Darksiders: Wrath of War Review

Stuart takes a walk on the Darkside with an Xbox 360 copy of Vigil’s post-Apocalyptic horseman.

By Stuart McAndrew, January 8, 2010

Using a rope slide seems a bit, well, mundane for a Horseman.

Using a rope slide seems a bit, well, mundane for a Horseman.

There is a lot of screen tear when moving the camera on the 360 version, which is especially prominent on some of the platforming sections. On completing the game, there’s no option to restart with War’s full range of unlocked powers, as the last save point is just before the final boss battle. Given the wide variety of combos and special powers War can spend points on, there must have been a huge stash of treasure chests hidden around the world which I missed on my first play through, assuming it’s possible to unlock everything. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to go back through the world to find all of them. Completionists out there can expect a good 6-10 hours exploration time on top of the 20 hours I spent finishing Darksiders if they want to see all the moves that War has to offer.

Despite the lack of new ideas, Darksiders is an excellent game. New powers and areas to explore are delivered at a perfectly pitched pace. The trickiest puzzle sections don’t go on for too long, but provide a welcome break from the hack ‘n‘ slash action. The combat, whilst not as honed as God of War or Devil May Cry, is still entertaining thanks to the variety of moves and enemies the game throws at you. Demons and angels alike crumple when taken to a bare minimum of health, at which point War is only a button press from performing one of his gruesome executions. The icon above a stunned enemy’s head is a great help when surrounded, allowing War to tunnel through adversaries, leaving a pool of gore in his wake.

Epic glory lies in a multitude of boss fights, which will test your wits as well as your agility with combo-inputs. Basic enemies are numerous and dangerous enough to take a chunk of War’s health if they connect. It isn’t long before elite enemies and mini-bosses become the standard, and it takes War a shorter time still to dispatch them once he has powered up from his initial death at the hands of Straga. There is not a single QTE button mash to distract from the glory of finishing off any of the bosses you are tasked with taking down. You can lean back and enjoy the spectacle of the Chaos Sword piercing demonic eyes larger than War’s own mighty fist once you‘ve brought them down on your own terms!

That's more like it!

That's more like it!

I’m annoyed I couldn’t continue on a harder difficulty with my powers and items intact, but Darksiders is still a remarkably compelling title which quickly sank its hooks into me and didn’t let go till I had completed it. Madureira’s stunning character and creature design make memorable a game founded on tried and tested formulas. Vigil has borrowed heavily, but they did so from the true masters of their genres. Darksiders is a fine example of giving gamers what they want and doing it well.

8 out of 10

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3 Responses to “Darksiders: Wrath of War Review”

  1. Brush says:

    Sounds good…

    lack of new game + is a bit of a shame, you’d want to start the harder difficulties all levelled up.

    when time permits shall give it a look.

  2. Edwin says:

    Between this, Bayonetta and Dante’s Inferno, it’s like the year of hack and slash or something.

  3. Norm says:

    After beating this myself, I have to say I enjoyed it, cross between DMC and Zelda. The one thing that DOES carry over to new game is if you collected all the Abyssal Armor Fragments, you can start your next game with the armor set (increased damage done, decreased damage taken) if I remember correctly, and you look badass too :P


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