The Charred Council maintain order between the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell. The Four Horsemen will be summoned once the Seven Seals have been broken which will signal the Endwar (Judgement Day). In the present day, the Endwar seems to be occurring, and one of the Four Horseman named War interferes. As he confronts Abaddon, the leader of the Kingdom of Heaven, he finds out the rest of the Horsemen have not arrived, and they are both defeated by Straga from Hell. War stands before the Council, who sentence him to death. War protests his innocence and negotiates a deal that will allow him to try and find the one's responsible.
The game begins as a pure hack-and-slash game. You can dodge, block, throw, two main attacks, plus a secondary weapon and some additional skills. War's long sweeps of his sword allow him to hit many foes at once, who usually like gathering around him at hitting distance with their passive aggressive nature. Once beaten down, a prompt appears to execute a brutal finishing move. The secondary weapons you find throughout the game include a scythe, a gun, cross blade, tremor gauntlet and can be assigned to the D-Pad for easy switching.
As you progress through the game, the comparisons to the Legend of Zelda series become stronger, with a hint of Prince of Persia. War begins to find ledges which he grabs with his gauntlet and smoothly wall-runs along. He traverses through dungeons, solving puzzles and finding a new item which introduces new solutions. However, if you have played Prince of Persia or Legend of Zelda, then the dungeon design here just seems poor. The dungeons in Zelda were full of clever puzzles, and finding the new item opens up so much more of the level, and requires exploration of previously visited rooms. In Darksiders, acquiring the item basically means you can access another door, and you go forth in a linear fashion. There's plenty of puzzles that just seem more of a slight hindrance. Some parts you are thinking that the way you progressed probably wasn't the exact way the designers intended as you launch the bomb flower at an obscure angle, or reach that platform that looked a bit out of reach. With the Legend of Zelda series, there are so many moments where you feel a great sense of accomplishment and you look back at the levels, thinking how fun it was. However, in Darksiders, there's far too many moments where you feel what you just did was a chore and you are relieved that the section is over.
The final parts of the game are particularly bad for this. Once you get through the final dungeon with annoying and fiddly teleportation puzzles in addition to its copy and paste mini-bosses, you then have to re-visit all the areas of the game to find 8 sword fragments. This relies on you using the teleportation system and some tedious backtracking. The problem with the teleportation system is that you are required to have found the shopkeeper Vulgim in each area (which I missed a couple) and you can only teleport between these two points. Once you have chosen to teleport, you appear in a alternate dimension, where you have to follow a linear path without good reason. So, to collect the fragments you have to: find Vulgrim, traverse the dimension, explore and find the piece, backtrack all the way back to Vulgim, and repeat. It's a tedious process and should have been cut from the game.
Surprisingly, the graphics have a cartoony edge to them, but this gives it a great distinctive look. The camera is a bit messy and needs constant manual intervention to give you a good view of your surroundings.
Darksiders steals a lot of game-play ideas from other games but I guess it's hard to deliver something completely new with the amount of games in existence. However, I do feel that it doesn't really improve on them. Sure, the fighting is better than Zelda, but the puzzle elements and level design definitely aren't. If you did want to play a hack-and-slash, then there's much better games out there like Bayonetta. The story is poorly paced since it introduces the story right at the start and basically doesn't add anything to it until the games conclusion. It's not a terrible game, but it's better just to play the games it pays homage to.