Or rather, Dark Souls-lite. I like the series, and the lore. The entire concept of Revelations & the Four Horseman is ripe for plucking. Feels more like a comic book in video game format.
The first game played like an homage to Ocarina of Time. The second was pretty much a 3D ARPG. This one feels more like QTE + Dark Souls. I can’t really think of any other series where the game mechanics are practically re-written with each game. For better or worse.
Saying QTE isn’t really fair. Rather it’s reactive combat, where you must actively dodge (button press) in order to survive. Point of fact, there are some bosses that can be beaten with just two buttons. Regular enemies are similar, and the challenge therefore comes from the fact that a) their timing of attacks changes b) their attacks deal 50% of your hit points and c) there are multiple enemies on screen. There are at least a dozen areas across the entire game that are exercises in frustration due to this. I didn’t feel good about finally clearing them, but relief that it was done.
You get a refillable healing potion, and a set of weapons and skills that allow for some minor puzzle solving – maybe a half dozen or so. It’s nice to have the variety, and some fights do become easier when you use one weapon type vs another. I was partial to fire attacks with their DoT effect. Water was nice too, with a damage shield and slow effect. There’s a minor upgrade process included, where you need to head back to camp (or remember to). Frankly, until really late in the game, it had no practical effect. When I had more material to upgrade with, I was able to apply a significant life leech effect as well as a heal over time effect. Massive improvement to the enjoyment of the game.
The zones themselves are interesting. Cityscape, subway tunnels, floral, underwater, hell, and Mad Max-zone. They criss cross over themselves, so that you eventually unlock shortcuts throughout. The Wrath zone in particular… the boss is a few feet away from the entrance but it takes 2 hours to unlock all the things to open his door. I would have appreciated more puzzle solving rather than a labyrinth. There’s no map, and everything is accessible. I’m sure there are completionists that would find this fun, but it’s stupid easy to get lost.
For the wide majority of the game I was having fun – think it was around 15 hours to complete. The last area (Wrath redux) was extremely tedious, primarily because it overlapped over itself so much, and enemies were stupidly overpowered as compared to previous zones. I just started skipping as much of the combat as possible. All the bosses were a decent challenge – Gluttony excepted, more deaths on this than the rest of the game combined. The story was decent, with strong showing from a single demon (Abraxas) for all of 90 seconds.
Overall, a decent game and found at a good price pretty much everywhere. There’s 1 horseman to go… fingers crossed that game gets made.
Darksiders: Genesis is a thing. But it’s a (dev admitted) low budget affair, so it’s sort of an ARPG brawler. Isometric and all. I’m… disappointed from how it looks so far. I was also disappointed in Darksiders 3 though to be fair. Next to the first two it fell well short in my view, which was made all the worse by the initial joy felt and finding the series would indeed live on beyond the fall of THQ.
Presently I’m not so sure it should have!
I thought about this exact topic while playing. I came to the realization that the emulated genres were more of the issue.
The first one had a lot of Zelda/Link… but it was really feeling like an homage to the Legacy of Kain series. The bar there wasn’t super high. The second was a slightly better take on the open arpg genre, which frankly was a mess of a genre at the time (God of War and Horizon didn’t exist).
Here though, it’s a clear take on Dark Souls and plays really poorly for it the comparison. It would be like it coming out as an RTS and not being a Starcraft clone. Already its losing a ton of points.
So yeah, there are many places where it disappoints. It doesnt shine in any particular area. But neither did the other two games. Their advantage was a relatively muddy genre so comparisons were kinder. I agree that Genesis is giving the same vibe. Expectations now are very high in genres…at least for most.
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Interesting take. I’m less positive looking back on Darksiders 1, but the second I would consider to be a stand out title even today. Played the remastered version earlier in the year.
It certainly did have its issues though that you’re right, subsequent releases did smooth out.