Darksiders is a video game at heart. Its oversized swords, massive monsters and dearth of dungeon puzzles instill the experience with a sense of wholeness, a sense of “completion”. It’s solid and nutritious – it’s a hearty meal for those looking to play a video game, kill some stuff and have a little fun.
In so many ways, then, Darksiders is a wholesale celebration of our beloved pastime. Vigil’s efforts aren’t embarrassed to be a video game, and they don’t dress a Goomba in Sephiroth’s clothes. Bustin’ some moves with what appears to be a distant relative of the Buster Sword is simple, unabashed pleasure. And it doesn’t make the assumption that I’m in it entirely for the story.
Its art style, on the other massive gauntlet, seems afraid of a similar commitment. War stands out in a world of grey walls and flat textures. The game appears trapped between comic book inspirations and technical limitations. Darksiders’ look, though still appealing, feels halfhearted relative to its mechanics, which by comparison, seem entirely committed to being a video game.
Darksiders isn’t afraid to be anything but a video game. For every classic it invokes, it’s an adventure that’s surprisingly refreshing despite it feeling oh-so-incredibly familiar. Although I’m just a few hours in, a Darksiders completion achievement doesn’t seem unlikely – and it’s a game that, because of its dedication to a style of old, isn’t in a hurry to age.
So, what is war good for? Nothing, really. But this War? Quite a bit of fun, actually.
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