Early 2010 has a flurry of hack-n-slash action game releases. Bayonetta and Dante’s Inferno are in stores already, with God of War III coming out next month. So you might think that Darksiders is just another similar game needlessly crowding up an already busy release schedule, especially considering that it comes from newcomers Vigil Games, who lack the reputation of the likes of Hideki Kamiya or Sony. But Darksiders isn’t just another hack-n-slash game. In fact, it isn’t a hack-n-slash game at all, but rather an action-adventure game that encompasses a large number of sub-genres; with combat only being one of them.__STARTQUOTE__Darksiders isn’t a hack-n-slash game at all, but rather an action-adventure game that encompasses a large number of sub-genres; with combat only being one of them.__ENDQUOTE__I should state that Darksiders isn’t terribly original. It borrows gameplay mechanics and ideas from several other popular games. Some of these can be considered as ‘taking inspiration’ or ‘paying homage’, while others are plain rip-offs. But eventually, all these elements come together to make Darksiders the great game that it is.

You play as War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. After a simmering, long-running feud between the forces of heaven and hell erupts, wiping out the human race in the process, War comes to Earth to put an end to it. I don’t want to go too deep into the details, but suffice it to say that War finds himself out of favor with the Charred Council that employs him and is blamed for the events that occur on Earth. In order to redeem himself, War is stripped of all his powers and sent back to a deserted Earth to set things right. The story and how it plays out is quite interesting, and it's one of the many reasons that will make you keep playing.

You embark upon a 20-something hour journey towards redemption, facing thrilling boss battles, exploring vast new areas, and solving challenging puzzles along the way. While not combat-centric, the game does throw a fair amount of enemy grunts, mini bosses, and level-ending giant bosses your way, and aiding you through this is a competent, if somewhat simplistic, combat system.

Your primary weapon is the Chaoseater, a sword the size of a dining table big enough to seat ten. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock other weapons and be able to buy weapon combos to flesh out the combat system. At certain points, you’ll even be able to pick up canon-sized guns and grenade launchers dropped by enemies, although you can’t keep those with you and you’ll have to drop them to proceed beyond a point. The boss fights are memorable and quite different from each other, although strangely, they get progressively easier as you proceed, when it should actually be the opposite. This is partly because the bossfights later on are unexpectedly straightforward, but also because as you play, you will unlock additional health bars to help you survive longer.

Publish date: February 17, 2010 9:58 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 6:05 pm

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