Darksiders has been called God of War meets Zelda. A better description would be Zelda in a God of War wrapper. The backdrop of the game is post-Armageddon, and one of the Four Horsemen has been set up to take the blame for cosmic events he did not put into motion. Does Vigil Games’ debut game deliver the goods or does it fall short in the crowded genre?
In the world of Darksiders, the balance between Heaven, mankind, and Hell is preserved through the Charred Council. The council’s elite warriors are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You are War, and you receive the call that the end time has arrived, only to find out the call was premature. Earth is in turmoil as the forces of Heaven battle the legions of Hell. Humanity has been has been wiped from the vast wasteland and War seems to have been set up to take the fall for this, but he is not about to take it lying down. Do not expect any lessons in theology, but the story is very entertaining. Things play out very much like Greek mythology, and various plot twists will save some of they mystery until the end.
When you first start, War’s abilities will quickly be gimped, and you are saddled with a babysitter called “the Watcher.” With Heaven and Hell looking to blame you for the apocalyptic blunder, there aren’t many friends around. Vulgrim the merchant will always welcome a visit from War, provided War is looking to spend some souls on his powerful wares. Vulgrim will pop up often in the destroyed world and also provides quick passage via the ancient Serpent Holes.
Combat combos are limited and must be purchased one at a time, but the control scheme allows for some unique weapon variety. The sword and scythe are available via the face buttons, while a missile weapon or a bladed boomerang can be tossed out with a flick of a shoulder. This allows War to fire out a long range attack, then dash in with a flurry of sword and scythe strikes. Along the way, this can be further mixed with up to four magical spells to maximize War’s ass-kicking.