Version tested: PlayStation 3
We said a few pages further on, on our site, that the 2010 videogame will start with a bang especially thanks to the titles belonging to the action genre, with all the variations of the case. Darksiders perhaps it has undergone a longer gestation than it should have and has not obtained an adequate sounding board, at least until today. Not bad, because it is the final quality that counts, and the title developed by Vigil Games has it in enviable quantities. Just like when a topic is "embraced" by many sides and comes back into fashion, even in Darksiders the main theme sees the balance of the universe, under its own interpretation. Hell and Heaven have always been opposed in this context, with Men in the middle to represent that crazy variable and without apparent masters. Something, as usual, does not add up, and despite the fact that a pact has been signed, supported by 7 seals still intact, Hell and Heaven literally fall like meteorites on Earth, triggering a battle with disastrous consequences.
You (we?) Are Guerra, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse who has the task, while the other three are on vacation, no one knows where, to investigate what is happening and punish the perpetrators of this happening. Obviously, not everything will go smoothly and Guerra will find himself fighting on several fronts, wandering the game universe to discover all the plots and plots that characterize this intricate system.
Darksiders, it should be noted, it is the first official title developed by Vigil Games, but among its ranks we have several well-known faces of the videogame landscape and above all among the founders there are the ideas and the pen of a certain Joe Madureira, designer within Marvel well known, especially in America.
Joe Mad distinguished himself from the classic trait of American Comics for being able to inculcate typical manga influences in his drawings, giving his characters a softer and even more pleasant to see trait. The result, in the case of Darksiders, it's explosive.
Long live the Manga Comic!
Without a doubt, we can say in fact that the creation of the characters in the game is among the best ever seen in a video game, for minutiae of details, design, use of colors, but also polygonal size. The various Guerra, Tiamat, Samael (note also names from various religious beliefs) are truly exceptional, give the idea of fullness and fully reveal the skill of their designer. The game world created for Darksiders takes up the classic scheme that provides multiple environments completely different from each other, perhaps connected by underground cavities or giant buildings. Not the maximum of originality, but the thing is proposed so well that it was missed a little and, like the trait for the characters, their realization shines both from an artistic point of view and as a variety. We go from dark environments to other gaudy colors, passing through aquatic, sandy ones and so on, all with a skilful use of lights, colors and variety of textures and structures, a real elaborate work to give the idea to the player to find himself in an imaginative world and embroiled in a great war, with different touches of class such as boss fights in pouring rain reproduced to perfection, giant spiders that infest dungeons corrupted by them, sandstorms that hide giant worms ready to eat War in one bite.
If we analyze the title in more detail, certainly we do not notice textures overflowing with detail like those of a Gears of War or Uncharted, as well as we have a frame rate that suffers several drops in the largest environments or in the most numerous fights. Even the internal structures suffer more from the lower presence of particle effects or structural detail, but the programmers have been very good at inserting light sources often and willingly even in closed spaces, in order to return a better impact. Finally, we were struck by the precision of the shadows cast by each structure and character, as well as the correct and not excessive use of bloom and light sources themselves, which return that extra touch in a final rendering key.
Darksiders is completely translated into Spanish and we must say that we really liked the adaptation of the texts and the names (the same Guerra, Rovina and company do not make bad at all in the long run), as well as for the voice mold, which can be distinguished among the others by the same voice actor seen in Crackdown, LittleBigPlanet, Infamous and so on. It is a pity that the same care has not been taken in the technical realization of the dubbing itself, in the sense that the voices seem to be poorly integrated with the ambient noises and sometimes not very expressive in relation to what happens on the screen, making everything seem "stuck" to the rest of the gaming system. The music is well made, contextual to what happens on the screen and they do their job well, even if they cannot boast memorable tracks for realization.
Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about the gameplay of Darksiders, which until proven otherwise is still the main aspect in the evaluation of a video game. First of all, it is good to frame exactly the title of the Vigil Games, which although at first glance seem like an action, in reality it contains many more elements of adventure and puzzles than you might think. As mentioned, the primary purpose is to wander around the game world to track down various bosses and demons in order to reach the final one and punish him properly. To hinder the path of war there are, beyond the enemies, several passages accessible only after having acquired certain objects and skills, as well as rather large and intricate environmental puzzles, which are often represented by entire sections of the game to be solved with logic and with the gadgets in the possession of the main protagonist. The fighting component represents in fact no more than 25/30% of the game and includes the broadsword (usable with the square button) in possession of Guerra to get the best of the enemies, with the double jump, various combos, the parade and the possibility , using the lower left spine, to engage a particular enemy. Each opponent can be finished with a special sequence and when the circle button appears on his head. No timed events however, everything is automated, spectacular and different for each type of enemy, as well as the opening of the various energy boxes, which requires a single press of the dedicated button to be unhinged. Guerra can "feed" on some souls, divided into three types, those dedicated to energy itself, to anger, which represents the mana for magical abilities, and finally the remaining blue ones, which can be used with Vulgrim, character key of the game where you can buy new fighting techniques, spells and upgrades, up to the ability to move faster from one setting to another when needed.
PlayStation 3 Trophies
Darksiders offers 43 trophies, of which 3 Gold and 13 Silver. To unlock them all you have to finish the game on the highest difficulty level, find all the secret artifacts and pieces of armor, kill the enemies in a variety of ways, all without having to finish the game twice. Nothing too complicated then if not a lot of dedication in terms of hours dedicated to find all the secrets.
As already mentioned, in addition to the classic broadsword, the main protagonist also has a whole series of secondary weapons and gadgets useful not only to get the better of the enemy, but also to overcome otherwise impassable passages. For example, a sort of steel fist, capable of breaking ice barriers that block the road, or the grapple, essential for reaching places located at great distances. Continuing in the advanced phases of the game, the balance between the action phase and that of exploration and puzzle is unbalanced in favor of the latter, providing pleasant sections in which you have to use the new skills acquired by Guerra to continue. The work done in this sense is quite interesting and always aimed at combining the gadgets in one's possession with environmental puzzles of different sizes. For example, in one you have to paper the wall with a kind of sticky material to the point of exploding, then use your own rotating blade in sequence first on a lit torch, then on the above material to trigger it in sequence. And again, in the advanced stages of the game you have a chronosphere, which allows you to activate a temporal gap between two points that you can cross: well you have to take advantage of this feature to reach high or distant locations, perhaps on moving platforms and always remembering that the gate can be equipped with a maximum of one entry point and one exit point. Even the battles with the bosses clearly denote the puzzle inclination of the title, as they always have a weak point that must be found and then exploited with the objects at one's disposal, perhaps exploiting elements of the scenario and repeating everything several times until you have the best.
They do not even sin in variety, and each proposes a rather different challenge from the previous one, together with the setting and the types of attack of their opponent. Among the most beautiful we have the one in the ashy moors, where on horseback of Ruin (a steed which is also useful for moving quickly when you have to go back in search of new passages or extras) you are chased by a large worm and you have to attach it to the back with the gun in his possession, a very nice scene to see and play. In short, level design and variety at levels well beyond the average, with a constant progression of the main character that also translates into numerous secret areas, upgrades and more to be found at a later time, with a backtracking however never too invasive thanks to the aforementioned portals of Vulgrim and the horse Ruin.
However, there are some critical issues. First of all, many elements, if taken individually, already know by sight and in any case do not propose memorable points in their realization, especially the fights that lack strategy and do not tire also because they are present in not excessive numbers. The parade did not convince us and above all it does not respond well to commands while the lock system on enemies with the camera works well only in the presence of a single one. otherwise it is preferable to use the free one. Some sections, fortunately few, seem to have been put there to lengthen the broth, which in any case is strange since the main adventure takes at least 14-16 hours to complete, which increase rapidly if, before the final part, we dedicate ourselves to using all the powers acquired so far to visit those previously inaccessible passages or to find all the secret objects scattered around the map.
Also because, once the title has been completed, there is no possibility to restart it with the acquired characteristics and souls, just as there is no new mode or extras waiting for the player, a shame after having thoroughly appreciated that. that Darksiders has to offer.
Darksiders it is a perfect example of how a video game should be made in all its aspects, in fact it has a valid gameplay supported by an excellent level design and realization of the characters, a predominant and never too difficult puzzle component, a considerable background variety , a really pleasant technical sector above all thanks to the artistic level. Although devoid of particular ideas upwards and concessions in an extra key and replayability, the title makes a good impression and is absolutely recommended for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners. Good first for Vigil Games , gamers can thank for being able to have this action / adventure that on more than one occasion makes reference, given the due proportions, to titles such as Zelda and especially Metroid Prime.
- Excellent level design and art facility
- Great variety and ingenious puzzle component
- Good duration of the main adventure
- Replayability and extras close to zero
- Few memorable insights into the individual aspects of the game