Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Wrath of War

After being diverted from it to play the campaign in Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, I've recently gone back to playing Darksiders, as game I mentioned in my stylish hard action game round up a few months back.

I was reminded of a Penny Arcade comic about the game (I would also recommend reading the newspost attached to it), and specifically its relationship with Dante's Inferno, a game I also included in the SHA round up and was not bowled over by the demo of. Certainly, Darksiders includes elements easily recognisable from other games, but Dante's Inferno feels like a God of War clone, like it set out with only one goal in mind. Darksiders pulls from many sources and suffuses them with its own style, it certainly doesn't come across as a copy of any one thing. Visually and thematically, it actually reminds me more of Soul Reaver than any recent game, which is certainly no bad thing.

Mechanically, it's far from perfect. The graphics are not amazing; I think, resolution aside, they would have been matched by games on the previous generation of consoles (I'm thinking Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox and God of War on the PS2). The animation can be quite stiff and the combat is less fluid than Dante's Inferno or Bayonetta, with the combo system not seeming to have as much depth. It has a lot of charm, though. In this modern era of ruthlessly focus tested games and safe-bet sequels, Darksiders comes across as a the product of a developer who had an idea for an awesome game and just went ahead and tried to make it, which makes any shortcomings far easier to forgive.

I'm not very far in it, and it seems like quite an expansive game (sadly, for me, this is not necessarily a good thing), but so far I'm really enjoying it. I'm pleased to see that it was fairly well received critically, and I read that it sold quite well, too. I appreciate what Vigil have tried to do with the game, and I'm glad to see it has brought them success.

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