God of War meets... er, God of War
- It's a surprisingly decent repackaging of elements from other games, the use of portals is especially well done
- It brings absolutely nothing new to the table, feels incredibly derivative
Brought to life by comic book legend Joe Madureira, THQ's massive apocalyptic adventure offers a novel and stylish interpretation of the End of Days.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
True to the spirit of its name, Darksiders has been lurking in the shadows. Unlike the heavily promoted Dante's Inferno and Bayonetta, two other titles clearly "influenced" by God of War, Darksiders hasn't tried to cultivate the same level of marketing buzz as its rivals. Ironically enough, this has helped it get more attention simply because gamers are less likely to dismiss it as a blatant God of War knock-off.
It is a blatant knock-off, of course, but the word hasn't really gotten out yet. Darksiders isn't a bad game by any means -- in fact, it's surprisingly decent -- but its mimicry of other games is so unabashed that it cheapens its overall quality, to the point where it's a bit hard to swallow. It's like watching a stand-up comedian who has a killer routine composed entirely of trademark jokes stolen from other comedians -- it's entertaining, but most of your time is spent picking out who "influenced" the material.
Darksiders is a mish-mash title that draws deeply from a variety of other titles already on the market; it's like a 'greatest-hits' package of game concepts and features elements of God of War (the biggest influence by far), Devil May Cry, Halo and surprisingly enough, Portal. The Legend of Zelda series was bandied about as a better analogy for the game by one of the designers, and while fundamentally the two are the same -- an initially powerless hero visits various dungeons, kills a bunch of monsters, and accrues enough power to eventually take on a final threat -- spiritually, the two are worlds apart. The Zelda franchise has always possessed a sense of child-like wonder and focused on the thrill of adventure; Darksiders, on the other hand, tries to be more "serious" and has an action movie vibe.
Let's face facts here: the game is basically God of War|God of War with enough cosmetic changes to keep the copyright lawyers at bay. It copies the formula right down to the glowing chests full of colored health orbs and as a result, the whole thing feels incredibly derivative. They make clever use of what they borrowed but even a little bit of innovation would have been nice if only to give the impression that the developers did something other than put a bunch of games through a Xerox machine. Darksiders doesn't do anything new, and that isn't a crime so much as it is a shame, especially when you consider the potential of the source material. You'd think that a game based on the apocalypse and one of the Four Horsemen would give the developers some breathing room to try a few things but all they managed to do was squeeze out a long-winded story about betrayal and biblical intrigue that lacks any sense of cohesion or tension.
There is absolutely no impetus for the Horseman War's quest and no driving force that gives meaning to his actions; say what you will about Kratos' ill-fated mission, you at least felt like he had a valid reason for being pissed off -- Darksider's protagonist on the other hand, gets thrown into the middle of a grand conspiracy but he muddles his way through to the end with no real sense of purpose. The developers tried to build a story with epic implications -- at one point, the entirety of humanity is wiped out -- but there is absolutely no sense of weight or consequence: you move from one level to the next, kill whatever is put before you and keep going until the credits roll.
But as much grief as it deserves for being a copy cat, Darksiders still manages to be worthwhile, mostly because the developers had enough sense to steal from the best. Think about it this way: even though it lacks the cachet and quality of the original, a counterfeit Rolex can still tell you what time it is and Darksiders delivers just enough enjoyment that you want to see it through to the end. The action is spread out over a large, well-designed overworld; you come to possess a wide variety of weapons and tools which actually prove useful; and War eventually gains access to a large number of satisfying combo moves and powers. The graphics are decent and the controls, while unnecessarily complicated at times, are also tight and responsive enough to give you a real sense of command over the action. As we said, it hews true to the God of War template but in an admittedly interesting twist, the devs also drew inspiration from some unexpected sources and implemented the resulting ideas in a surprisingly deft fashion.
You get a sidearm that basically turns you into Dante from Devil May Cry; you get access to some portable heavy weaponry that works exactly the way turrets worked in Halo; and towards the latter part of the game, you get the ability to spawn two-way dimensional wormholes that are the key to solving a series of well-designed environmental puzzles (ala Portal). But as clever as these touches are, they're also exact carbon copies of the originals: the way War hefts a turret is identical to the way Master Chief would, right down to the over-the-shoulder camera view, and the portals you spawn are coloured orange and blue, just like in Valve's classic first-person-puzzle title.
And that's Darksiders' biggest fault: It completely ignores the opportunity to improve upon what already exists. Rather than try to move the genre forward, they just recycled pre-existing concepts; it's incredibly lazy game design and while it's unfair to expect Vigil Games to reinvent the wheel, it also isn't too much to ask that they contribute something new to the process either, and that was my biggest disappointment with the game: It had enough potential that I was sorry to see it wasted.
I liked Darksiders enough that I'm going to recommend that gamers try to look past the shameless cribbing of ideas and discover the relatively worthwhile action experience hidden underneath. But I also hope that the developers will put more effort into the inevitable sequel and make it something more than a derivative also-ran. The idea behind the franchise has enough merit that it deserves a better effort and it's lamentable that they didn't realise that from the very beginning.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 2 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
- 3 Huawei GR5 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 4 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 5 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Absolver celebrates 250K sales with new masks
- First Look: The Evil Within 2
- Fullbright Founders To Headline Melbourne International Games Week 2017
- MSI GE73 7RF VR Raider Gaming Laptop: Full, in-depth review
- Sony ghillie up with new Call of Duty bundle
PCW Evaluation Team
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
- LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- First Look: The Evil Within 2
- Huawei Y5 (2017)
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - Online PokerNSW
- CCSoftware EngineerNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Government OrganizationVIC
- TPProgram Coordinator. Product Management BackgroundNSW
- FTSenior Technical ConsultantACT
- CCThe job "Automation Test Analyst Guidewire " is now ExpiredQLD
- FTSenior DeveloperWA
- FTPre-Sales Solution Architect - Global Cloud OrganisationVIC
- FTCustomer Marketing ExecutiveOther
- TPSenior .Net Developer - 6 months contractQLD
- FTRPA DeveloperOther
- FTLevel 2 Desktop EngineerOther
- TPPenetration TesterQLD
- FTProcess Specialist x 2Other
- CCPortfolio ManagerNSW
- FTiOS DeveloperSA
- FTSenior SAP Training LeadOther
- CCLinux & Windows Systems Engineer - BrisbaneQLD
- FTWorkforce Analyst | Scheduler | Calendar ManagementOther
- FTSolutions Architect - Network SecurityOther
- FTChange ManagerOther
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior DevOps Engineer | Leading SaaS Product CompanyOther
- CCAWS DevOps Engineer - BrisbaneNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerACT