Originally released back in 2010 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC, Darksiders is a game that took cues from many other franchises like God of War and the legend of Zelda series. But despite it’s obvious influences, the game managed to stand out in it’s own right as one of the best hack and slash action games of the last generation. Now, with the release of Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, we get to dive right back into the same apocalyptic world over six years later.
The game follows protagonist War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. After being accused of pre-maturely bringing about the end of the world, and effectively ensuring the demise of humankind, War is stripped of his god-like powers and made to stand trial for his actions. Pleading his innocence, The Charred Council allows the horseman one last chance to redeem himself by returning to earth to find those responsible for his betrayal. You know, a standard revenge story.
But where Darksiders switches it up a bit, is with War himself. Stripped of his powers, our protagonist is only a shell of his former self. Yet still the demons he is forced to consort with are wary of him even when they try to make little of him, knowing full well of his competence and what he is capable of doing. War may not be the most interesting of characters, but the game emphasizes how he garners respect from both the beings of Hell and Heaven.
The star of Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is still the gameplay though, with it’s mix of combat and puzzle solving. Combat feels as fluid as ever with War dashing across the battlefield, hacking away at his enemies with the massive Chaoseater sword. Each strike has weight to it, and after damaging an enemy enough, you can perform brutal executions that manage to remain as satisfying and exciting as when the game first starts.
Later into the game you also gain access to additional weapons such as the Scythe and the Tremor Gauntlet, which add a whole new level of depth to the combat by introducing varied methods of attack. They can also be used to chain combos together with Chaoseater to unleash massive area of effect attacks that allow you to push back the approaching onslaught of enemies. Which is necessary because they attack in massive numbers and attempt to overpower you with their sheer numbers.
Killing enemies nets you with souls, which manifests in three forms, Health, Wrath and Currency. Health and Wrath refill their own respective bars and play important roles in combat, but Currency is used for War’s upgrades. Taking these to the Merchant Vulgrim allows War to invest in deadly skills for his weapons, and even allows you to purchase the above mentioned Scythe and the improved Harvester.
But combat is only one part of the gameplay experience, being broken up by puzzle sequences that utilize some of the other gear like the Abyssal Chain and the Crossblade. These offer a very welcome change of pace from the regular action heavy sequences, and there is something to be said about their creativity as well. But in the end, even though they serve their basic function properly, the same complaint from six years ago surfaces.
It’s not that these puzzles are bad, far from it in fact, but the fact still remains that there are other games that have done the same thing much earlier and much better. And in the Warmastered Edition, these issues seemed to stand out just a tiny bit more than the first time around.
But perhaps the one feature that truly makes Darksiders: Warmastered Edition stand out from it’s original counterpart are the game’s visuals. The game looks absolutely fantastic in it’s improved 1080p resolution, and even manages to maintain the promised 60 FPS on consoles to the point where you have a hard time believing how old this game actually is. The improved texture quality makes tiny details that you might have missed in the original pop like never before.
But regardless of how good the game plays or looks, there were a number of standout bugs that took away from the experience, even more so now because they were nowhere to be found in the original. Twice it occurred that the surface of water in an underwater section seemed to completely disappear, making it seem like your character was swimming in nothingness. Also, while using the Shadowflight ability for the first time the wings were nowhere to be seen, making it look as if War was trying to impersonate a Chris Angel levitation pose in mid-air.
There were a couple of others glitches, but thankfully though they were few and far in between. They were also mostly forgivable considering I was playing a pre-release version of the game, and might be fixed by the time of the game’s official launch.
In the end, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is the perfect example of how to do a remaster right. Everything that made the original Darksiders special is still here, and is better than ever thanks to the power of current gen consoles. If you haven’t gotten into the series yet, the budget price of $19.99 is as good a chance as you will ever get.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U and the PC. It was developed by Vigil Games and published by THQ Nordic. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition Review (Xbox One)
In a generation of half-hearted, glitchy remasters, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition stands out as a true labor of love. It's not only the best way to dive back into the world of Darksiders, but also the best starting point for those new to the franchise.