Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Xbox 360 - Darksiders

Darksiders by THQ / Vigil

Here's another throwback to the late-90's / early-00s. This is your standard third person shooter with semi-irritating boss battles. You probably would have even found this game in an arcade or two in the late 90s.


Nothing spectacular here. Typical controls for a third person shooter. There is one control, however, that was completely done wrong. When you finally get the chain to swing from floating hook areas, the chain controls are badly done. First, you target the item to chain. Then you press the fire chain control (right trigger). That's ok, so far. But, instead of releasing the RT button to release the chain, you have to press the A button. If you release the RT button, you stop swinging. It's like, huh? Who thought this controller design up? It's far more intuitive to release the RT button to release the chain itself. Duh.


You're one of the four horsemen who are there to prevent heaven and hell from starting a battle on the Earth. Well, it happened anyway and they blame your character (one of the four horsemen). Ok, so the premise is weak, but it at least gets you motivation for what you're doing (or about to do).

So anyway, you'll find there's lots of hacking, slashing, chopping and stomping going on here. Not particularly exciting if you ask me. For a late 90s type game, it'd probably have been a hit back then. With gaming engines and stories that have long progressed beyond this level of hack and slash, it's really old hat at this point.

Level Ups & Combos

They did add the ability to level your weapons up by adding enhancements and obtaining upgrades. You can buy combos from Vulgrim (the local merchant). As you progress through the game, you find a Vulgrim merchant location in each of the map areas (with the exception of the Iron Canopy area). So, you can make your character somewhat stronger by finding (or paying for) new weapons, features and upgrades. You find items by digging through chests, but mainly by paying Vulgrim.

To pay Vulgrim, you obtain blue 'souls'. These souls pop out of things and enemies you destroy. There are blue souls (money), yellow souls (action points) and green souls (health) in various sizes. There are also healing spells that you can buy from Vulgrim when you can't find health on the level (and yes, there will be times).


Most of the bosses are quite easy, with the exception of Silitha (a large teleporting spider). It appears that THQ made this specific battle extremely difficult to complete. Not sure why unless they just like raising frustration levels. Simply search at Google for 'Defeat Silitha' and you'll find many many gamers looking for the answer to this battle.


As with many games of this style, the developers decided to add some quite irritating things to this game. When you're just about out of health, you have to listen to a heart beating until you find more health. Hello.. I can SEE the meter on the screen, I don't have to be reminded with an irritating heartbeat noise every second.

When you're trying to beat Silitha, about every 2 seconds she says, "Hold still little one" or some other such drivel. It became so irritating, I had to turn the voice volume all the way down.

Next, I play with Y inverted. Unfortunately, Darksiders doesn't remember that once you've restarted the game the next time. So, I have to constantly remember to go into the options and invert the Y setting. This should be saved to the game save.

The controls do not always respond well. So, when you're battling enemies, you seem to sometimes get stunned for no reason and that allows enemies to pound on you. It's almost like the game is doing this on purpose. In fact, it might actually be doing that.

Vulgrim Tunnel Travel

This part of the game was completely pointless. Yes, you do travel from one area to another reasonably fast. The part that is pointless is that you have to run around this track from point A to point B. There's no fighting, no quests and no treasures there. Frankly, I would have preferred to enter the portal and exit it with nothing in between. If you're going to make the gamer do something, then make it worth their while... here's another tip to go into the Game Design from a Gamer's Perspective manual. Although, it's really already there as 'Don't waste the gamer player's time'.


This is a tired, old and worn out gaming style. I understand a lot of gamers still like to play them, but for an RPG gamer, this play system just doesn't really work. If you're the kind of gamer that likes to roam through levels, figure out puzzles and battle silly creatures, then you might like this.

The best part of this game.. well, there is no real best part. This is an average/mediocre third person shooter with nothing overly special. If you simply must play everything on the Xbox 360, go for it. If you're looking for a quality, longer and more thought provoking game that's compelling, Darksiders isn't it.

  • Sound: 6/10 (irritating voices)
  • Graphics: 6/10 (good, but missing too many details)
  • Gameplay: 7/10 (mostly workable)
  • Story: 7/10 (weak plot wrapped with lots of hacking and slashing)
  • Bugginess: N/A
  • Controls: 6/10 (bad chain control. otherwise workable)
  • Bang-to-buck: 1/10 (definitely no replay value)
  • Play Value: $5 (limited play value, repetitive, boring in places, rent)
  • Overall: 5.5/10 (I definitely recommend renting this title. Not worth $60).

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