Back in 2010, Vigil Games released the original Darksiders, a hybrid of The Legend of Zelda and God of War, one of the most underrated games of the last decade. Ask a group of people about it, and there’s a good chance that they’ve heard of it but never played, which is understandable, as it really didn’t receive the attention it really deserved. Despite this, it earned a sequel in the form of 2012’s excellent Darksiders II, which also underperformed, so much so that you could even say its poor sales contributed to the death of its publisher, THQ. At this point, it looked like the series would die off, until Nordic Games bought the franchise, before releasing Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition last year. Clearly, Nordic is testing the waters for a possible third entry in the series by releasing these remasters, so how does Darksiders: Warmastered Edition stand up? To put it bluntly, yes.

 

One of the highlights is the story. Admittedly, this is a remaster of a game that originally released almost 7 years ago, so it’s really nothing new, but it was great back then and it’s still great even after the amount of narrative-driven games that have released since 2010. It’s a simple plot, with not much emotional depth, but it takes you on a hell of a ride. Even the predictable twist that comes towards the end is not enough to sour a story supported by superb voice acting. Mark Hamill’s “The Watcher” is definitely the highlight, serving as War’s guide and jailer, as well as managing to steal the limelight from War at every opportunity.

 

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Although you can easily compare Darksiders with Zelda and God of War, it really is quite unique. It feels familiar, but on the whole it is very much its own game. The gameplay is relatively simplistic, as almost all of the combat is confined to mashing the X button, with some special items tied to Y and the right trigger. Combat is a meaty, bloody affair as you hack up demons and angels with your sword and scythe. Special items such as the Earthcaller and Abyssal Chain are tied to the right trigger, and offer some alternatives to the hack ‘n’ slash nature of the game, which can get quite tedious when you consider how long the game is.

 

The combat really isn’t the best part of Warmastered, however. The game features several excellent dungeons filled with puzzles that are surprisingly testing, and clearly well thought-out. At points, they genuinely present a challenge, as the game doesn’t really hold your hand at all, although the solutions tend to involve the piece of gear you acquired most recently. Its standard fare for these dungeon-exploration games, but it works well here as the puzzles tend to be enjoyable to solve. However, towards the end of the game, with the introduction of a piece of gear called the “Voidwalker”, the puzzles can get downright frustrating, largely due to how unwieldy the camera and controls can be. At one point, I spent almost 10 minutes on a relatively simple puzzle because War kept wandering off a ledge and falling to his death. Puzzles should be challenging, yes, but when most of the difficulty comes from issues with the camera and controls, it’s not a welcome challenge.

 

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Clearly, this is a remaster, so we should discuss some of the upgrades Warmastered introduces to Darksiders. To begin with, the graphics have definitely seen some improvement. Everything is more crisp, particularly cut-scenes, but you can tell that it’s just a minimal visual upgrade to a 7 year-old game. Pre-release, it was touted that Warmastered would run at 60FPS, but somehow there’s still screen-tearing if you rotate the camera a little too quickly. A major disappointment is the prevalence of issues that were present in the original release, yet have not been fixed for the Warmastered Edition, such as a bug that prevents some Xbox Achievements and, presumably, PS4 Trophies from unlocking. I did contact THQ Nordic about this, and they did say that they were aware of the bug, and were trying to fix it. However, the same problems existed in the 2010 release and were never fixed. It’s a little disconcerting that they found their way into the remaster 7 years later, so I would not hold my breath for a fix.

 

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is bare-bones remaster of a great game that released back in 2010. It looks better, it even runs a little better, but the same issues that plagued the original plague the remaster. If you missed it 7 years ago, or, like me, you played it and loved it, you really should invest in the remaster, particularly at the budget price it’s available for. Excellent dungeons and a great plot await you, and its well worth giving it a go.

 



Author

Rhys Evans

I've been a gamer for as long as I can remember. My first console was a Sega Megadrive, and my first game was Streets of Rage. I've recently graduated with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Cardiff Met University. I'm a fan of role-playing games and first-person shooters, but these days you can usually find me building cities in Minecraft. My favourite games are The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Bioshock.