Deconstructing the Game: Darksiders

Lackluster weapon leveling system: Darksiders features an upgrade system that in theory, should work quite well. The problem with this system is that with a fully complete game, I don’t think I ever upgraded any of my weapons fully, if at all. Why included a system like that if just normal use of different sub-weapons wouldn’t be enough to at least get one or two weapons to gain multiple levels through a single play through? I guess I could have focused more on one weapon or another, but in a game with such a diversity in sub-weapons that can be easily equipped mid fight that will undoubtedly make the whole combat experience all the more enjoyable… why would I want to focus on only one?

Then there is a slotted bonus system that utilizes a menu where abilities that you collect can be placed in a slot on any of War’s weapons besides the main weapon, the sword. These effects can include gaining some souls when destroying debris or gaining some bits of health back when doing damage to enemies. But at the end of the day the bonuses that were offered were too few and not game changing enough to ever make me care about finding them all or even bothering to pay attention to which ones I did find to strategically equip them.

The slotting upgrade feature was just not streamlined enough into the overall game’s flow. It seemed so tangential to the whole design and very micro-management oriented for a game focused on action and visual puzzles that the feature just fell to the wayside while I enjoyed the rest of the game.

Overall both of these upgrade options seem to miss the point and try to make the game something it is not, and shouldn’t aim to be. The lack of effective leveling up of the weapons through regular use encourages level grinding if you want to level up the weapons. Darksiders isn’t that type of game where any of that is necessary. The slotting system aims to get the player to pay attention and look for and equip new upgrades that are picked up that don’t come with enough stat boosts or game changing abilities to warrant even caring. I could have dealt without both and had a tighter, less ambitious game in these aspects.