Darksiders had a lot of buzz leading up to its release because it was “God of War meets Zelda”. Then come review time the game was penalized for that very same reason because it wasn’t original enough. You know what? Screw the press, because Darksiders is a great Zelda-esque game with a heavy emphasis on varied high energy fighting and not God of War meets anything because, as I will always say, God of War is not a standard bearer except for how the industry ignores innovators when something more to their liking comes along. How else would people ignore Devil May Cry and Castlevania on PS2 and Ninja Gaiden on Xbox when they were the true innovators of 3D violence with God of War being, much like Darksiders, a coalescing of action game features.
Despite all of the comparisons to other games, Darksiders is a great game on its own merit. The designers might have had Zelda on the brain in many not so subtle ways when planning the game, but the finished product apes ideas from a bunch of games/genres to create a game that feels like a natural progression of where the action adventure genre should be moving toward and not just like an overly derivative rip fest.
I don’t think Darksiders is a perfect game, but I do think that it’s one that demonstrates a love for games and the willingness to experiment while still being able to create an enjoyable and compelling experience that is good fun even if it could benefit from a couple of layers of additional polish to elevate it beyond a great game to a masterpiece.
Now for what I didn’t like or felt could be more polished or just plain better:
Horseman can’t jump: Platforming, or more specifically, the act of jumping in games is one of those mechanics that many developers struggle with, especially in the 3rd dimension. Darksiders is no exception, especially as a game from a new developer. Darksiders requires a good deal of platforming and the mechanic just doesn’t work nearly as well as it should on a very basic level. This is exacerbated by the fact that it is a game so reliant on player controlled platforming with no auto/safe jumps guiding the player along.