In DarkSiders, you are War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Along with the rest of the Horsemen, your sole duty is to be summoned to the Earth once the final battle of Armageddon between Heaven and Hell begins on Earth. The 4 Horsemen have no allegiances except to bring order by the rule of The Charred Council, whose purpose is to maintain the balance between the two forces. The 4 Horsemen are to remain off in the distance and the seven sacred seals are broken, that will trigger “the call” and it will then be upon them to do their duty. War hears that “call” and charges to Earth to pass final judgment and maintain the balance once Armageddon has begun. When War reaches earth a great battle between Heaven and Hell is all ready raging, but for some reason his 3 brothers are not there. Did they not hear the call he wonders, but the question that drives the whole game becomes, “Did he actually hear it”? After all who would want to bring on Apocalypse early?
I have to commend the team at Vigil the games is very well done and doesn’t try to be something that it’s not. As far as War goes, as a horsemen he was the holder of great power but after being suspected of bringing on the Apocalypse early he is stripped of most of his power and as the game progresses you will begin to reacquire more skills and power. War’s primary weapon is the Chaoseater, a huge sword that has fallen more than its far share angels and demons alike. The combat control scheme is perfectly designed for the way the game is played. When it comes to combat using handheld weapons like the sword and other weapons, one or two buttons will let you pull of the majority of the combos, simple and effective. Through the course of the game War acquires other types of weapons like a cross-blade that can be thrown to not only target multiple enemies at once but which can also be imbued with environmental properties such as fire.
The true test of any combat system like this though is how it performs in boss battle combat. I am happy to report that even against bosses you don’t feel yourself at a disadvantage as far as from a control aspect. The bosses are huge, the battles insane if not a little longer than I would have liked, but in the end very satisfying. The first boss you will encounter is Tiamat, she flies, she spits fireballs and it took me about 10 tries and hour to beat her so there is no working you way up as far as boss battles go and they only get harder from there. Before I close out the subject of combat I want to make a quick point about the comparisons some have made between Darksiders and the God Of War franchise. In any franchise that has been as successful as the GOW one has, people will take inspiration and the folks at Vigil did, but it’s not the same by any means. God Of War made the real-time button combo famous, but as I wrote in another piece a while back it wasn’t the first. In Darksiders, you will see the buttons appear over enemies just as in GOW but unlike God Of War, that one button triggers the whole action. It’s not as interactive as GOW but in all honesty it doesn’t have to be and trust me the final kills are no less satisfying to watch, to be honest it was kind of nice to have it happen that way so that I could actually watch the awesome kill scenes instead of having to make sure I pressed the right button at the right time.
As the game progresses, players will have the ability to purchase gear and ability upgrades from the demon Vulgrim who’s price is the souls of the dead that War collects throughout his journey.
There was indeed very little to dislike about DarkSiders, perhaps my biggest issue was with the puzzles. They were very smartly done, but perhaps too smartly sometimes leaving players what to do next. The maps are huge and as you might imagine you will find yourself coming back through the same areas multiple times because you can’t remember which door went where.
In the big picture, DarkSiders was an awesome way to start of the New Year and if Vigil really does plan on turning this into a franchise as has been rumored then we can’t wait for the sequel. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that if developed properly, people might one days mention War in the same breath as the great Kratos of GOW fame. DarkSiders takes inspiration some of the greatest games of yester year all the while carving out an identity that is all its own and for that we give DarkSiders 8.5 out of 10.