War brings hell to your PC!
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Being a fan of the console version, my excitement for the PC edition was palpable. Having rediscovered the joys of PC gaming not long ago, Vigil’s adventurous take on the trials and tribulations of War - one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - felt like an instant classic since adventure games aren’t the most popular genre on the said platform. After a slight delay (as it was originally supposed to launch in June), Darksiders PC has finally arrived and my impressions haven’t changed...for the most part.
In Darksiders, you play one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War. Your mission is to find out who started the Apocalypse and inadvertently sent you to Earth before you were supposed to. It’s a choice between a death sentence and fighting through hordes of demons on Earth.
As the story progresses, you will earn back the powers the Council stripped from you (one of them being the incredibly powerful Chaos form and War’s phantom steed RUIN), but you also improve your abilities thorough Vulgrim, a demon trader who is willing to help you in exchange for the souls of your enemies. These souls, specifically the blue ones, act as your in-game currency. Your fallen enemies and destructible objects will also drop yellow (used to build up your Wrath power bar) and green (fill your life meter) souls. Vulgrim also sells weapons enhancements, Health and Wrath Shards, new weapons like the Tremor Gauntlet and the Scythe and even new devastating moves.
Speaking of serviceable demons, since the Council doesn’t trust you, they shackle you with The Watcher, an annoying demon mandated to keep an eye on you and make sure you don’t do anything the Council wouldn’t like. He also serves as a guide throughout your quest if you ever need direction. Not that you will need it a lot but he’s there, painstakingly reminding you that you are not alone. You’ll also get an array of upgradeable weapons and devastating abilities that fit your destructive nature and also help you move around the world. Aside from your trusty Chaoseater blade, you get some other helpful weapons like the throwable Crossblade, which acts as both a long-range weapon and a puzzle-solving item, transferring elements like fire and electricity from one place to another. Even though it feels much more like a God of War game because of its bloody and gory combat, the more you get into the story, the faster you realize that it has equal parts open-world exploration component in it as well.
The gameplay remains simple and intuitive for much of the adventure. You visit many destroyed locations and fight your way through ghouls and demons, while solving some brain-bending puzzles but one of the things Darksiders doesn’t succeed perfectly at its the consistency between certain enemies and bosses thrown at you. The first true boss, Tiamat, is incredibly frustrating to beat but once you get farther into the game, you have the impression that it gets much more easier. Given the fact that War acquires new powers and abilities may be one of the reasons why, however, you got to hate it when the difficulty ramp gets inversed as such. Ever had the impression that the last boss you have to beat after a long journey was just a throw-away because a boss was needed (Fontaine in Bioshock or even worse, The Joker in Batman Arkham Asylum)?
The other thing that made me mad at times is the number of enemies you need to confront in certain areas. For example, you enter one room in which you need to get a specific item, you get to beat four demons in which there’s one bigger than the others and armoured. You beat them all and another wave with eight demons arrives with two big ones armored. After you win the battle, you get the item and then, you get to beat more armored demons before leaving the room. Although you collect souls to refill your life bar, I’ve asked myself why do I have to go through so many enemies? While combat is quite varied, some may find it a bit tiresome after a few hours. That said, I never found it monotonous, especially considering the character you get to play, the array of weapons and powers you get to use and the excellent combat vs puzzle pacing involved.
Darksiders won’t be the most gorgeous game you see this year, however, the game’s overall visuals are as good as they are because of its distinctive art direction, provided by comic book creator Joe Madureira (Uncanny X-Men, Battle Chasers). If you’ve seen some of his comic book work, you’ll notice his unique touches everywhere; from the incredible outdoor/indoor sceneries to the highly-detailed character models. It feels like an art book in motion. However, you would think having Darksiders on PC would allow experienced PC users to visually tweak the game to their taste or hardware ability. Unfortunately, there’s no way to customize the visuals. You can fool around with the screen resolution and enable/disable the vertical sync option...and that’s about it. So unless you have a very powerful rig (or at least something better than the recommend system settings), the experience might get tarnished as you can’t make very many adjustments to make it run smoother on your PC
Soundwise, the game features a discreet soundtrack and an immersive environmental sound build, all nuanced with solid voice-over work given from Liam O’Brian (War), known mostlyfor his work in the Naruto Shippuden series and Mark Hamill (The Watcher) recently heard in Batman Arkham Asylum. While I grew to like the voice-over work over time, the environmental sounds are what made me enjoy my time with Darksiders the most. Even when there’s no noticeable action, all the little noises in the background constantly remind you that you’re in the middle of a devastated world. And when the action is about to begin and you hear the apocalyptic soundtrack building-up, its a treat for the ears.
Note that Darksiders PC supports both the Xbox 360 PC gamepad and the regular mouse/keyboard set-up. Knowing how excrutiating the gameplay can be at times, I highly recommend playing the game with a gamepad. Note that the game will recognize upon boot-up which configuration you have available. If you have the gamepad pluigged in, the game will overlook the PC settings and show you only the controller layout. If you feel the need to go back to mouse/keyboard, you can’t. You need to shut down the game, unplug the controller and boot the game back on so the mouse/keyboard config shows up.
My feelings towards Darksiders haven’t changed a lot since its original release back in January and I’m not hesitating to recommend it despite its technical nitpicks. PC gamers (considering you have a powerful system) have no right to skip this one, its worth your time and your money.
+ Upgradable weapons and powers
+ Challenging puzzles and simple combat mechanics
+ Unique story set-up
+ Great voice-over work, background music and environmental sounds
+ Supports gamepad...
- Visual configurations are extremely limited
- Combat may be feel too repetitive for some
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Release Date : 2010/09/24
System : PC
Publisher : THQ
Developer : Vigil Games
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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8.7 / 10