Feb 18 2010

The Darksiders Journal: Day 37

Published by at 12:00 pm under Journals,Video Games

 dk1.jpg

Read Journal # 2 HERE and Journal #1 HERE first.

After a very substantial 20+ hours of gameplay, I’ve finally completed Darksiders.  Sure, I probably could have blazed through the game in two or three fewer hours, but even then I’d have experienced more than my money’s worth of actual playing time.  All in all, Darksiders wasn’t revolutionary or anything special – in fact, as I’ve explained before, the game is almost wholly derivative save for the character design – but it did enough things right that I’m glad I spent the time playing it.

dk2.jpg

When I last left off, I was in the process of slaying bosses and bringing their hearts to Samael.  In return, Samael was supposed to grant me access to the Black Throne so that I could figure out who set me up to take the fall for the premature Armageddon and, naturally, slice them to bits.  The game’s formula – at the heart of the game, at least – was vintage Zelda: explore a dungeon/level, find a new item/weapon, use that item/weapon to defeat that dungeon/level’s boss, and then bring that boss’ heart to Samael.  Fortunately, the level designs were unique and different enough that the game never actually feels repetitive.

I found out that my gun, which I had been previously been using to collect health from crows, was essential for fighting the giant sandworms of the Ashlands, as well as the Stygian, the biggest, baddest, meanest sandworm of them all.  Once I had his heart, though – which I promptly returned to Samael – the gun once again became useless except for snatching some health orbs from time to time.  Fortunately, there was something else I unlocked to help me navigate through the Ashlands…finally, I had my horse, Ruin.  Take a wild guess what the horseback gameplay is similar to.

At this stage of the game, bigger, more difficult enemies are more prominent, and each fight actually requires some skill.  Granted, the combat in Darksiders is still sort of clunky (it’s nowhere near as smooth as brawlers like Ninja Gaiden and God of War), but I found that spamming the dash technique was the best way to fight.  I was capable of blocking, and a well-timed block unleashes a powerful counter-attack, but the dynamics of the block are slow and unreliable.  Really, I wouldn’t know how to fight – especially against tougher enemies toward the end of the game – without using the dash technique.

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The next level to conquer after slaying the Stygian led to my discovery of the hookshot, at which point I realized that the creators of Darksiders aren’t trying to hide the fact that they’re ripping off Zelda.  In fact, it almost seems as if they’re flaunting it.  But hey, I dig Zelda, so I don’t mind.  The boss at the end of the hookshot level – known as the Iron Canopy – was the toughest I had faced up to that point of the game.  She was a giant teleporting spider demon that actually freaked me out a little bit the first time I fought her, and naturally, I had to use the hookshot just to keep up with her.  And the dash technique, of course.

The following dungeon led me to a device that creates portals (just like in, uh, Portal), and was puzzle after puzzle instead of battles.  It was a welcome change of pace at first, but some of the puzzles took a little but too much time for my taste.  But I guess if a game like Darksiders is going to feature puzzles, they should be challenging enough so as not to seem like a total waste of time.  The boss, of course, required the precise placement of portals.  With all the bosses defeated, I was ready to confront the game’s final boss, the one who caused me all this trouble in the first place.  Or so I thought.

Before I could fight the final boss, I needed to assemble the Armageddon Sword from seven shards hidden throughout the land.  It wasn’t too tough, but after finding all the shards, I was disappointed to see that the Armageddon Sword replaced my Chaoseater sword, totally maxed out at level 4.  Why would I be upset by this?  Because if I knew that acquiring the Armageddon Sword would automatically max out my sword stats, I wouldn’t have spent so much time and money (or souls, rather), trying to level up my weapons.  Never mind the fact that I found nearly all the weapons aside from the sword useless, and leveling them up, in hindsight, seems like a waste of time.  In all honesty, it’s my one gripe about this game.  I haven’t started a new game on the Apocalyptic difficulty yet, and I know I’ll feel a lot better if my “stats” carry over.  I’m not very optimistic that they will.

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The final boss battle wasn’t very difficult, unfortunately, and seemed somewhat anticlimactic after battling more interesting and more difficult bosses previously.  I won’t ruin the surprise at the end, but the final cutscene perfectly sets up a sequel.  Just remember, War is but one of the Four Horsemen.

Darksiders is indeed a quality game and is probably a must-have for any fans of the Zelda series.  I doubt it’s going to be named by anyone as the game of the year, but it’s certainly solid in many respects.  It’s good enough that I’ll buy the inevitable sequel (The Legend of Zelda: Darksiders?) and, soon enough, try to beat the game on the Apocalyptic difficulty setting.

3.75 out of 5 stars





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11 responses so far

  • http://darkmusicfactory.de Limitus

    where are the stars?

    i’m still fighting with myself if i should get it…

  • Erin

    It is worth noting that while I purchased this game because of reviews like this that compared it to Legend of Zelda and God of War (two games I love), I’m finding a lot of the mechanics to be a bit clunky (especially the boomerang). I get that Dash is essential, but I find it really disorienting and some of the camera angles to be really off-putting.

    That said, I am stuck on Tiamat, the first boss, so I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Darksiders as a whole to give it a fair review. However, the boomerang mechanics does not work for me and I feel like my lack of first person shooter experience (b/c I get motion sickness) is hindering my ability to play this game. It is also not clear to me if I can change difficulty once I start a campaign, as I have not been to find that option. Also, for a veteran adventure gamer like myself who has completed all of the canonical Zelda and God of War games on normal difficulty, even the act of looking for the “Easy” difficulty level was embarrassing.

    I want to say I like this game, even if it isn’t as good as either of the games it takes from, but until I get past the first boss, I’m not really feeling the Darksiders love. My husband thought I was over-reacting in my frustration after an hour of Tiamet attempts, but then he tried it for 10 minutes (and he has first person shooter experience) and handed the controller back to me, utterly frustrated.

  • ComfortableMadness

    While I definitely agree with the Zelda comparison it felt more like the Soul Reaver games than anything else. Especially after gaining the ability to only glide on you’re wings.

    I also used the “dash” technique thourought the game. Hate that I only ever used the Chaoseater only to have it replaced!! I even used the artifact that upped sword xp gained by killing monsters. What a waste. Really the only complaint I have about the game.

    The voice acting was good and here’s a few fun facts:

    Mark Hamill was the voice of the Watcher.
    Moon Goodblood was the voice of Uriel.

  • ComfortableMadness

    Crap. Moon *Bloodgood

  • ComfortableMadness

    And yes, YOU ARE wings…..Is it Friday yet?

  • Madison

    @ Limitus

    Oh, the stars. I usually give stars after reviewing a game, not a journal, but I think I should put the stars at the end of the last journal. So I’ll go ahead and edit the post to reflect that.

    3.75 out of 5, to save you the time.

  • Madison

    @ Comfortable Madness

    Holy shit, I SO should have mentioned the voice acting. Hamill was AMAZING as the Watcher. Sounded a bit like Cobra Commander, to be honest, and I mean that as a positive comparison.

  • Madison

    @ Erin

    I actually had a ton of trouble with Tiamat at first, mostly because at that point in the game your health is very low. The combat can indeed seem clunky, but fortunately, the boomerang blade isn’t used too much after Tiamat. Trust me, I struggled with that part, too. It gets a lot smoother, so to speak, afterwards.

  • http://darkmusicfactory.de Limitus

    @ Madison:

    don’t you think a set of journal is kinda the same as a review?

    thanks for the stars^^ i think i’ll wait ’til i find it on the 10€ Pyramid :p

  • Madison

    @ Limitus

    Yeah, I guess I do. Stars from now on!

  • xenoirish

    I’m not great with shooters either, but with the Rail shooting segment before that dungeon and then the Jailer fights where you have to use the cross-blade, i felt that was adequate training to kill Tiamet. That being said, it still took a few tries and i missed hitting her A LOT.

    I took a break from this game after the Subway dungeon and just recently got back into it, and finally got the horse! That part was just a lot of fun to play through.

    The artistry in this game is simply amazing, every environment has its own feel. The amount and vibrancy of the colors is almost overwhelming sometimes.

    I can’t wait for the sequel, with some minor tweaks it could be a truly epic experience.

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