Darksiders

by bhayden
27. February 2013 22:18

There are few things more dangerous than the Steam Summer and Winter sales to a man that collects video games.  Darksiders was a game that had been on and off my list at various points as I culled my wish lists.  Then this Holiday sale there was the THQ pack on Steam.  Catnip meet cat. 

I should start by saying that I love angel and demon based lore.  I eat it up.  Few forms of mythos get me as excited as Heaven vs. Hell.  I have no real explanations for this.

There are many things necessary to create a great game.  There is art, there is sound, there is gameplay and all the things that bring it together.  This game has atmosphere in spades.  There is a richness in world and lore that’s conveyed in small bits and pieces.  The artwork is simply outstanding.  Of all the things that I'll remember about this game, the way it looks will be foremost among what I remember.

The game is Zelda, basically.  It’s Zelda with an uptake of violence.  Instead of Link, you are War, one of the Four Horsemen.  Its take on the End of Days might be one of my favorites ever.  War is a man on a murderous rampage and he delights and ripping things apart.  As he should, he’s War after all.

I haven’t played a Zelda game since Wind Waker, and there’s a reason for that.  The triforce hunt on that stupid sail boat ruined what was an otherwise solid game. Zelda is one of the trailblazers, and if homage provided money to Nintendo’s coffers they’d be rich.  This is pure homage, with a bit of extra combat through in.

Homage can be taken too far.  At times it feels the game drags, that by trying to mimic their inspiration the developers forgot to trim and hone.  Whereas a game like Batman maintained its precision, this game could’ve used a bit more tightening.  It’s a game that tries very hard to be great, but doesn’t quite make it.  There is no shame in making a good game, but when you mimic the steps of giants you have to either be as large as them or strike out on your own.  You bow with respect and walk beside them, or climb their shoulders and hope you don’t fall off.

With the disintegration of THQ, the makers of Darksiders were not sold.  This makes me sad.  I know there is a sequel for me to play, but it seems like this tale will be left untold.  When I watched the ending cinematic I got a bit of the chills at War’s closing line, “Not alone.”  It’s a shame that we might never see the end of this.  The making of a great series is here and in an industry that needs new series I’m left wondering what could have been.

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