Video Game Review: Darksiders

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Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Bible can be considered in many ways. Some see it as a record of ancient stories, or the specific drawn-out tale of the plight of the Hebrew people. Others see it as a divinely inspired message from God, even the foundational key to faith in Jesus Christ.

Whatever the case may be, the Biblical text has provided inspiration to countless human beings in countless ways. Among the results have even included the source material for video games, such as the early Wisdom Tree third-party titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, or the controversial Left Behind real-time strategy game that had armies of Christians slaughtering heathens across the Earth. Another, more recent example is the cross-platform, third-person action adventure Darksiders, developed by the famed house THQ and released in 2010.

Gameplay

The player controls War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The appropriately foreboding storyline follows that the end of the world has been triggered prematurely, thus unleashing War upon the post-apocalyptic world of Earth. However, War himself realizes that something is clearly amiss, since none of his other Horsemen have joined him, and he finds himself fighting off both demons and angels alike in a landscape of a long-lost, decimated human civilization. In his attempt to get to the bottom of the matter, War sets off on a combative investigation in to what happened, why, who he is within the mix, and where he can find those responsible for making him a scapegoat in this whole world-end mess.

Graphics

This title does an effective job of setting the mood; dark, brooding, and lacking of the warmth of human presence or even the noise of people. There is also a curious amalgam at work between the ruined structures of a bygone homo sapien population and the new, twisted “cathedrals” built by the inhabiting demons. This is where the game shows off best: Putting forth a truly provocative environment of despair and launching War into a desperate, violent fury in the middle of it all.

Sound

The effects are music are pretty good, though nothing truly stands out as being especially spectacular. Perhaps ironically, the soundtrack is effective because it is minimal; towards replicating the most atmospheric experience possible, this often includes stretches with very little noise, music, or speech. But when the effects do emerge, they are often solid, such as the distant shrieks of demons approaching.

Creativity and Innovation

The storyline alone deserves special mention in its originality and fantastical vision. The endtimes theme is obviously derived in basis from the Bible, but the writers take enormous creative liberty to derive a more fully fleshed-out storyline that includes some very interesting spins on the original text. For example, the sequence involving the Angel of Death and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are great. Also, the quality of the plot makes you genuinely care about War’s plight and sincerely curious as to what has unraveled. Among the most rewarding portions of the game is win you finally unlock War’s horse, Ruin, in a cinematic take on a truly grand partnership.

Overall, the game is definitely worth a playthrough, as it has decent unlockables to accompany an already enjoyable gameplay experience. With a rich enough storyline to maintain interest and a frenetic pace as War is constantly on the run from spiritual foes, Darksiders (the title may be its weakest link) commands four stars out of five.

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