Review by horror_spooky
"The Legend of Kratos: Ocarina of DEATH!!!"
The Legend of Zelda. God of War. Both series have garnered millions of fans and have been generally heralded by gamers everywhere as some of the finest examples of excellence the gaming industry has produced. Both have been labeled as system sellers by their respective publishers and rivals, Nintendo and Sony. Both have provided unforgettable gameplay experiences for their masses. So, what would happen if you took the Zelda formula and threw it in a blender with God of War? You'd probably get something that looks a little bit like Darksiders.
Darksiders is truly a hybrid. The game's action segments feel almost exactly like God of War or Devil May Cry while the exploration elements and puzzle segments are clearly inspired by Zelda. That's all fine and good. I like God of War, and I'm absolutely in love with Zelda. But as I've come to find out, a lot of times these hybrid-genres tend to do some things wrong, and Darksiders, well, it does some things wrong.
The action segments are actually the worst part of Darksiders. They can be fun and the combat isn't strenuous or anything, but it just is a bit repetitive and uninspired. If you've played any sort of third-person action game, you'll know exactly what to expect from this, and that's disappointing. Some of the battles just last way too long and become irritating, and it's a shame that the combat takes up most of the game.
However, there are some bright sides to the action. If you play the game in short bursts, you won't even feel the repetition at all, and there's some interesting things you can do that you can't do in most games like this. For example, you can throw cars at your gigantic demonic enemies if you so wish. Makes Link shooting rocks at animals seem a bit on the weak side doesn't it?
I'm not trying to discredit Zelda because after all, some of the best parts in Darksiders feels like they directly lifted them from Link's adventures in Hyrule. Puzzles are very reminiscent to Zelda, tasking you to explore dungeon-like levels, find a new item, and then start using the new item in unique ways to solve these puzzles. The exploration element is fine as well, and there's a level of customization sprinkled on top that really gives Darksiders an extra edge.
Aw, but I have to go back to a few more negative aspects regarding the game. The controls aren't the greatest. They won't cause any huge problems most of the time, except for puzzles that require precision or during hectic battles with multiple kinds of enemies that require you to switch between your weapons quickly. They'll take a while getting used to, but it's worth getting over that hurdle if you can.
Darksiders is nothing special when it comes to the storyline. The characters are interesting and original, except for War, the main character. There's just nothing about him that will make him that memorable. Basically, the apocalypse is going down, except War was the only horseman that has been awakened, and he needs to figure out why and what's going on. Like I said, it's nothing groundbreaking and the game takes itself too seriously a lot of the time, but it's still interesting enough to give the gameplay a purpose.
Most of the environments are uninspired, boring, and plain ugly. The cel-shaded visuals aren't to blame, but it seems that the developers just didn't spend much time trying to make the world come alive. It's mostly just concrete and dilapidated buildings. Don't get me wrong, there are very imaginative areas in Darksiders and the character models are fantastic, but it definitely could've done more. Which brings me to my next point involving the visuals, the absolutely horrid framerate. Darksiders has, hands down, the worst framerate I have seen in a seventh generation video game. It'll drive you absolutely batty, and it's a shame that this problem is featured so heavily in Darksiders as it is otherwise a solid title.
Voice acting is nothing to go crazy about either, but it's not bad by any means. War sounds a bit corny, but the side characters are exemplified very well and are very entertaining. The background music has a nice epic feel to it and the soundtrack is solid throughout. It doesn't break any boundaries, but at least the audio isn't as bland as the graphics are.
Darksiders will run you about ten to fifteen hours, but after that there are still achievements to unlock, multiple difficulty levels, and there's even cheats, a gaming tradition that has been forgotten lately, to mess around with. You'll have fun with Darksiders without a doubt, but it's certainly no God of War and it's certainly no Zelda. Fans of both series will enjoy the game regardless though, but it's best suited as a weekend rental as opposed to a retail purchase. If only the framerate was fixed, the gameplay was more refined, and the storyline was given a shot of adrenaline, then Darksiders would be able to stand tall like the game series that caused its creation.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/12/10
Game Release: Darksiders (US, 01/05/10)
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