Darksiders’ formula might be derivative, but that doesn’t make it less fun to play.
To the observant eye, Darksiders seems like a simple formula that combines elements from popular games such as The Legend of Zelda, Devil May Cry, Portal and God of War. Darksiders influences are always apparent, but you shouldn’t miss this action-adventure game because it’s derivative. On the contrary, Darksiders is a well put together title that pays homage to some of the best games and it does so convincingly and interestingly.
In Darksiders, you plays as Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, after he’s sent to Earth during Judgement Day. Soon after you start wreaking havoc, you’re stripped of all your powers and abilities and you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world. This warrior brotherhood (which has four members: War, Death, Strife and Fury) are supposed to intervene whenever order and balance is needed in the ongoing war between Heaven, Hell and the Kingdom of Man. Now that the truce between the three kingdoms has been broken, Death needs to reestablish peace once again before this war annihilates humans and the forces of both Heaven and Hell.
The game’s divided into different sections that are presented in the form of dungeons. Most dungeons follow the same pattern, you defeat a bunch of enemies, level up your character, improve your equipment, purchase new attacks from a mysterious vendor, explore your surroundings, solve some simplistic puzzles, fight a boss and repeat the process in a new setting. For the most part, this formula works remarkably well and the game remains entertaining for the 15 hours it takes to complete it. Also, as you progress through the game, your gear and equipment gets better and better. You unlock everything from a gun, cross-blade, chain and even a portal gun that allows you to navigate some of the mazes.
So the fact that I chose to describe Darksiders as a combination of some games might sound like a convenient and reductive explanation, but in this case, it’s also fitting. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and it seems like the person who said that expression definitely played this game. Darksiders is so similar to The Legend of Zelda, Portal and God of War that not only will you think “that reminds me of that game”, but also, “I can’t believe that the developers got away with that without getting sued.” That said, the end result is an enjoyable title, and although derivative, it’s always fun to play.
There are a few issues here and there. The camera has problems displaying the action in small environments which is maddening when you’re trying to solve puzzles or fight enemies. At times, I couldn’t play the game for short stretches of time because it felt like I wasn’t making progress at all. In addition, Darksiders isn’t a particularly challenging as some of its peers. That doesn’t mean that the game is completely devoid of challenge and while I certainly appreciated the game’s frustration-free approach, players looking for a more demanding game should look elsewhere.
At its core, Darksiders might seem like a combination of different games, but this action-role-playing game hack and slash adventure has solid voice acting, high replayability, exquisite combat and a world that’s always entertaining to explore.