31
Dec
18

Game Review: Darksiders III

It’s been an interesting year. I’m not going to go into all of it here; there will probably be a post about it later, but the short version is it’s been a long December, and one is hoping next year will be better than the last. Illness, financial concerns, and mental and emotional difficulties have plagued this one.

This is supposed to be a happy post. Despite all the bad press about gaming over the year, there’s been a lot of good things that have happened, with some amazing titles.

There’s the obvious ones; God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption. Everyone knows those names. Two of those are amazing games, the third is competent (unlike many, I am not a huge RDR fan. I don’t have anything against it… it just doesn’t hold me down and make me play it.)

There’s some lesser-known titles that deserved some love, too; Octopath Traveler was an incredible old-school RPG (and yes, I still think it was robbed on some counts at the video game awards) for the Switch fans, Call of Cthulhu was also pretty good and enjoyable title, though I don’t think it was worth the initial outlay. When it drops down to $30 or so, it’s well worth your time. Yakuza 6 and Shenmue HD both dropped this year, and if you enjoy brawling RPGs, crazy minigames, and “slice-of-life” sims, all three are well worth checking out.

The clear owner of my heart right now is Darksiders III. It’s taking a bit of a beating, with people complaining about too many Dark Souls similarities, unfair and unintuitive difficulty, graphics that aren’t quite photo-realistic and amazing.

I think they’re wrong.

Darksiders III looks good for what it is; a labor of love from a smaller studio who basically relied on that love, hope, and the support of fans – alongside a healthy dose of luck – to give rise to it. It’s not a AAA title, and it’s not meant to be. But the graphics are still damn good, pleasing and understandable. The character and enemy designs are great, clearly cut from the Darksiders mold. From the moment you start the game, you know what you’re getting into if you’re in any way a fan of the previous titles.

Gameplay wise, the Dark Souls comparisons are a little odd. The checkpoint and XP/currency system is similar, yes. Control and combat wise I think comparisons are being overblown; Fury is infinitely more maneuverable than any of the Soulsborne protagonists, and there’s a great deal more fast-paced hack and slash than you’d expect from those titles. Some enemies need you to drop back and study their patterns a bit more than your average God of War-like game, but those are intended to be the more difficult or mini-boss type enemies. Once you level up and unlock a few of the additional skills and weapons, it’s not quite like that.

So far as difficulty, I don’t see it. I’m going at it on Apocalyptic, as I did on the previous two titles, and yes. Combat is challenging. Not insurmountable, and I never feel as though my deaths are unfair. Grinding and learning patterns gets you past it. It feels appropriately difficult. A lot of folks complain about the lack of a minimap and the way the compass in the game works… but it doesn’t seem that hard to know where you are and where you’ve been. The compass adjusts quite quickly and is always pointing in the direction you need to go. If you can’t go the way it wants, swinging the camera around for a moment will typically show the path, usually a minor puzzle that needs dealing with (most of which are neon and color-coded to which power you need to do it.)

I think the root problem isn’t with Darksiders; it’s more in the mindset of gamers. Old farts like myself probably played more games with minimal direction or confusing UIs, punishing difficulty spikes that were designed to suck up your quarters or your continues. Compared to some of those, Darksiders is a walk in the park; at least you have that wonky compass (which still works better than that found in, say, Destiny, cough cough) and the reasonable expectation that learning the mechanics and patterns of a fight will lead to victory without random chance and glitching screwing you out of it.

All in all, I have to say Darksiders III is well worth it, and a lot of places still have it discounted to $40 post-holiday, so a great time to jump into it. Give it a shot.

If you didn’t know, I have a Twitch channel; I’ve mostly been playing Binding of Isaac‘s new Forgotten update and the PSVR on there, but I try to get on reasonably regularly. It’s been a bit of solace, as gaming has been about all I can do lately. If you want to check it out or follow me, clicky-clicky here.

As always, if you enjoy my content and want to keep it coming and keep me breathing, you can always show your support by dropping a dime in the box over at Patreon or GoFundMe. If you can’t or don’t feel like it, that’s okay, too. Knowing someone is paying attention to my insane ramblings is certainly good enough. But it helps.

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