips off Zelda, too. Which was the only thing keeping me hanging in there after an hour of tedious, linear, wholly scripted God Of War-esque gameplay. Certain Nerds of the Interweb have been insisting that this is "Zelda done better."

Pfffffffffffffffffft.
 


It does resemble Zelda in the concepts it pirates - mostly, the array of sub-weapons (from multi-hit boomerang to grappling hook to horsey), and some outright lifted dungeon puzzles - but not so much in structure. There's a sort of little hub world that connects all the levels, but it's nothing like the sprawling worlds of Hyrule we usually see out of Nintendo. Nor is there really any charm or life, just a bunch of demons and undead to hack away at in the usual grimdark manner. You talk to this one demon at the center of the hub that eats the delicious souls you collect (which can be found in furniture, who knew) in return for upgrades, but that's about it for NPCs in the Darksiders world.
 


The bulk of our time is spent in combat, and unfortunately the game is not up to snuff here. Your basic attack consists simply of mashing X repeatedly, with a slippery dash move that is semi-useful for ducking away from the big boy enemies. You seem to either be up against smaller enemies whom there is really no other approach than to mash repeatedly, or big enemies that are giant damage sponges that never get stunned, knock back or react in any way to your attacks. In the former case, there's no challenge, and in the latter case, they're only challenging if they dole out a lot of damage or come in big groups, but are immensely tedious to take down either way. Eventually you get some items and spells that give you more abilities, but these tend to be overpowered and just make combat more and more of a joke as you proceed. The only challenge is in having the patience to sit through the tedious pattern-based boss battles with the heavily telegraphed attacks, and the periods where they summon minions and then stand there being invincible until you tediously dispatch them all.
 


I'm left with the impression that the prime target demo here was the people who liked Michael Bay's Transformers and/or took 300 seriously. It's a "console" game through and through, in what that has come to mean in the modern era - a game seemingly designed entirely by a marketing department and aimed squarely at near-braindead Dew chuggers. Shame as it actually has a very nice-looking world and somewhat of an interesting core concept; could have been like playing a hacky-slashy Zelda adventure in the Shin Megami Tensei universe or something, had it been handled better. Instead we get terrible dumbed-down combat, clumsy platforming, boring ripped-off puzzles, and stupid dudebro dialogue and posturing instead of an actual coherent story. It's really more like a modernized Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver than anything else.
 
                                                                  Totally not the Triforce bru
 
 
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