Darksiders PS3 Review

Publisher: THQ  Developer: Vigil Games  Genre: Hack & Slash, Action, Adventure  Players: 1

Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox 360, Wii U

Both Zelda and God of War are some of gaming’s most revered of franchises; and as a result they’ve been imitated, but their mechanics have rarely appeared side by side as a concoction in a single game. Darksiders, though, is a hybrid of the two games and could almost be their child, if such a thing were possible.

The story is certainly more along the lines of God of War than Zelda. It’s a very dark affair, with a revenge fuelled central character in War (one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), who is accused of being the instigator for the destruction of mankind. It’s a reasonable enough story with strong voice acting, but it’s certainly not one of the stronger facets of the game.

After the plot exposition has done its part in setting up the events of the game, the first thing you’ll experience on an interactive level is the combat. This is very much reminiscent of God of War, being visually vicious (War can easily compete with Kratos in the brutality sense) and very accessible, with not a single complex combo string to input. One key difference to Sony’s game is the addition of firearms, though the focus is undoubtedly still on the melee combat.

Another similarly to God of War, comes once you vanquish enemies and are rewarded with items, which essentially function as currency to attain new fighting manoeuvres or handy items with. Unlike Sony’s game, though, War’s weapons will level up through use and can even be enhanced with particular items.

Whilst we’re on the subject of combat, there’s the occasional boss encounter which aren’t the most memorable and can’t hope to compete with the bosses from both the games’ primary inspirations, but are still enjoyable enough to fight.

Outside of combat, you’ll be traversing through Zelda style dungeon environments, solving puzzles, sometimes with items that you receive through progression of the game, just as you do in Nintendo’s legendary series. The puzzles range in difficulty and quality, but largely are at their best and most prevalent in the later stages of the game.

Gaining important items also allows you to backtrack to previously inaccessible areas to unearth rewards such as health shards or weapon enhancements. This is satisfying and well worth the effort and also a good way to gain some additional hours from an already reasonably proportioned game.

From a technical sense, Darksiders is far from mind blowing and has a few technical caveats such as tearing in the PS3 version and frame rate issues in both which further compounds this fact. The comic inspired art style holds a great deal of appeal, though, and rises above such problems.

Darksiders is a game of brain and brawn and both contrasting sides are executed with superb efficiency, if not quite to the level of quality of a Zelda or God of War game. But there’s certainly a great alternative on offer for devotees of either and if you have a love for both series’, you’ll cherish Darksiders all the more.