Apocalypses, wars between angels and demons, and all the adrenaline-fueled death and destruction that comes along, what more could a gamer ask for? Fortunately, Gunfire Games’ Darksiders 3 offers players just that, in the form of a solid hack-and-slash action adventure game. I have been a fan of the Darksiders games since the first one came out in 2010, and following its successful sequel in 2012, I was a little skeptical on how this one was going to turn out. While as a series devotee, I was satisfied with the game overall, it did leave much to be desired in the contemporary gaming space—which is becoming more and more competitive each year.
The Darksiders series follows the infamous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Death, Fury, and Strife), as they are each unwillingly dragged into a part of a massive plot involving a never-ending war between the angels of Heaven and the demons of Hell. Each entry follows a different Horsemen, and this third entry puts Fury—the groups only female member—in the limelight as she treks across the cataclysm-torn Earth, on a quest to find and kill the Seven Deadly Sins. The game’s narrative continues its rustic, Warcraft-like take on the Lovecraftian Horror genre that the series has drawn from since its start. The series’ original rendition of this fundamental, albeit biblical, story about good vs evil is, without a doubt, the most captivating aspect of the franchise—aside from slashing and bashing through hordes of demons—and Darksiders 3 continues the saga in an equally captivating way.
As stated before, I had some skepticism about this game prior to its release, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. The Darksiders franchise went through a bit of a rough patch back in 2012 when its parent company THQ went bankrupt. The IP was then auctioned off, with some other IPs, and was bought by THQ Nordic. Luckily, the team behind Darksiders 3 was largely composed of previous employees of Vigil Games, the studio behind Darksiders 1 and 2. While this fact is clearly apparent when paying attention to the game design and script, it is also quite evident that the programming was carried over to some degree. As the last two games of the series were on the previous generation consoles, it seems as if Darksiders 3 was never intended to be on the current generation. For example, while I haven’t experienced a major bug/glitch yet, the game does have to render itself at times during some big boss fights. (Joystiq, Swilinski)
Another technical peeve I had with the game is actually something that had plagued the series from the beginning; the maneuverability/mobility of the playable character. In Darksiders 1, I felt that the character War (whom you control during the game) was too stoic, and slow moving; this didn’t affect combat too much though, as the hack-and-slash aspect of the games are great. Darksiders 2, who features Death as the playable character, seemed to have improved the issue with much more acrobatic mechanics; this in turn made combat that much more riveting. Therefore, one could theorize that the franchise would have fixed their maneuverability issue by the time Darksiders 3 came out, but unfortunately it seems like they took a step backwards. While Fury doesn’t feel as heavy as her bulky brother War, she isn’t as agile as her other brother Death; now this wouldn’t be too much of an issue if agility wasn’t the main focus of this current title.
If you look up reviews of Darksiders 3, you’ll probably come across the term, “Souls-lite,” and the term couldn’t be more accurate. The cool thing about the Darksiders games is that all 3 of them are different types of games. Darksiders 1 is a simple action-adventure game, Darksiders 2 is a pretty vast RPG, and Darksiders 3 is capitalizing on the current trend of Dark Souls-esque games. A Souls-esque game is a 3rd person RPG/action adventure game that features a fast-paced, unforgiving combat system. While this game is nowhere near as ruthless as the genre’s front-runners, Darksiders 3 is by all accounts a challenging game, and a fun game in its own right. All that being said, it could be more fun. Similar to games like Dark/Demon Souls and Bloodborne, Darksiders puts heavy emphasis on dodging and evading enemy attacks. Unfortunately, the game’s dated mechanics slow down Fury’s movements, and sometimes makes some enemy encounters frustrating. Even still though, Fury’s many attacks with her signature sword-whip, and being able to pull of perfectly timed dodge-counters, provide for exciting and thrilling combat.
Darksiders 3 falls a bit short of what it could be, and of its predecessors, on a few counts; but its redeeming qualities do make it a game worth playing, if you’re into the hack-and-slash genre. This second sequel in the cult franchise comes close to reaching the modest heights achieved by Darksiders 1 and 2, but unfortunately does falls short in a handful of flagrant missteps. The most prominent of which being the dated mechanics which bog down the game’s platforming and combat experiences. Other small shortcomings take form in the game’s visuals which, while creative and artistic, aren’t nearly as good as other modern games graphic-wise; and in the franchise’s lack of innovation in the series—while still fun, there isn’t much to tell apart this game from the previous two. However, Darksiders 3 does boast a well-made, thoughtful campaign, with beautiful and smart level designs, that will keep players engaged enough to want to finish the story through to the end. Reviews for this game have been extremely mixed, so my take on the game is relatively positive, but as a fan of the series, I can confidently say that Darksiders 3 is another sound sequel in the Darksiders franchise.
Review Score: 8.25/10
Images courtesy of: https://darksiders.com/media-overview/media/
& Screenshotted from PS4 system