The Darksiders franchise started early January in 2010. Currently there are 4 games in the franchise, with the first 2 having been remastered. The games play as a combination of puzzle/hack n slash in a semi open world and dungeon setting. On top of that even some metroidvania bits, roleplaying and some other elements mixed in.
Having played Darksiders 2 the Deathinitive edition, it does strongly remind me of Legacy of Kain. Where you run around, kill stuff and get taunted by a treasure chest somewhere. “How on earth do I get there” is a common theme that every dungeon will challenge you in finding out. You’ll be smashing skulls, crawling and jumping ledges and walls a LOT.
Hack and slash, or Metroidvania
In Darksiders you play as one of the four hosemen. War, Death, Fury and Strife. Each hero gets their own game, but you’ll get to encounter most of them in cinematics as well.
The base genre of the games is action and you’ll be knee deep in it with a variety of weapons to find and upgrade. After most dungeons and boss fights there’ll also be some special rewards such as learning how to grapple, wall jump or gain a pistol with which you may reach new areas. This also means you’ll be backtracking every so and then (just like in most metroidvania games) to get back to places you could previously not reach.
“Oh so thats how you do it”, is a common theme similar to dust and sundered from earlier reviews. Darksiders has some tutorials early on, but it lacks the in-depth hand holding that most modern games come with. This isn’t really a bad thing, but it does show it’s age. The original game is from 2010 after all, but the first two have been polished with new and fresh graphics about 6 years after their release.
It’s a big world out there
Not all bosses are found in the world’s dungeons, some will be as big and massive as early bosses in the shadow of the colossus. Since you’re a horseman obviously your main means of transportation is going to be your skeletal steed. For Darksiders 1, you will ride Ruin. In Darksiders 2 you will ride Despair. Rampage and Mayhem will aid you in 3 and 4.
While mounted you can slash enemies – I highly recommend it in fact. The problem with that however, is that you lack the ability to perform the more advanced moves you learn later on. Still, having a horse to summon and go slashy-slashy is always a plus in any game. (Yes, that was a lucky tower reference)
It’s quickly visible the game was designed for consoles, or at least to be controlled with a gamepad rather than mouse and keyboard. Sure M&K does work, but it feels very sub-optimal. If you have a controller, hook it up!
Yes, it helps to play these games in order, but it’s not really needed. The commentary voice acting and cinematics throughout the game help tell the background of what happened, and why you are fighting. If you aren’t keen on playing through all the first games, it’s perfectly fine to jump straight into Darksiders 4, which released late 2019. If you do grab 1 and 2, make sure to get the warmastered / deathinitive versions as those will feature higher resolution graphics.
The first 3 games were recently available through humble Choice and bundles, so you shouldn’t have too hard a time getting a hold of them.
A small note of information however – DS4 plays more as an isometric hack n slash compared to the first 3 games in the series. Similar to for example Grim Dawn. As a bonus, this is the first game in the series to also feature multiplayer online / split screen cooperative play. If you have a friend who enjoys the series – you can now play together!
System requirements are a bit more tricky to determine, but fairly consistent among the 4 releases:
– Windows 7 and up, 3.5 GHz cpu, 4 GB ram, 15 GB available disk space, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960