Darksiders tells the tale of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who are to ride forth at the time of the Endwar between the Kingdoms of Heaven, Earth and Hell. The Four are charged with judging the wicked and ensuring the balance between the warring factions. The only problem is that something has broken the truce and caused War to be called to the battlefield prematurely, thereby upsetting the very equilibrium he is supposed to enforce.
Thus the stage is set for the Darksiders story, one full of tried-and-true gameplay gems. The presentation is solid, and the gameplay is fairly well polished if not inventive. I particularly liked the art style, but ocassionally wished for more depth to the environments. I also enjoyed the armored and steampunk-esque design to the forces of Heaven. The storyline is intriguing, especially for those familiar with the varied mythos that the game pulls its elements from.
The button-mashing, slash-’em-up gameplay is standard fare for its genre, sitting alongside Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, God Of War, etc., but the usual finger-contorting key and button combinations are eschewed in favor of a simple one-or-two-button-pressed-multiple-times scheme. The simplicity of the attacks allows you to focus on the mobs, which can be quite numerous at times. Which brings me to one of my complaints: the camera. It is too close to the action. There were many times that I wished for a bit more distance from the action so that I could gain a bit of perspective and also attempt to strategize my next move or attack. The camera, however, is fixed, unless you pick something up in preparation to throw it, and then the camera zooms in, not out. Major frustration at times.
The basic hack-and-slash gameplay is broken up by the occasional logic puzzle or exploration requirements, which served to provide a bit of variety to the gameplay. The game uses mechanics from other games, such as Portal, Prince of Persia, etc. Darksiders pulls it off, though, and the gameplay elements do mesh into a cohesive whole. There is a bit of a timesink aspect to the game, in that you will occasionally backtrack over areas you’d previously been through, albeit with new objectives. While this is ostensibly “new content,” it sometimes feels like the developers were cheating by simply making us revisit old places.
Another issue that reared its ugly head came when the game would pop up information on the screen to tell me about some new trinket that I’d discovered or picked up or learned or such. This was especially annoying during battles because it would completely break the momentum of the fights and take me out of my strategy, as well as interrupt any actions I was attempting.
I think that Darksiders has a lot of good gameplay elements, and it is a game with a solid storyline that is engaging, but a few flaws keep the game from being a great game. If you are looking for a solid game that will bring you anywhere between 12-15 hours of single-player gameplay, give Darksiders a shot.