Developer: Kaiko, Vigil Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: PS4, XBOXONE, WII U, PC
Tested on: PS4 Pro
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition – Review
Apocalypse, the end times, ragnarok… it all means the end of our world as we know it and if we can believe the prophecies described in the holy bible, 4 horsemen will ride , descending from the heavens, eradicating every living soul and cleansing this planet of all corruption. In Darksiders, one of the horsemen, War, rides to answer the call of the apocalypse. It isn’t the first time we get to play Darksiders, as it had been released before on past-gen consoles and even released a sequel. After THQ has gone bankrupt in 2013, THQ Nordic (formerly known as Nordic Games) has taken the Darksiders IP under its care. After remastering Darksiders II, they polished the first and original Darksiders for the current gen consoles and PC. The only question that remains is: is it still worth it to take War on another path of revenge?
War, the first horseman of the Apocalypse, has been deceived by the forces of Hell. They have prematurely brought about the apocalypse and put the blame on War. Brought before the sacred Charred council, the watchers of fate, War stands accused for his crimes and causing a war between the forces of heaven and hell. In this war, the forces of heaven have been almost completely annihilated and the demonic forces have laid claim to the earth. As he’s dishonored and faces his own demise, he’s given the opportunity to prove his innocence by searching for the truth and bringing those responsible to justice. Forging uncomfortable alliances with the same demons that betrayed him and being hunted by a vengeful group of heaven’s survivors, he journeys through the tattered remains of earth on his quest for revenge and justice.Darksiders brings a very appealing story with strong, interesting characters and different, idyllic locations. War’s personality on the other hand, doesn’t exactly fit his reputation as one of the fearsome horseman. The game depicts him a bit too hard as a stereotypical good guy which he’s actually not. It doesn’t exactly fit the setting as War is on a path of revenge and causes the story to waver at the required moments. Even at moments he’s seems angry, it still seems as though he’s just annoyed in a boring fashion, he’s just too kind. So don’t expect a “Kratos (God Of War)” badass- type of character to take up arms and kick the living daylight out of the demon horde.The other characters and antagonists make up for this shortcoming and bring a convincing turn in the events taking place inside the story and build up to pretty satisfying “open” ending that opens the way for its sequel.
Even though Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is a remaster of the original PS3 version, it still succeeds bringing the games graphics engine to the next level. The characters, surroundings, levels, even the smallest details have been revamped and boosted. By improving different aspects, from overall textures and models to shadows and lighting, it all looks a lot more colorful, smoother and sharper.. Darksiders: Warmastered edition has been tested on PS4 Pro and reaches 4K smoothly running at 60fps without any frame drops from beginning to end.The concept art and character designs are a mix of western comic book style with influences/aspects of what looks like Japanese manga by the hand of Joe Madureira, a Marvel artist and original Darksiders developer. This makes the world of Darksiders really look awesome and most of the characters really badassSound
The original Darksiders was known for his epic soundtrack and awesome voice acting. The Warmastered Edition just delivers that same quality. The soundtrack is mainly epic, symphonic score that really finds his defining moments during combat and even more during boss battles. Especially the last boss battle is being accompanied by a majestic score while you’re blown away by an angelic choir coming from your TV speakers. The soundtrack embraces the setting of the game perfectly. Not only the soundtrack is impressive but also the voice acting is top notch as it’s delivered by the industry’s finest such as Troy Baker, Mark Hamill and Phill Lamarr. The level of voice-acting really gives the characters an own identity and more depth.
Darksiders is a hack ‘n slash action-adventure combining the best elements from games like God Of War and Zelda in a semi-open world with a linear character. This doesn’t mean it shamelessly copies the latter’s gameplay, but redefines and improves on its existing formula. The core gameplay’s main focus is mostly about beating up hordes of demons by racking up combos with your sword as your main weapon. These combos can be extended by using secondary weapons such as a scythe, a giant shuriken or a powered fist weapon. The combining of your main and secondary weapons during combat, brings a welcoming change to otherwise monotone combat. And if your weapons don’t do enough damage, you can always turn into a badass demon, only if you’ve amassed enough rage due to damage dealt and received. Another fun and enticing aspect about combat are the finishers. The finishers are prompted by a certain button floating above your foe after dealing enough damage. These aren’t extensive, orchestrated quick-time events but swift, satisfying brutal eliminations of the enemy. As far as boss battles go, they’re well balanced and fun to do. These fights are divided in multiple sequences and differentiating attacks where they force you to use certain items or weapons in order the tackle them. These battles aren’t too hard to deal with but still deliver enough challenge for seasoned hack ‘n slash veterans. Another well-known game mechanic is improving abilities or purchasing upgrades which requires souls. The souls can either heal you, replenish your wrath (power to use abilities) or are used for purchasing abilities and combos at the in-game vendor, named Vulgrim. When upgrading your health or wrath, it requires you to look around and even backtrack to certain locations, for chests containing these upgrades. Last but not least, the game also offers a fun and challenging puzzle element. These puzzle sequences are very diverse and are perfectly incorporated in the game world. These puzzles offer a decent, moderate challenge and even forces you think things through before mindlessly rushing certain areas.
The only downside about the gameplay and combat sequences in general, is the lack of a real dodging system. You can dash in certain directions or well-timed blocks which can be used as a sort of dodging but the controls aren’t balanced enough to pull this off without cashing in on massive damage from enemies. This might also lead to frustration during boss fights, especially when they’re all over the place.
As far as remasters go, this is a job well done. The great, successful gameplay remains unchanged but improves both on visuals and sound pushing it to new standards. Except for a few minor points, it’s still an amazing experience to relive the story of War and his quest for vengeance. It also offers both old and new players to the series, to catch up to the story, tearing apart archangels and demonic beings alike and solving challenging puzzles.