Darksiders seemed like it could be an awesome game. In the end though I'd rather play Legacy of Kain or SoC.
The first level starts out promisingly as the Horseman War arrives on Earth amidst the chaos and panic, fighting both angelic and demonic forces. However very soon it comes clear the game looks rather ugly, common battles involve only about 3 enemies, and that the gameplay is very basic and slow-paced adventure-hack'n slash especially in the beginning when War's inventory is very limited. On the positive end there are quite a lot of interactive objects around. The game includes some simple puzzles and collectibles such as health upgrades, as well as a simple shop and skill system. There are also some oppoturnities for on-rail shooting as well as god-awful obligatory combat challenges (ie. kill 50 enemies in 2 minutes), which don't fit the game at all. The game tries to have everything.
After the 1st short intro level comes the biggest dissapointment. The promising duel of light and dark with humans in between stops. Instead Earth turns into a barren wasteland with generic monsters and a few angelic warriors here and there. The story becomes a boring revenge quest, with very little plot. You are just sent to kill a number of big bosses to acquire powers so you can face the big bad. You proceed through the different apocalyptic areas to face the boss and then continue to the next area that has the same structure. It doesn't help that the cast is small and I didn't care for any of them. Your fellow Horsemen also only make a very brief appearance, the chance for epic co-op with your kin is wasted.
As the game goes on there are some bright moments, but overall it just gets dull. Even though War gets a few more weapons, items and powers, they are mostly unoriginal and everything's been done better in other games. Especially the portal gun comes to mind, which even has the same blue and orange portal outlines than the ones in Portal have, but in Darksiders there's very limited usage for the gun. General gameplay and fighting is and simple too. You jump, climb, fall to some cheap deaths; pull some levers, kill hundreds of weak enemies and dodge the attack of a heavy enemy leaving them vulnerable for a while and other cliches. War also only has a few melee moves. The final nail to the coffin is when you think that you're at the end, but suddenly you're basically forced to harvest the entire game world for collectibles. I thought collectibles are to boost longevity or replay value, not to pad up the game at the very last minute before the final boss. I spent almost 2 hours looking for the collectibles and the game barely clocked at 20 hours when I reached the end. 10% of padding right before the end boss, not fun.
Summary: The concept of Darksiders is awesome and the gameplay clearly draws from brilliant games such as Legacy of Kain, Devil May Cry, God of War and Shadow of Colossus, and War's horse makes me feel a bit like Ghost Rider too. This game also loans smaller features from a ton of other games providing quite a bit of variety, with all bits shallow. It's a shame that the gameplay is both unoriginal and unimpressive, and they really dropped the ball with the execution of the story. The game could have been so much better. Still, adventure games like this are quite rare these days and Darksiders is decent effort, although it's dissapointing everything has been done better in other, often way older games.
Wishes: First and foremost is the co-op, there are 4 Horsemen, use them. Secondly I wish they had gone with present day epic multi-faction apocalypse instead of fast forwarding until Earth is just another wasteland and there are only some stranded monsters left here and there. Thirdly the game could be technically and creatively better in form of graphic upgrades and have atleast a few original gameplay ideas.