So I finished Darksiders, and while I found the experience to be okay overall, I don't find myself really clamoring to play Darskiders II. I was excited for the first game, and just never got around to buying it.
At this juncture, having played it from start to finish, I'm glad I didn't pay the full price of the game.
I don't know how, but I've spent a great deal of time gaming without paying attention to much of anything beyond the playability, general graphics and story. Now I find myself caring that a world isn't as detailed as I think it could be, or a character is bland, or a story is pointless.
Darksiders is a good game that lacks lasting appeal because of the shameless borrowing from other games and lack of attention paid to a rich tapestry of storytelling that something like the Apocalypse offers.
So you play as War, who jumped the gun on the whole breaking of the seven seals thing, and is the only Horseman to have been summoned to Earth in what is an unscheduled Apocalypse.
I don't know if you've seen War... But I have, and I hate him.
He looks like an idiot, talks in a cold, monotone, and has very little personality. One could easily say, "Well what do you want? He's war? He's not a person..." Which is true. But this is a video game where, ideally, the player should sympathize with War, and War should convey some of the anger he should feel for being pegged as the fall-guy for this Apocalypse.
Nope. He just glares with his glowing eyes, grits his teeth and says something that's supposed to be vengeful and strike fear in the hearts and minds of his enemies.
As if that wasn't bad enough, controlling War is a bit of a chore. He's slow, and there are limits to where you can use his horse, Ruin, which you don't acquire until late in the game when it doesn't really matter anymore.
They give a neat dash move that proves useless in terms of expediting travel because war has to recover from it for a brief moment before moving again.
Not that I'm jaded by fast travel, but the barren nature of the world makes traveling from one area to the next tedious, and the addition of Serpent Holes doesn't really help matters much. The world feels apocalyptic enough, but it should be crawling with denizens rather than remaining empty and refilling only when revisiting during specific quests/tasks later in the game.
I should also mention that I don't even know what to call the things you have to do. Are they quests? Tasks? Missions?
No matter what you call them, they're boring.
You start with all your powers, then get annoyingly de-powered and have to then traverse a large, but unpopulated world to recover those powers on the road to clearing War's name as the perpetrator of this false Apocalypse.
The items War wields along the way are completely original and in no way taken from other games.
There's the Abyssal Chain, Crossblade, Mask of Shadows, or hookshot, boomerang and lens of truth from the Legend of Zelda series. You get wings to glide, not unlike the Icarus Wings from God of War.
Toward's the end of the game, you get the Voidwalker. Which is a just an apocalyptic Portal Gun.
The combat is clunky, and none of the items or secondary weapons you get can be used seamlessly as part of combinations or used to enhance abilities. The dash ability and dash attack make combat all too easy, and the enemy types don't evolve or incorporate the abilities and items you have.
They just get stronger, and require more hitting to defeat, as opposed to using the Tremor Gauntlet to break a shield, dashing to the side to catch an enemy off guard or in a blind spot, or anything to make it less like "Press X repeatedly to win."
The story is lackluster, though it had potential. I think the game design hindered the direction of the story. It tried to combine dungeon crawling with hack-n-slash gameplay while trying to incorporate a semi-open world.
I thought consorting with Samael was going to lead somewhere, but it didn't. I half expected him to turn on me and present himself as a secondary threat in addition to the Destroyer.
Instead, you beat four bosses and bring their hears back to Samael and he just sends you on your way.
I could really go on a long time about the problems I have with this game. And not that it is an outright bad game. It just doesn't do anything I thought it would, or probably could.
Luckily, I was able to break up the uneven gameplay of Darksiders by also playing Hitman: Absolution. Which I'm also coming to the end of. Maybe I should mention that before I one day just post, "I beat Hitman: Absolution" and not say another word about it.