Darksiders Warmastered Edition Review – Darksided

Another remastered review for a remastered rerelease.

Developer: Vigil Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Format: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Released: November 29, 2016
Copy purchased

The story goes that Heaven and Hell agreed not to wage war until the third kingdom, that of mankind, was strong enough to hold its own against the other two powers. However, due to an administrative error and more than a little betrayal, Armageddon was triggered and War manages to get the blame for killing off the human race.

He must now clear his name before the Charred Council and find the one responsible for kick-starting the apocalypse, tethered to a snarky spirit that watches his every move and holds back his powers.

It’s an inane story, but it carries itself with just enough seriousness to get away with all the seething angst that drips from every line. A cast of terrific vocal performers – including the delightful Mark Hamill – sell the game’s ludicrous premise with confidence and create some fantastic characters while they’re at it.

Darksiders is a classic action-adventure game through and through. Heavy, meaty combat mixed with exploration and dungeon-based puzzles are all on the menu and showcase some terrific design work.

Character customization and RPG elements take a back seat, but they are present. Souls are earned in-game and traded with demon merchant Vulgrim for more weapons, new attacks, and all manner of items. Gear can be attached to weaponry, bestowing extra attributes like fire elemental damage or increased power from thrown objects.

As War clears dungeons on his rampage of justice, he’ll gain new items that can be used to access previously inaccessible areas. When I first reviewed this game, I took great pains to say it wasn’t an edgier Zelda, but in hindsight I think I was just trying to be different. As War gets his own version of the hookshot and boomerang, it’s incontrovertible that Vigil was exactly aiming at being Zelda for angry people.

Zelda isn’t the only game Darksiders liberally borrows from. He’ll be able to stop time for certain puzzles, indulge in God of War QTE executions, and even gain access to his version of Portal‘s Portal Gun, the Voidwalker. Darksiders pinches successful ideas from a bevy of popular games, but puts them all to fine use in a well polished adventure.

Combat begins life as little more than a button masher,but simple combos are soon augmented with sub-weapons and skills that can be used on the fly. Vulgrim has a ton of ability expansions on offer, and they give War a lot of viable options during a scrap. It’s a flexible game with close and ranged weaponry that work together to rack up hefty hit streaks.

Wrath abilities are special moves that require yellow souls to use. These powers can summon blades from the ground, poison enemies, or buff War’s defenses. By dealing damage, War accrues enough power to temporarily switch to Chaos Form, becoming a monstrous creature that can cleave opponents apart with ease.

War’s huge and lumbering build perfectly comes across in the hacking and slashing action. Every swing feels like it has power behind it, and his various unlockable maneuvers are suitably brutal.

Sadly the hooded grumbler’s defensive moves aren’t quite so hot. Despite the ability to block and parry, too many enemy attacks are flagged as unblockable and there’s very little in the way of telegraphing to warn players. His dash move, a tiny little skip if anything, is often worthless when attempting to escape damage thanks to the huge reach some opponents possess.

It also has to be said that the amount of debris in the game is troublesome. War can both grab enemies for finishing moves and various environmental weapons with the same button. This inevitably leads to War picking up a chair or a car instead of finishing an enemy, leaving him prone to some free attacks. A bit less clutter in some of the game’s indoor areas would have been welcome.

Boss battles – also inspired thoroughly by Zelda – rarely feel conventional and nearly always provide a thrilling, climactic finale to each dungeon. Whether you’re using portals to jump on a giant demon’s back or riding a mighty horse while shooting a giant worm in the mouth,  Darksiders is full of memorable fights.

Vigil already did great visual work with this game back in the day, and plenty of attention has been poured into the Warmastered Edition. Aside from an improved resolution with 4K support, the textures have been overhauled and cutscenes are re-rendered. Being from an age when downloadable content was not quite so ubiquitous, there’s no real extra content to speak of.

One thing that bears mentioning is just how well Darksiders has aged. Despite being a six-year-old game, the simple combat and great environmental design make for an adventure that’s aged incredibly well. Picking it up again was just as enjoyable as it was in 2010, and the extra visual spitshine makes it feel right at home among modern titles.

I’ve always adored Vigil’s derivative-but-not-in-a-bad-way action title, and I hate this neither this game nor its sequel ever achieved much success. There’s a suggestion that the owners of what’s now THQ Nordic are using this and the Darksiders II rerelease to gauge interest in a possible sequel, and I hope that interest is apparent. I’m not holding out much hope, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

At any rate, I’m glad we got two wonderful action games out of the Darksiders property, even if that’s all we ever get, and I’m really glad I played them again, because they’re not lost a step.

9/10
Superb

Garth Sorenson
Guest
Garth Sorenson

I gotta say that I find the combat to be super clunky. Enemies interrupt everything you do and you only interrupt enemies if they’re feeling generous that day. In spite of having a dodge button the amount it slows you down at the end of the dash mixed with the lack of invincibility frames, means you probably aren’t about to dodge much. Secondary weapons also don’t combo in with your main weapon (though that’s not really a clunkyness complaint, just a bit of a nit pick). The combat mixed with backtracking through uninspired dungeons, means this is probably third time… Read more »

HisDivineOrder
Guest
HisDivineOrder

I don’t think they’re gauging interest in Darksiders based on sales. If they were, they wouldn’t have given away the remasters for both Darksiders games to every PC owner who already owns the previous versions.

I think they’re working their way up to making a Darksiders 3 after getting the franchise back on people’s minds. I don’t know if they’ll finish it, though. I have my doubts.

Meyneth
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Meyneth

Fingers crossed for Darksiders 3; we really need one. Glad they FINALLY bothered to remaster this. I’ve got a copy for Christmas and I’m looking forward to playing it again…sad as it sounds, they just don’t make them like this anymore.

Unnoticing Senpai
Guest
Unnoticing Senpai

“the game’s ludicrous premise”
It didn’t strike me as much. In fact, I found it pretty… normal? Darksiders’ story isn’t exactly insane compared to some other games or similar levels of unrealism, especially Devil May Cry where you play as a demon hinter who literally dance as he kills them. Or the more recent Doom, where the entirety of hell is afraid of a human.
To say nothing of Suda51’s work.

Devin White
Guest

Wow, this is a remastered review of a 6 year old game and still nothing has been done to increase the framerate? My specs have lots of large numbers and I still can’t get to a consistent 30, much less 60. Anyone got a mod for this review?

Just Some Guy
Guest
Just Some Guy

I like how they gave both remastered versions for free to those that had the originals, with DLC, at least for PC on Steam.

Фролов Денис
Guest
Фролов Денис

Love the series. There was something special about DS 1, despite how little originality it actually had. DS2 improved on it immensely.

Too bad THQ pretty much took the series with it.

Jack Trevor
Guest
Jack Trevor

Hey Jim, there isn’t a WiiU port of the game.

I checked and when the Amazon page says “Coming Dec 31, 2017”, I think it can be safely assumed that it ain’t coming out.

InShortSight
Guest
InShortSight

I got darksiders 1 and 2 for dirt cheap in a steam sale after hearing time and time again the comparisons to Zelda, but after putting ~2 hours into the first game I was inclined to call bullshit. I’ve now wasted a similar amount of time with the 2nd game, and all I can say is ‘What the fuck were they talking about’. This review seems to clear it up a bit, but to me Darksiders seems far better compared to God of War, or Ninja Gaiden. Dark Souls sits comfortably closer to Zelda than the Darksiders series does, at… Read more »

Viking Mana
Guest
Viking Mana

I can’t think of a single game that puts “Stolen” ideas to use quite as well as the first Darksiders. It takes inspiration from a lot of great games, and it puts them all into it’s own context, and it does it so well!

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

Wait a minute… WII U!? 3rd party developers are still releasing non-indie multiplatform games on the freaking WII U!?

HelixShade
Guest
HelixShade

So here’s a question – I thought THQ collapsed years ago? So what’s all this about a THQ Nordic all of a sudden?

Sperium3000
Guest
Sperium3000

What’s more to say? This is a good game. Not a classic for the ages, but pretty dang good.

AnGer
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AnGer

The first Darksiders I liked, the second one I was just OK with. Never bothered to finish it b/c I felt bored with the game (from what I hear, right before it got more intense), but neither is outright terrible.

For a game that takes as many ideas from other series, it has enough of proper charm to keep it going. (Can’t say the same thing about Lords of Shadow (#FucKonami))

Neto
Guest
Neto

I’ll have to disagree with your opinion on this one. I played the original Darksiders a few months ago, and to me, it was basically poor man’s God of War. Which is not to say it was bad, it was alright, but I wasn’t super fond of it. The combat got pretty dull after a while since you only get a handful of moves (the old “press button, wait, then press button again” is as complex as it gets in this game). Most of the weapons were meh, and most of the NPCs were super annoying (seriously, can’t Vulgrim ever… Read more »

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

It’s on Wii U? Really? That’s unexpected.

Now that they’re both out, I might have to look into them. I’ve Got Darksiders 2 on 360 via Games with Gold, so maybe I’ll load it up some time.

Iftekhar Ahmed
Guest
Iftekhar Ahmed

I’m positive that THQ Nordic are more than aware of the fan demand of this franchise hence the remastering!

Efren Aguilera
Guest
Efren Aguilera

Wasn’t expecting to get free upgrade to the warmastered edition for free on steam. That was a welcome change. Though for anyone that wants to play Darksiders 2 on PC I’d recommend getting the original version and the not the deathfinitive edition since I hear that version isn’t so hot on PC.

ManuOtaku
Guest
ManuOtaku

I do love the series, and the two games protagonists couldn´t play more differently, one was slower-powerfull and bulkier, while the other was nimble and fast. Also that with the second game they have added diablo sort of loot system as well. Seeing this differences and improvements made, i cannot wonder-imagine what they could had achieved in a third game.

I do not tend to buy remasters just for graphical upgrades, but in this case i will make an exception, just in order to promote the posibility of a third game.

vonSanneck
Guest
vonSanneck

And on PC if you owned the original on Steam or GOG: here’s a free game. Or in the case of GOG a replacement.

Polishfury5000
Guest
Polishfury5000

Normally I’d wait for a bundle to buy both the remasters at once, but I can see myself dishing out a little extra to throw my support at these kick ass gems. I really enjoyed this series too, and would love to see it finished.

It’s funny how something completely unoriginal in gameplay turned out to be such a unique game. Couldn’t have done that without such a great aesthetic design.

goodbyejojo
Guest
goodbyejojo

i remember playing the original thq port of the game on the pc and that left pretty bad first impression on me, and i never got around to replaying it again, it just wasn’t appealing for me anymore.

Geraint Rees
Guest
Geraint Rees

Having played all through the remaster myself,did you not have any technical issues Jim? Even with the patch ,the games cutscenes cut out and the audio carried on and there was a astounding amount of crashes throughout my playthrough.

Nikita Kress
Guest
Nikita Kress

One of my favorite series. Really hope after these remasters THQ Nordic will finish the series.

Chad
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Chad

These games were very underrated in my opinion, the only thing I didn’t like about the series was the flying boss at the top of a tower in the first game. Fuck that thing!