Darksiders Warmastered Edition is another late entry in the last-gen remasters trend.
Darksiders follows War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, whose job it is to keep the balance between heaven and hells eternal war. As one of the horsemen, War is obligated to follow the orders of the Council. After the holy war starts eviscerating life on earth, War steps in without the help of his fellow horsemen. Punished by the Council for his intervention, War must return to earth and restore order. Drained of his power and tethered by The Watcher (voiced by the always-fantastic Mark Hamill), War is cast back to earth to set things right.
Losing your powers at the beginning of the story and slowly regaining them probably sounds pretty game-y, but it actually manages to hold attention despite its age.
At times, Darksiders vibrant colors and cartoon graphics still manage to impress. Throughout my playtime, the game maintained a steady framerate even when the screen is packed enemies. Still, high resolution and framerate only go so far when it comes to ugly, muddy and otherwise outdated textures. The worst visuals happen when large enemies fill the screen or the camera pans close to characters.
As you play, you’ll collect souls similar to From Software’s Dark Souls series. The more you collect, you can spend them on upgrades from a demonic traveling salesman named Vulgrim. Upgrades range from the minute like adding a little extra “oomph” to attacks or can totally change combat by giving new gear like a giant scythe. Collecting souls can take some time, but thanks to hidden treasure chests full of them, a keen eye can make all the difference.
While the fighting is fun and upgrades keep things fresh throughout the experience, the real gem that still holds up is challenge and fun platforming. Some puzzles are as simple as killing a certain number of enemies while others require using new gear to open up rooms. Combat and platforming keep the pace engaging.
One the Darksiders still struggles with is incredibly game-y mission and narrative design. Instead of simply giving you one task before another, the story will ahead of time say, kill these four bosses, clear these three rooms, etc. While it doesn’t derail the murder and explore grind Darksiders has down, it feels awkward when the game holds your hand through what’s next.
Aside from performance and well-aged design, Darksiders Warmastered Edition reopens a question that’s plagued remasters this generation: Should this really exist? Again, the game plays great, but without new content, graphics aren’t enough to double dip in the Darksiders universe. Simply put Vigil Games’ cult classic is still a blast worth newcomers’ time, but there’s not enough here for returning fans.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition offers great pacing, and its combat is violent bliss. Thanks to interesting, albeit cartoonish, villians there’s decent comic relief, and solid voice acting also helps keep the narrative afloat. This game doesn’t begged to be taken seriously, but instead asks you to give into its bizarre fantasy.
Darksiders plays great and is more vibrant than ever, but there’s no reason to follow War on his path to redemption if you’ve done it before.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition was reviewed on a Xbox One press copy courtesy of Vigil Games, THQ Nordic and Evolve PR.
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