Deconstructing the Game: Darksiders

Third Strike, you’re OUT!: Darksiders spent a bit of time forcing me to learn the intricacies of the battle system, which is, at its core, a good thing. Unfortunately, one of the mandatory training rooms was a room where I had to learn the parry system. In that room I had to learn how to successfully parry in order to get out of and I got scared that I would never see the rest of the game because parrying was too hard for me to figure out and do correctly on a regular basis. Just like the slotted items option, I chose to just forget about the parries and decided to go about my business trying to have fun, and not master something that seemed broken in its execution.

Sometimes conflicting level design: The level design in Darksiders is mostly very good and varied. Sometimes, however, it veers off in either a boxy and overly linear feeling path that makes the maps feel redundant or at other times the dungeons have rooms that feel too open, striving for an epic feeling that just ended up feeling empty and boring to navigate. Like many of the other issues, thankfully this wasn’t the case all of the time, but these areas were very distracting.

What the hell is the point of the horn?: Seriously, it’s used for one part of the game, and then… well I guess I could blow at enemies? I don’t really know. I’m not sure if I missed something but this “weapon”, after its initial use in the environment, it seems fairly useless and becomes one more piece of clutter on the menu for players to deal with.

Whew. Now, that might sound like a lot of negatives, but a lot of it is very nit picky stuff; the type of stuff that many developers tend to forget when crafting a release. Despite all of those issues that I had with it, Darksiders only gets better with time, so here’s looking forward to Darksiders 2. Now, on to what I liked/loved.

Versatile, ever expanding combat with a purpose: The combat in Darksiders is a fun, elegant and highly responsive evolution of the current action games standard. Combat is centered on the use of a sword as the main weapon with well-designed and unique sub-weapons coming into play to create a free form fighting system non-reliant on the same few button commands over and over and over. As players progress through the game new moves for current weapons can be bought and new sub-weapons are acquired to create new possibilities for combos and overall combat strategy. Executions when an enemy is weak enough are effortlessly pulled off with the press of a button and blend into continued combat seamlessly.