Deconstructing the Game: Darksiders

The pistol, on the other hand… just sucks. By the time you get the gun you already have the boomerang for your long range projectile needs for puzzles and the pistol does terrible amounts of damage. It’s like if you were given a useless dagger in the last dungeon of an RPG, but it was made out to be this really cool item. Much like how the horse is a poorly implemented throwback to Zelda, I think the gun was supposed to be implemented when the game was geared to play a bit more of the Devil May Cry style with gun juggles and the such, but that just didn’t happen.

User interface clutter/issues: Darksiders is a game where a lot of things have to be accounted for. There is your sword & your several sub-weapons which all have a bar for leveling up, slot bonuses for those weapons, health/magic regeneration items, spells that can be equipped, a map, a screen strictly for strewn about collectibles, and more. All of that would be fine, if it was all organized well and easily decipherable.

In order to create a menu to sort the sheer breadth of items to be accounted for, the UI designer(s?) was seemingly very driven by the heavy comic book art direction combined with a heavily ornate aesthetic for the menus. The resulting menu looks busy and cluttered with a great amount of detailing that makes navigating the menus harder than it should be. There are a lot of icons on the screen with very little visual explanation as to what one upgrade is over another and navigation of the menu is ambiguous because of size differences in items and lack of visually established item boundaries in some cases.

Creating menus that read at first glance and are easily navigable is key in games with a lot of options and inventory to keep organized. To be fair, Vigil is most certainly not alone when it comes to this problem; many games suffer from this issue. In fact pretty much every game that has a lot of upgrades and inventory sucks at presenting it to the player.

A final big issue that confuses me for why it was implemented so poorly and has frustrated me on many occasions is the fact that you can’t zoom into the map on the view map screen which leaves me having to ballpark where I am going sometimes. In a game with an emphasis on exploring, this is a no-no.