After the closure of THQ, the future of another game in the Darksiders series, Darksiders III, was up in the air. Aside from remastering the first two entries for current-generation consoles, the series was effectively dead. Until earlier this year when images from a third entry in the series leaked.
With the rights of the franchise now in the hands of THQ Nordic, the company enlisted the help of Gunfire Games. Their studio consists largely of former THQ developers, who previously worked on the series. Now, more than six years later after Darksiders II, the classic hack-n-slash action-adventure franchise returns with its latest entry, Darksiders III.
Darksiders III Details
Platforms: Xbox One and PlayStation 4
Developer: Gunfire Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Genre: Hack-n-slash, action-adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
When Darksiders released, the goal was to have a total of four games—one for each horseman. The first game was a hybrid mix of The Legend of Zelda and God of War, borrowing elements of combat and environmental puzzles. We played as War, the horseman that took the fall for the Apocalypse.
The second game two years later with Death at the helm. Death was unlike his brother, War, and the narrative ran in tandem with the original game. The shift to a loot-based system with gear and more dungeons ended up being received well by fans and critics.
Like the other entries in the series, Darksiders III plays out in parallel to it’s predecessors. Tasked with finding the Seven Deadly Sins within the ruined apocalyptic version of Earth, a Watcher joins Fury. These demons serve as guides to the protagonist and serve the Charred Council. The Charred Council has one responsibility and server as mediators between the light and the dark, ensuring a balance in the universe.
By running alongside the other games in the series, unfortunately, the plot once again doesn’t move very far. However, Fury does enjoy a good character arc and we see her change from an overconfident and brash entity to something more. Sadly, Fury is the only worthwhile character and the supporting cast is underdeveloped. For the most part, much of the cast is over the top and exactly what you expect from a game inspired by comic books.
Tough yet evolving gameplay
In previous entries, we had access to a sword and a scythe. Fury is experiences with a whip, the Barbs of Scorn. She is adept and unleashes her fury (pun intended) with grace. Previous games took inspiration from The Legend of Zelda for combat.
In this entry, Gunfire Games looks to From Software’s Souls series. By slaying enemies, you earn Lurchers, a currency used with Vulgrim in exchange for attribute points that up Fury’s health, strength, or magic. Dying in battle means returning to a checkpoint and losing all your accumulated Lurchers.
The slog getting back to them means dealing with the same enemies again. Dealing with the same enemies over and over becomes a chore and the difficulty comes across as unfair. Granted, over the course of the campaign, Fury unlocks new powers to further her mission. Beginning with the Flame Hollow, a power given to her by the Lord of Hollows, turning into an fire elemental.
In addition to a second weapon, we also unlock the power of Storm, Force and Stasis. These weapons enable Fury to solve the game’s environmental puzzles and defeat the Seven Deadly Sins through upgrades.
A well voiced cast with average visuals
Just like it’s predecessors, Darksiders III fits the part perfectly. In a year where both God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 released, this game doesn’t stand out from the crowd. Featuring a stylized, comic book look, the graphics are cookie-cutter.
I enjoyed the designs of Fury and the other horsemen, and even some of the Seven Deadly Sins, but there’s something charming about the comic book inspired graphics. Being a generation ahead of the first two entries should be reason to see a bump in fidelity but sadly the jump from the second to third game isn’t that substantial.
Other things like out of sync dialogue dampen the experience. However, the cast is good and Fury is well voiced by Cissy Jones. Seeing Phil Lamarr return as well as Liam O’Brien as War are delightful treats but what took me by surprise was the stellar soundtrack. Cris Velasco previously worked on the original Darksiders, and on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series.
Darksiders III will please loyal and patient fans of the franchise
Darksiders III is good but not great game. For the most part, Darksiders III plays well enough, there’s also a few questionable mechanics the studio dialed back. In some instances, it feels more like two steps backward and a misfire for the franchise. That said, there is much to like about the third entry and for a game that spent time in a development limbo, it turned out surprisingly pretty good.
Launching during a packed fall release schedule did no favours for the series. I am hopeful though word of mouth, the game sells well enough to warrant a sequel. I’m rooting for the series because it’s a video game to it’s core and doesn’t try to be anymore than that.
Unfortunately, Gunfire Games should have done more for the series, especially after such a lengthy amount of time away. The world the first two games was created in is full of potential but that isn’t at all realized here. For what this game does though, it does it well enough that’s worth checking out.
+Fury is a good lead
+Combat is good, the whip is satisfying
+More Darksiders is always good
-Graphics aren’t that much of a leap from previous last gen games
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF DARKSIDERS III
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5
Overall Rating 3.75/5 (75%)
Get Darksiders III for PlayStation 4
Buy Darksiders III for Xbox One
Purchase Darksiders III: Deluxe Edition for Xbox One – Digital Download
Get Darksiders III: Standard Edition for Xbox One – Digital Download
Buy Darksiders III: Blades & Whip Edition (Xbox One) – Digital Download
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I’ve thought about trying games from the Darksiders franchise, they seem like games that might interest me, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. It seems like there are a lot of games that fit into that category. I should probably make a list.
Thanks for the review, I like to see new games for ideas of what games I might pick up at some point.
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