2010’s release schedule has begun with a classic Heaven vs Hell title. Almost embarrassingly, I have to admit that up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of Darksiders. Checking out a few pictures and reading a couple of preview pieces though and I knew I’d have to at least give this one a look.
This fantasy subject matter has always been appealing to me. A big part of my obsession with Diablo and Diablo II was as a result of the Heaven vs Hell battle. Darksiders had the post-apocalyptic thing going for it however. Usually in these sorts of games, its Humanity that is fighting amidst the Apocalypse, or working to prevent it – but Darksiders has chosen to go where few before it have treaded. After Humanity.
Heaven and Hell have been waging an epic battle for eons. In an effort to maintain universal balance, The Charred Council – sends forward a select group of warriors (the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) charged with killing Heaven & Hell’s forces until the Council can seek a truce from both kingdoms.
Eventually a truce is reached and during the cease fire, a third Kingdom comes to pass. The Kingdom of Man. The Charred Council foretell Humans playing a major role in the onslaught between Heaven and Hell, the final battle between the three Kingdoms being decided at a specific time, ordained by the breaking of the Seven Sacred Seals.
Darksiders’ protagonist War, the first of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, arrives on Earth to Armageddon taking place. He soon learns that not only is he the sole Horsemen to arrive, but that critically, the Seven Sacred Seals have not been broken and Armageddon is premature.
In his weakened state, War is toppled by one of The Destroyer’s Chosen, sent to The Charred Council and charged with bringing about the early Apocalypse. Negotiating a bargain with the Council, War is allowed to return to Earth to seek out those responsible for the cataclysm and bring them to justice – or die trying.
Gamers familiar with the God of War franchise will feel right at home with the control and hack & slash game play of Darksiders. In fact, Darksiders shares many similarities with next-gen games. Platforming sections have a familiar Prince of Persia-esque feel about them, War even has a gauntlet reminiscent of the Prince’s own metal glove. Sliding down walls has a similar result too. Later in the game you even acquire a ‘portal gun’, the Voidwalker, which creates a sort of dimensional rift between predetermined plate locations. Its the same concept as Portal (even the rifts – one orange, one blue) but its application is only to solve puzzles or access secret locations, so its not as destructive or ‘free’.
Vengeance, lies and deceit