Review: Darksiders Warmastered Edition (Xbox One)
If you liked Darksiders in 2010, this remaster will be great for you. There we go, easiest review of my life.
Alright, alright, I guess I need to expand a bit more otherwise my benevolent editor might fire me into the pits of Hell. 2010 was an interesting year. We had the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and gaming was reaching a sort of Golden Age. It was also the time when modern shooters started ruling the roost after the success of Call of Duty Modern Warfare made everyone suddenly have the desire to shoot dudes in a desert. However, there was one game that shined during that year which took us a bit by surprise. That game was Darksiders, a game that harkens back to a more classic time in gaming with its Metroidvania tendencies and great third-person action. The game was criticised for being too derogatory with a lot of its central mechanics being seemingly ripped off from more established and successful franchises. The game did transcend the derogatory label by combining these elements and making a wonderfully enjoyable experience out of them.
And, from nowhere, we got a remaster for Darksiders, comedically called Darksiders Warmastered Edition, which causes my spellcheck to question its sanity. A remaster of a classic game from 2010 which also released long after its sequel got a remaster as well. A bit strange, but let’s roll with it shall we? So what does the Warmastered Edition give you that you can’t already experience in the older version? 1080p and 60 fps. That’s it. There are no included DLCs, extra bonus stuff or anything else. That’s not entirely true since the visuals were beefed up a bit, but it’s not at the level of a full remake, obviously.
A remnant of the past
So how does Darksiders still hold up today? During the last almost 7 years since the game released, a lot has changed in the gaming landscape. More ambitious games have released since that time and the bounds in terms of visuals and mechanics have been pushed quite significantly. But Darksiders is still a great game to play. The combat withholds its visceral and satisfying impact with War’s various combos and interesting secondary weapons to spice things up. The puzzles are still simple, but they seem almost quaint now compared to other juggernauts in the genre. The visuals are fairly dated, but since they went for a more stylised approach to mirror the comic book series that the game is based off of, they have a timeless feel to them.
As a complete experience, Darksiders hasn’t aged too gracefully. It was criticised for its derogatory gameplay when it first released and now, 6 years into the future, those criticisms feel amplified. The story feels almost blasé, with its larger-than-life characters and gravelly voiced dudes in impractical armour bumbling about vengeance. The combat does feel much more dated since the time it first released. It is still very functional and has that aforementioned punch, but I think I have been too spoiled by smoother and more complex experiences to really appreciate it for what it is anymore.
War. What is it good for?
However, it is still Darksiders. The game exists in a vacuum with all of its inferior pieces combining into an enjoyable experience. With the Warmastered Edition, it plays incredibly smooth and I have to give props to the developers for going the extra mile with their optimisation. It ran at a consistent 60 fps and there were no slowdowns, frame drops or anything performance wise to criticise.
This has been a short review, admittedly, but there is not much else to say about Darksiders that hasn’t been said ad nauseum already. If you were a huge fan of the game when it first released, you will feel a certain level of nostalgia as you go through the game again with its interesting dungeons and totally-not-a-Portal-Gun antics. If you have not played the game already firstly, what rock are you living under, and secondly, this is an excellent jumping in point to the slashing, apocalyptic world of Darksiders. You can’t really go wrong with this title and with it being marginally cheaper than most AAA games, it’s a good value proposition as well.