Darksiders: Wrath of War - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Darksiders: Wrath of War
Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Developer:
Vigil Games
Publisher: THQ
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

There was a time when Joe Madureira WAS comic books. The famed pencil-man, most famous for his work on titles like Uncanny X-men and Battle Chasers, ole’ Joe Mad seemed to be one of the leading young forces set to revolutionize comics.

Then he put all that on hold and created a video game company. While Darksiders isn’t part of his now defunct Tri-Lunar Games studio – Madureira does serve as creative director for the title – and it shows; everything from the game’s looks to style are vintage Joe Mad. What’s more – it’s a fun, fast paced hack and slash with its fair share of gore and just a bit of heart. Sure it doesn’t do anything revolutionary – but admit it – you didn’t expect this game to be this good anyways.

Darksiders finds players in a post-apocalyptic world, and believe me – I can hear your sighs already, but trust me, this one’s different. Turns out the end times happened a bit prematurely, and you as War are tasked with finding out just who’s behind the mess. What follows is a battle between angels, demons, heaven and hell and even a few surprises. It’s a fresh take on the whole post-apocalyptic theme that seems to be popular in games today.

"Darksiders is a hack and slash dungeon explorer..."

 
   

To get a sense of just what type of game Darksiders is – picture what a baby would look like if its parents were Link from the Legend of Zelda and Kratos from God of War. At its core – Darksiders is a hack and slash dungeon explorer, The developers seemed to lean more towards the Zelda influences though as traversing the game’s large world via horseback it’s not hard to picture War in green tights with the master sword. The game’s quite linear, but you’ll still get a number of chances to explore, and it’s incredibly satisfying

Much like that of God of War, Darksider’s combat system is fast, satisfying, visually stunning and of course gory. Players are rewarded for stringing together gorgeously animated combos and doing the most damage possible. Also like in God of War, defeated enemies in Darksiders don’t just disappear – a shiny icon is displayed above their lifeless bodies to let players know that they can gruesomely finish the foe off. Oh, and just in case you couldn’t make the connection – War is rewarded in combat by shiny orbs...yeah....

There’s a surprising amount of character development and depth in Darksiders – if you care to look for it. Perhaps that’s why Darksiders works so well – yes you can go through and hack and slash your way through the game, but there’s a much deeper experience if you collect the “souls” and use them to unlock new attacks and weapons. Unlike in similar games, you won’t have someone breathing down your neck telling you when and where to upgrade, the game does a pretty good job letting you upgrade at your own pace.

"...voice overs are done remarkably well..."

 
   

What the game doesn’t do however is craft an engaging storyline. Sure, it’s unique – but towards the middle of the game you’ll start to zone off and wonder when you can brutally murder someone again. None of the characters, save for War himself, seem to have a lasting impact on the story, and major and minor characters will both float in and out of the story with complete disregard for continuity or the sake of making sense. To the developer’s credit though, the game’s voice overs are done remarkably well, and could keep you interested for a bit longer.

Visually, Darksiders is quite impressive. Sure, there’s the usual apocalypse colors of browns, and greys, but the effects here are top-notch and you’re be hard pressed to find better on many AAA games. There does seem to be a bit of slowdown in some of the larger boss area levels, but that’s forgivable as the action does tend to get a bit hectic. As I mentioned before, Darksiders finishing moves are quite exuberant and loads of fun to watch. Funny, I never knew a decapitated head could be so gorgeous.

Sure, Darksiders borrows quite heavily from games like God of War and Zelda, but let’s be honest – if they’re going to copy games, they could do a lot worse. It’s nothing revolutionary but Darksiders is a fun and fast action title that should keep gamers busy for quite some time. Thanks to the creative work of Joe Madureira, the game has a unique feel that any other title will have a tough time matching. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlocks

As of this writing, there’s only one cheat code available for Darksiders – to unlock the Harvester without using souls to buy it. It’s a cool little touch, but there’s so much more that could be done here. How about early powers? How about health?

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