Darksiders found an immediate following upon its release in 2012. Given that following, it’s no surprise that it was given the remaster treatment. Darksiders’ Warmastered edition brings over the Zelda-esque dungeon crawling and the God of War style combat into a much more beautiful world than that of the original. The colors are brighter and the textures are more clear, but the game is not without a handful of fairly serious flaws.
For those who are new to the franchise, Darksiders takes place in a world where heaven and hell have reached an uneasy peace at the hands of a group known only as The Counsel. The Counsel is a force for balance, believing that any power, good or evil, if left unchecked, would lead to chaos. The Counsel enforced this truce with the promise of retribution on the side that broke it at the hands of the four horsemen. The horsemen serve as the enforcers of the counsel, and fear of their immense power was enough to keep the balance for many centuries. Upon hearing the call that the balance had been broken, the horseman of War appears on earth to find a war broken out between angels and demons, with humanity caught in the crossfire. Events transpire that cause War to lose the majority of his power and send him back to the counsel where he is scolded for breaking the balance. It appears as though War has been blamed for breaking the balance and destroying humanity in the process. It is at this point that the game begins.
Upon completing the tutorial mission, The cutscene that contains the inciting incident for the game played, and about three quarters of the way through it, the scene just stopped. I was somewhere in the world, tasked with doing… something? Then I realized that the audio of the cutscene was still playing over my gameplay, so at this point I was simply standing around, waiting to hear some sort of instruction; instruction made even more difficult to hear by the combat I had since become engaged in since I was dropped in the middle of a group of demons. After hearing where I was going I began making my way there and immediately noticed how over responsive the camera was. Unlike the Zelda titles it takes inspiration from, Darksiders’ camera has no fixed point. It constantly follows behind you, in combat or otherwise unless you lock onto an enemy. The lock on system is very similar to the Z-Targeting introduced in Ocarina of Time. Forgive me for the Zelda comparisons, but it is the closest thing to the way Darksiders plays. The lock on system zooms in more than traditional targeting and as a result can often times blind you to the environment around you, so your options are to either fight with a disorienting camera that spins every time you make a slight change in direction, or zoom in on a specific enemy and risk taking hits from enemies you can no longer see.
Faults aside, Darksiders Warmastered captures the fun of the first game in the bright colors and polished textures you would expect form a modern game. If it weren’t for the intrusive technical issues, Darksiders Warmastered would seperate itself as a great game with a unique story and fun, if a little limited, level design. During some points of the game you will be asked to kill demons in order to lift a curse on a being blocking the way so that he can move and let you by. Unlike most other demons in the game however, you can’t simply hack these to pieces. Instead, you have to complete a challenge such as “use ‘X’ move to kill ‘Y’ enemy” which is fun for the first couple of the dozen plus times it has to be done. One of my only mechanical problems with Darksiders is the fast travel system. You can bribe a demon to open a portal to allow you to travel to different regions of the map, but there’s a catch. Unlike traditional travel which immediately take you to a selected location. Darksiders makes you navigate a arbitrary path with nonsensical stairs until you reach the other end of the portal. It’s a minor complaint but can be very annoying. All things Considered, Darksiders Warmastered Edition is a good, not great, action game whose homages to classic titles make it a nice nostalgic trip to a simpler time in games
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