Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Darksiders 3 ★★★★☆

‘Darksiders III’, out now, is for some a long-awaited sequel to one of the best non-AAA action adventure RPG series from the last generation of consoles.  It has had relatively zero marketing and before the game came out no one really knew much about it, or simply didn’t know it existed.

Now, after being in development for a hell of a while, it’s finally out and what a surprise it is. Each ‘Darksiders’ game seems to take on a different gameplay style depending on the main character – you play as a different horseman of the apocalypse in each game, (‘Darksiders I’, for example, was very similar to the ‘Zelda’ franchise, whereas ‘Darksiders II’ was very loot heavy like ‘Diablo 3’).

For ‘Darksiders III’ the developers, Gunfire Games, have been inspired by the ‘Dark Souls’ series, borrowing a lot of different game mechanics from it. What this game does that many others haven’t (‘Lords of the Fallen’, ‘Immortal: Unchained’, to name a few) is differentiate itself enough from ‘Dark Souls’ that it feels unique.

The general gist of the gameplay is that you roam around an interconnected world without much mapping or direction to aid you, and the goal of eliminating the seven deadly sins.  You battle and kill enemies which will give you their souls – you can then use these to level up your character. Materials, which can be collected throughout the world in secret locations, can be used to improve weapons and armour.

As you can see, the game is definitely a homage to the ‘Dark Souls’ franchise, but the combat mechanics are much more action-based in ‘Darksiders III’, and there’s no stamina bar, which makes it just that little bit different. They are really well done and not as tactical, but still lead to some incredible fights – especially against the main bosses in the game.

The graphics have not changed much since ‘Darksiders I’, as you would expect from a smaller development team, but because it is cell-shaded and more stylistically focused it holds up really well and is incredibly beautiful at times like a painting on the screen. There are several issues with the games such as the movement and jumping mechanics sometimes feeling a bit finicky and unfinished at times – this can lead to traversal around the world being laborious and frustrating.

The game is quite a bit shorter than the previous games but will still last 20+ hours. It will leave you wanting to know where and how the story will end for the fourth game, which is presumably the final chapter in the story of the four horsemen.  I would say that the gaming industry needs more AA games like this that are at a lower price point, similar to the release of ‘Hellblade’ last year. They are smaller budget titles that have a lot of heart and can lead to some very engaging experiences.

Although ‘Darksiders III’ does have some small problems mechanically, the combat and story feel well thought out, and lead the player into a captivating story you will definitely want to see through right until the very end. 

Hannah Read

Darksiders 3 at CeX

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