Review: Darksiders (2009) (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)

The following is a review of Darksiders (2009), available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Darksiders, like Nier, the last game I played through and beat, didn’t get all that much respect when it first came out. But Darksiders features more than just God of War meets Zelda gameplay, it tells a story worth seeing through until the end.

The following review is based upon a playthrough on the Xbox 360, on the hardest - Apocalyptic - difficulty.

Darksiders is similar to God of War in that you play in a third person view, slashing up enemies and powering up your weapons and variety of moves. Unlike Bayonetta, for example, for the most part you can get away with mostly just slashing away, so long as you dash and jump to avoid attacks, even on the most difficult setting. Blocking is also an option, but whether because of the button combination to do it, or more likely because of my recent playthrough of Bayonetta, I didn’t find much use for it.

One grace that Darksiders provides is that the button smashing cutscenes in Darksiders are limited to only a couple. As someone who dislikes God of War because of the large number of these types of scenes, and had a heck of a time in Wolverine during the one scene that used them, this is absolutely wonderful.

The gore and violence is approximately what you’d get with that type of game as well, so the M rating is well deserved.

Darksiders is similar to Zelda, or even Metroid, in that not all areas will be accessible to you when you first start out. Only a few areas are absolutely required, but the optional items make full use of backtracking (not that the game doesn’t require backtracking). Puzzles also make an appearance, only a few of which really drove me crazy, especially near the end.

The music in the game is quite majestic, and I found myself sitting and waiting in some areas just to hear snippets, but is never in the way. The rest of the soundtrack is equally good, and do a fairly good variety of enemies, I didn’t find anything horribly repetitive.

The story is the last part I’ll mention. As is usually the case you start out strong and rather quickly lose your powers. Here you actually lose them, instead of a game like Prototype where you flash back in time, and must recover them, learning new powers along the way. You really don’t make much use of your powers at the beginning of the game, so it’s not a horrible loss.

But I found the story compelling enough to draw me into the game, and that was most clear by how I felt during the ending.

During my game I ran into three spots where my console completely froze up, requiring me to turn the console completely off. All were after long playing sessions, so it may have been related to that. They were also rather late in the game.

As noted above, I played on the hardest difficulty setting, and my total play time was approximately 22 hours, with around 90% of the achievements complete, and grinding to level my weapons and moves, found all optional unlockables. I choose the Xbox 360 version only because it was available where I picked it up. As far as I’m aware, there’s no difference between the versions (although one article discussing a possible sequel suggested the PlayStation 3 version was better, for some reason).

Normally Darksiders wouldn’t be my type of game, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but it completely blew me away. In the hope that they’ll release another Darksiders, changing only the story, I give this game 5 of 5 stars.