A mere 6 years ago, we received our last outing with the horsemen of the apocalypse with Darksiders II. Vigil Games has since been working on the follow-up and has gone through some changes in THQ Nordic. With what must have looked like a Rocky montage, the team overcame financial issues and hell or high-water in order to get this title out. Darksiders III has finally come, but was it worth the wait?
In 2012, Darksiders created a very cool world with a very metal narrative. A premature apocalypse and the balance between heaven and hell made up the brunt of the story with the Horsemen of the apocalypse being thrown in as the ultimate anti-heroes.
Each game has focused on a different horseman’s role. The first entry focused on War, Darksiders II focused on Death and in the latest entry you play as Fury. Darksiders III is a bit of a departure from certain elements of previous games but the world, crooked politics and growing corruption of heaven and hell are back to add another compelling chapter to the series.
The Charred Council task Fury with going out to eliminate the Seven Deadly Sins, who escaped and are wreaking havoc in the post apocalyptic world. Each of the monstrous Seven Deadly Sins are creating corruption by creating their own kingdoms based on their respective sin.
This entry is built around The Hallows and its ruler the Lord of the Hallows. This dude, gives you special Hallow powers enabling Fury to use the elements in her fight. Each respective power is represented by a unique weapon, new combos and a really cool looking physical representations like flaming hair or hair made of lightning. These powers can be upgraded using items you find in exploration.
Each baddie you kill,releases souls, that you use to level up strength, health and arcane attributes through the use of our fave demon merchant, Vulgrim. The leveling up system is pretty easy and keeps it with in the basic RPG arena.
Fury is a brash sort. She has zero patience and is filled with a brutal sort of narcissism. Being so sure of herself makes the Charred Council assign a watcher to her journey just to make sure her mission doesn’t go off the rails… and maybe for a slightly more insidious reason.
This is the first slight departure from traditional Darksiders hack and slash gameplay. That isn’t to say there isn’t any hacking and slashing because there certainly is, this one just handles it with a little more strategy in mind. Since health isn’t something that automatically rejuvenates, you have to plan your attacks and strategy more carefully.
“Combat is furious
Rushing into a fight and straight button mashing will not get you to where you need to be. In fact, it will only take you a couple of deaths to realize that this entry has deaths akin to the Souls school of permadeath. That means you are sent back to your last checkpoint, forced to fight past the same groups of enemies and forced to find the souls you dropped at the location of your previous death.
On one hand I appreciate the new approach and the attempt to add something new into Darksiders gameplay, on the other hand I enjoyed the gameplay much more on the previous titles. There is something that is lost in the slightly more vulnerable approach. As a horseman you want to feel all-powerful and this game doesn’t deliver in that area. It does make you want to learn proper combo attacks and choose carefully what you upgrade though. While that is cool, I didn’t really like that low level enemies could still defeat me once I was twice their level.
Some checkpoints are terrible to have to start over from. In one instance, I got all the way to a boss and died. This made me have to go back to a checkpoint that was entirely too far back. It feels unnecessary to have to run through an entire level only to die again and have to repeat the whole thing. Simply re-spawning would have worked and not taken anything away from the experience.
The story of Darksiders III is where it really shines. The world and its characters continue to evolve and that is a severely special thing to see in a game that has taken its time. It manages to hit certain notes of last-gen system nostalgia while also upscaling graphics and the colorful burning world around you. The story packs major twists and turns along the way and make for another great chapter in the series.
Gameplay does take a bit of getting used to and don’t expect to feel the sense of godlike powers that the first two straight-forward hack and slash entries gave us, but some folks are going to appreciate the new approach.
The combat is furious and unforgiving. Each time you die (and you are gonna) there may be a brief moment where you consider throwing your console into hell, but it also makes you take your time and plan your approach, making for a rewarding experience with a little patience. While, it isn’t the best chapter in the series it does have a lot to offer in terms of narrative and Fury and her enemies are design perfection.
Darksiders III is out now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.