Monday, October 14, 2013


Because nothing quite says Halloween like the Four Horsemen, angels, demons, the apocalypse and the complete and utter destruction of mankind. It's Darksiders! Available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. Darksiders was developed by Vigil Games–

Vigil. Not Virgil.

And published by THQ. You play as War, the first of the Four Horsemen who answers the call to bring about judgment to the world only to find that the other three members of the Horsemen are nowhere to be found. Turns out he was the only one summoned and now stands accused of breaking the alliance between demons and angels. Sounds like War could do with a good lawyer. I'll contract Wright & co. office immediately.

War manages to convince the Charred Council, creators of the Four Horsemen and keeper of the balance between heaven and hell, to let him go find the one responsible and is left in the care of The Watcher, a warden demon assigned with keeping the Horseman in check, voiced by none other than everyone's favorite Joker, Mark Hamill.

The opening cut-scene is beautiful, just beautiful. I honestly feel like I'm watching a CGI animated film when I'm watching it. It sets up the basic premise for the story and easily pulls us into this world like our own. Then the scene ends and you're treated to the gameplay graphics that are such a downgrade. This isn't anything new in video games, but it does take some adjusting after being blown away by the initial opening visuals.

Darksiders gives me Devil May Cry vibes, and I mean that in a good way. The two games are in the same genre and have similar, yet different elements between them, so it's easy to make the connection. The game succeeds in being engaging right from the get-go, and that's important if you want to draw in new players. You fight a range of enemies such as a variety of ground demons, giant bats, etc.

In addition to your hands and signature weapon, you can transform into War's Chaos form, which is pretty much a big fiery force of destruction resistant to most things that gets taken away from you at the start after you've had your fun. The developers of the game must have played Castlevania: Sympathy of the Night.

Whenever an enemy is close to defeat you can press the B button to kill them instantly. This triggers an animation of War killing that enemy in horrible, horrible ways.

The story revolves around three kingdoms, Heaven, Hell, Man. Heaven and Hell have been at each other's throats for years until the Charred Council chose to step in to play mediator. They created the Four Horsemen, War, Death, Strife, and Fury to enforce their laws between the two kingdoms to keep the universe from imploding, pretty much. While humans weren't seen to be particularly strong (THANKS OBAMA!), they were cunning and intelligent, the Council recognized their importance in the fate of the kingdoms, creating the Seven Seals to be broken when man was ready for the Endwar where the Horsemen would unleash their judgment on Earth. The Seventh Seal was not broken when War arrived, and the Kingdom of Hell overwhelmed an unprepared Kingdom of Man, and Heaven, led by the Destroyer who took the Earth and now War is (pun in-coming) on the war path to make the Destroyer pay for his crimes. Yeah! Go, War!

Returning to Earth after his conversation with the Council, we discover that it had been a full century since he was here. Jeez, time really flies at the Council's place. That must be where the Sherlock fanbase goes in-between seasons.

It's a big world out there, and a lot of places aren't going to be reachable until you regain many of War's lost weapons. The world is separated in three different locations with the Scalding Gallow acting as a hub for new missions and routes to take as you progress.

You have simple standard moves that only require pressing one button like Forehand Strike, Return Slash, Double Slash, and Reverse Backhand Strike with War's sword. Then you have ground moves where you need to hold down a button to perform like Sword Uppercut, or Sky Scraper. Aerial moves can be a little more complicated like Meteor Strike where you need to tap A then the left stick at the same time as RB. Memorizing combos are important as with any good Hack and Slash they can make all the difference.

Early on in the game you're commanded to seek out Vulgrim, a demon trader who can assist you on your quest. In exchange for his goods, he requires souls which acts as currency. Souls can be earned by slaying enemies, and depending on how you slay those enemies will determine what kind of souls you get. You can also give him ancient artifacts as he'll, to quote the demon himself “Make it worth your while.” Think him as the Merchant, only he's relevant to the on-going story at hand.

You aren't just limited to the two-handed sword you start off with. Further into the game you find other weapons including a scythe and a gauntlet. One of the other gear items that qualifies as a weapon asides from the Crossblade is Mercy, a revolver you'll acquire further down the road in the game that is War's own personal pistol. You even get a horse, Ruin, that can allow for faster travel throughout the world and assist War with combos and stronger attacks when dealing with enemies later on in the game.

At the beginning you have the Chaoseater, the clothes on your back and your friendly neighborhood Watcher as you navigate through a set of linear and non-linear passages on your way to the Destroyer, but you can't be expected to fight your way through everything. You'll also have to solve puzzles, which some times requires a certain item, an object being moved, so on and so forth. War can navigate the world further by climbing up and down roots, scaling pipes, sliding across ledges, and going across wires. Some times you'll have to jump and glide to get to certain areas making the game feel like a platform. He can even swim! Attacking still works when you're both climbing, hanging on pipes and ledges, and while underwater, so you'd never know when you could run into enemies.

Did I mention you can throw objects? Is there a large demon blocking your path? No worries, throw a freaking police car at it! I wonder if insurance would cover that? Another object you can throw are called sticky bombs, which are either already lit and set to explode, or needs to be lited up by a torch in order to prove useful. Once you get the Crossblade, you can even better aim your throws. One of the gear items you get early on in the game is the blow horn named Earthcaller. This allows you to open up gates which are really large, living statues sworn to work for the Destroyer. It's also pretty handy in pushing some enemies away when they get too close.

There are bonus stages that require completing a specific task to complete for currency. It's introduced once you get around to the second guardian that needs freed. At any time during gameplay you can summon the Watcher, who will show up and provide dialog and offer tips to aid War on his journey, or just make fun of you. He'll also lead you in the right direction by getting a head start on you and saying, “Over here!” but will he help you in a brawl? Of course not! You're War, deal with it >.>

Further on in in the game War will jump on the back of a winged horse where you have an aerial battle flying through the sky and fighting angels, demons, and a dragon that'll block your path near the end. Certain enemies, like the angels, will fire energy balls at you that automatically lock onto War, so if you want to get rid of them you have to shoot them down before they reach you. It's actually a really fun part of the game, up until that last part with the dragon (it's always a dragon >.>)

I think I've covered a good amount of the gameplay, so let's go over our characters.

War: The star of our show, War, is portrayed as a no-nonsense honorable warrior feared by angels and demons alike. Preferring to cut to the chase in conversation and only speaking when needed. A lot about War's past is left unexplored, but he possesses a poor history with many who would like to see him dead.

The Watcher: Then we have our sick, twisted and sadistic Watcher who relishes in the fact that War has to behave in his presence or be crushed. Not much is known about the character overall except that he served the Council for a long time and continues to serves them faithfully.

Uriel: Loyal and devoted warrior of Abaddon, as well as unrequited love interest, Uriel is one of the few remaining angels left that continues to fight against the demons on Earth, and search for War, who they blame for the Kingdom of Heaven's current state and Abaddon's death.

Vulgrim: As mentioned earlier, Vulgrim is your merchant in the game and a demon so twisted and detestable with schemes falling out of his ass that it's doubtful he even trusts himself. He has no real honor to speak of (no honor among demons) and will do anything to devour the souls he desires. War reluctantly requires his services throughout the course of the game.

Abaddon: Former leader of the Hellguard, and the greatest warrior to come out of Heaven, Abaddon hates demon kind with a passion and fought bravely for the Kingdom of Heaven for many, many years. Before most of us were even born. He is presumed dead at the beginning of the game during hell's march on Earth.

Azrael: Azrael is the narrator at the beginning of the game, and the archangel of death. Like a sage, Azrael has a great array of knowledge and wisdom and is tasked with guarding important places like the Well of Souls and the ruins of Eden. He has a great love and care for the earth and feels remorse for the role he plays leading up to the events in the game and will gladly await and accept War's judgment.

Ulthane: Ulthane is said to be older than both Heaven and Hell and has no interest in their war, and will even battle anyone from either kingdom if they gave him a reason to, laughing at their threats of death. He is revered as a weapons maker to such an extent that even the Destroyer fears the weapons he creates and prefers battles be one on one and without interruption. Battles he treat more like a competition. Looking past his humor he does see some serious development in the part he has to play in the progressing story.

The Charred Council: The Charred Council are represented in the form of three stone heads, and each head exhibits a different personality and holds a different role although the exact number of Council members are unknown. The first head can be harsh towards War, the second head pretty much questions everything that it presented to him, and the third head is probably the most fair in the course of actions he offers and in his wisdom.

The Destroyer: The primary target in War's judgment, and the one responsible for the elimination of the humans and most of heaven's forces. The identity of the Destroyer is shrouded in mystery and the only way to find out who it is once and for all is to get to him.

Each character plays their role to a tee, and the voice acting is top notch in all the places it needs to be.

As you probably guess by now, the world takes a lot of inspiration from characters in Christian mythology and puts its own spin on them. I really would recommend taking the time to explore as much of it as you can instead of just rushing to each new objective as they come. The game has been compared to Devil May Cry, God of War, and the Legend of Zelda, and after spending enough time playing the game it's easy to see why.

I never thought I would be able to say this about any game I reviewed, but I cannot find a single fault in this game. The characters are compelling, the lore is fascinating, the world is enriching and deserving of as much exploration as you can get out of it, the combat is fun and exciting, and the story is great. Darksiders just does everything that it needs to do in order to provide a fun experience for the player, and if you like any of the things that was mentioned here then I would definitely recommend giving it a try for yourself.

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  1. I finally had the time to buy the latest game to be released in the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC market, which is Darksiders 2. The first Darksiders game was kind of fun, so I have high hopes for the game. Who wouldn't? If you've seen the trailers in YouTube, you'll definitely be expecting that Darksiders 2 is going to be another gritty, dark, and flat out amazing!

    Well then, let's start with the introductions. After the first game, War is somehow captured and imprisoned for the actions he did. Death, the protagonist for Darksiders 2, does not believe that his brother could do such things as he considered him an honorable Horseman of the Apocalypse. Well, I'd consider War honorable for all the beating he did during the first game. LOL. In any case, the time period isn't very different from War's but there is little to no narrative in this game. That works for me, since I am not exactly keen with games that has long storylines and dialogues.

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    1. Darksiders 2 is on my 'to own' list. So far everyone I talked to had told me it's better than the first. With any luck we'll get a game for each Horsemen.