Darksiders Updated Impressions

We horse around with THQ's Darksiders on the Xbox 360.

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THQ unveiled its apocalyptic action adventure title Darksiders two years ago at E3 2007, which was when we got our first look at the game. Back then, we were told Darksiders was an "upcoming" title. That was a word repeated often, through previews and hands-on sessions in early 2008, at E3 2008, early this year, and now, at E3 2009. We can only deduce that THQ has spent all this time rather well, judging from our hands-off demo on the Xbox 360 at this year's show. The game looks great, the combat is fast and efficient, and there's certainly no shortage of awesomely gory moments.

What's New:

THQ wanted to show us something new this time around, namely some of the more chaotic-looking areas of the game. Most of what we've seen of the game so far has been in the modern metropolis stages, full of parking lots and concrete. The focus this time around was on the fantastical environments that War travels through as the game progresses. These get increasingly more chaotic as War regains his powers and battles an ever-growing list of mythical creatures. THQ also wanted to demonstrate the gameplay on horseback.

The demo we were shown took place in an area called the Ashlands, where War began fighting smaller enemies with his large sword and arsenal of impressive weapons, including a gun and a gauntlet. Although the action was fast-paced and versatile in the number of combination moves and weapons that War possessed, the game was more about exploration than combat. Most areas can be fully explored; thus, War will find treasure chests, health chests, and bonus life points. The game has also been designed without a linear story, which means War can go back to areas he's already visited and explore further. This also applies when War lacks the skills or weapons to defeat a particular enemy--he can move on and return at a later time when he's stronger.

We then jumped forward to an arena fight where War's objective was to defeat an enemy and steal his horse, Ruin. After unleashing all sorts of wrath on his enemy, including various attack combos involving his gun, sword, and a throwing blade, War finished his enemies off with a quickplay move. On the Xbox, this was done by pressing the B button when it appeared near the enemy. This time, War's finishing move was to slash the kneecaps of his enemy, a large demon-type with heavy armour, which bled to death in front of our eyes. Awesome.

Once this was done, War mounted the horse and accessed areas of the game that he couldn't before and fought different enemies. We were then shown a desert where War on horseback battled a giant scorpion monster. While on Ruin, War used his normal dash ability--on the Xbox 360 this is the right bumper--and Ruin began to run faster. In the demo, War had to use Ruin to always keep ahead of the scorpion and only attack it when its mouth fell open. Again, after a few sword hits, the scorpion was ready for the quickplay move, which War took full advantage of by slitting its long stomach with his sword.

What's Different:

One thing we learned during the demo was that War can pick up and drop weapons in the later stages of the game. These weapons act like turrets and will make him move slower while he's holding them, but they'll also be more powerful than anything in his possession. War's sword, named the Chaos Eater, also does something cool: As War uses it to fight, it builds up power that is displayed in a meter in the top-left corner of the screen. This meter will only appear when it's full, and once this happens, War turns into a glowing, fiery demon that unleashes destruction on anything and everything that stands in his way. This little transformation doesn't last long, but it's enough to finish off any particularly tricky enemies.

You can assign different weapons to the Xbox 360's D pad and switch seamlessly among them, which is something that will be useful when enemies begin performing their so-called "desperation moves." The closer to death an enemy gets, the more annoying it will become, which means War will have to get creative with his combos.

Also, Mark Hamill voices the character The Watcher, whose task it is to keep War in line.

What's the Same:

The combat. Comparisons to God of War are inevitable--Darksiders looks very similar when it comes to combat and weaponry, not to mention War's combat moves and the absorption of glowing orbs from anything that he destroys. The quickplay moves and combo attacks, as well as the story, are also in line with what we've seen before.

What Impression the Game Made This Time:

Overall, this demo left us in no doubt that Darksiders will be big once released. We had everything to convince us of this, from the game's sense of progression and inventive skills and weapons to its vast array of environments, which ranged from the highly fantastical to the every day.

Check back on GameSpot for more coverage of Darksiders. It's scheduled for release on January 1, 2010.

Discussion

47 comments
JoshZA
JoshZA

I like the fact that theres a non linear story line, it makes for much more replay value :D

EvanDeWickeD
EvanDeWickeD

Loving this!!! :B Anything even a tad close to GOW is a winner for me :B

Vasot
Vasot

This looks way better from God of War 3 !!! Good to see Mark Hamill play the voice of the Watcher in the game just like with Joker in Batman - Arkham Asylum I will buy it for my X360 !!

josmith733
josmith733

I like how every preview ever written always says "this is going to be a great game" but when it comes out, our expectations are never met.

NearlyPrescient
NearlyPrescient

@ t0g511 I seem to recall in previous previews (story ones, back when it was announced), the other Horsemen tie into the story, and I'm relatively sure they're enemies. if you go through some older previews and find out the story, I'm relatively sure that's what you'll find.

duckafro
duckafro

This game looks better every time I see it.

Hobbitslayer18
Hobbitslayer18

Looks like they are taking a lot of elements from God of War, which is a good thing. This game looks like it's going to be something nice. Allthough god of war 3 is going to be much better than this game.

thunderhorse55
thunderhorse55

@Ian_Michael: i think the reason they said that is because they want to show you bits and pieces of what the controls are gonna be like. why would you follow a game that you already know is gonna suck cus of bad controls, or follow a game that you know has to simplistic controls? see what im saying?

thunderhorse55
thunderhorse55

@ t0g511: probably more like different chapters, rather than different games. i think by now they would've told us whether or not the other 3 would be in sequels

t0g511
t0g511

They only revealed that you play as War there are 3 more horseman.Sequels?

JunkyMcMuffin
JunkyMcMuffin

I hope this game is as good as God of War, because it as close as 360 owners will ever get.lol

raza3
raza3

it looks like the fighting style same as kratos but i dont know what game i will buy first this or gow3

simsward007
simsward007

I love this game - it looks like a modern post-apocalyptic GOW game. Im absolutely sure it will make Kratos proud.

Zerobeam
Zerobeam

I'm gonna buy the heII outta this game

hellpolice
hellpolice

I cannot wait for this game! I am a fan of Joe Mad this game I will blindly buy it. :)

Ian_Michael
Ian_Michael

This game looks good can't wait for the launch! :D

Ian_Michael
Ian_Michael

Why is it that when describing the gameplay the writer also has to mention on the xbox 360 you press the left bumper or press the B button??? That totally distracts from visualizing the game in my mind.

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

This is totally my kinda game....too bad I'm gonna have to wait 6 months for it.

lungu111
lungu111

xbox games are great and have an enviable graphics as in this case the game is brutally especially that big sword

IPwnNooBs666
IPwnNooBs666

Day 1 purchase for me. This game looks awesome!

HaRdNiPs
HaRdNiPs

i think that it should have a better look to the visuals and graphics like prince of persia because it has to much crazy sh** going on at the same time. the realism look looks great but it doesn't show alot of great details of the demons, angels, places, and war from the comic book.

HaRdNiPs
HaRdNiPs

props to mr me l33t; even though the name doesn't go with the biblical book it's still badass. even though war, death, choas, and destruction are still badass names. all 4 has a major role in the apocolyptic war with heaven and hell and there right smack in the middle of it

Mr_Me_L33T
Mr_Me_L33T

i wish you could have four player co-op, cuz WAR and DEATH plus the other two horsemen would be bad a**

Mickleohb
Mickleohb

Sounds like this is shaping up really well. I might just have to get it day 1

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

To know if a game will be a hit, or if it's gonna be any good is hard, gotta wait 'till the release, looks good on paper though.

gmax
gmax

Still in the works...

pallex85
pallex85

If THE LEGEND OF ZELDA and GOD OF WAR were combined to make a game it would be DARKSIDERS... At least this is what I'm getting from what I've read and seen.

pakhair
pakhair

Seems cooll...........

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

The game looks really awesome I can't wait to get it.

formerroadie
formerroadie

I hope the delays made it worth it. I would rather wait for a killer game than get a half baked piece of crap. I'm looking forward to the release and some reviews.

guynamedyeah
guynamedyeah

i think they lost me when they said that its zelda-esque. once i saw it the first thing to pop up was "thats not very zeldaish..." maybe they should of made this a 360 exclusive...

GatsuBlackSword
GatsuBlackSword

I played this game at Pax' 08 and it sucked. It's looking better but first impressions stick.

MidniteShadow
MidniteShadow

This games gonna rock, i can reveal my evil side now, well I do have Prototype , but still this is awsome !!

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

Unfortunately, I lost quite a bit of interest due to the delays. Hope it's good. :)

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

I'm expecting the game to be good, man this is going to be SWEET.

xxcallmegodxx89
xxcallmegodxx89

well we can only hope that it lives up to the long wait

Trekeith
Trekeith

The delay is a kick in the teeth, but I gotta say I'm getting really excited for this game.

WarPrime
WarPrime

NOOOOO! Another delay? Man, it was suppose to be out this Summer, then it was Q3 2009, now its Q1 2010? Man...I am glad they are doing right by making the game as good as they can, I just didn't want to wait any more. ;p