The apocalypse is back, but is it worth hacking and slashing your way through it again? THQ Nordic is hoping you think so and have remastered or should I say warmastered (No I shouldn’t) 2010’s Darksiders, originally released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The original Darksiders went on to be praised by critics and gamers alike, but does it hold up in 2016?
Taking on the role of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the rider of the red horse in Christian Bible, you are tasked by an elder Council, older than both God and the Devil, to keep the balance between the 3 realms (Hell, Man and Heaven). 7 seals were put in place only to be broken when we were ready for the final war between kingdoms, then and only then will the Horsemen usher in the Apocalypse. Fast forward to present times and shit is going down and we are NOT ready for it, the forces of heaven and hell are tearing through the streets and a lone horseman crashes to earth and your adventure begins.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition brings with it upgraded visuals running at 1080p/60fps on Ps4 and Xbox one (a ps4 copy was used for this review) improved textures, rendering and all the other graphic staples that come in remasters. It is unfortunate to note that there is no new gameplay added but as there was never any for the original it would have surprised me to see THAQ Nordic create something new for it. While the graphical improvements are quite visible and the framerate ran beautifully for me the voice synching I found could be painfully off at times and would take a while to fall back into sync, it felt as if I was watching a poorly dubbed martial arts movie at times.
Now while the voice synching was hit and miss, the gameplay that made me fall in love with the original game was still intact. A God of War inspired combat system mixed with adventure elements inspired straight from Zelda are blended seamlessly into a large Hyrule-Esque apocalyptic world. Just like Ocarina of Time the beginning can be a bit slow as you are mainly just walking from point A to B but once you get your horse, Ruin, traveling becomes much quicker. Combat is broken up into melee and ranged combat with War also having access to chaos powers (basically apocalypse magic), heavy and light attacks can be chained together in various ways, players familiar with God of War will be familiar with juggling opponents in the air and going in for a flashy finisher when their health is low.
It’s not all hack and slash though, War has to use every sharp edge and pointed tip in his arsenal to solve the numerous puzzles that must be solved in order to progress through the world’s various dungeons. Every weapon War uses to shred and pulverize enemies he will eventually have to use in various clever ways with the environment to create new pathways or solve puzzles. You will never find a new weapon or item without finding a use for it shortly after. Blocked door with an inert bomb stuck to it? Good thing you just found that Krull inspired glaive recently that can pick up the element of the last thing it hit. Been getting knocked around a little too often and finding your health dropping too fast? Sounds like you missed a few of those Lifestone shards scattered about dungeons and the open world that populate the Apocalypse. While the puzzles are by no means impossible there were a few that did take me a try or two simply out of the fact I had forgotten how to do puzzles like these that aren’t just simple kill a specific group of enemies and the door unlocks (don’t worry they still have those too)
Now the big question is, is Darksiders Warmastered worth it?
I have 3 answers to that, if you have never played the original Darksiders and are looking for a very cool take on the biblical apocalypse, I say absolutely yes. This violent love child of Zelda and Kratos was a welcome addition back in 2010 and still is today. If you played the original and still have a copy and a ps3 and are happy playing on that, then no I personally don’t see the need to purchase it if you already have the ability to play it, while the price is great I don’t see the point of buying another copy of a game you still have the ability to play. Now if you have played the original but DON’T currently have the ability to play a copy on the 360 or ps3 I would say absolutely. I never owned the original and only was able to play via renting through Blockbuster (r.i.p old friend) so I couldn’t be happier I have the chance again to rip out the hearts of some generals of Hell.