Darksiders Warmastered Edition review
War…War never changes.
Scratch that sentiment as THQ Nordic blitz the graphics on the this much loved hack-n-slash platformer that could well be the first ‘remastered‘ version that genuinely deserves the title and re-purchase. Darksiders Warmastered Edition is a reminder to all that gaming still has something to give that doesn’t involve cheap cash-cow tactics and wallet grabs.
Sparkly and shining like the proverbial new pin with its glossy new look graphics that feature some snazzy lighting and particle effects as well as the much enhanced colour and shading, Darksiders Warmastered now also runs at a silky smooth 60 frames per second across all new gen consoles as well as the PC version. The Wii edition sees 30 frames per second locked albeit with 1080p graphics. This makes for a far more enjoyable experience as you throw on War’s robes and clamber atop your mount before setting off to Earth to encounter some of the most unexpectedly marvellous gameplay of its launch year. ( 2011 )
Getting the blend of genres ‘just so‘ has always been the elusive ‘x factor‘, if you will, for videogame developers, and many still struggle to get the formula to work as we have seen in recent releases of cross-genre titles such as Ubisoft’s The Division, which attempted to feature third party shooter gameplay combined with an almost RPG styled mechanic, and who could forget Afro Samurai 2 The Revenge of Kuma Volume 1 which combined traditional hack’n’slash action and a bucket of monkey turds.
However, in a year of stinkers, ( 2015 – 2016 and particularly in the remastered arena ), it is a thing to behold when a title gets it right.
On initial launch Darksiders was an unsuspecting smash hiding in plain sight as the majority of media outlets and publications dedicated their attentions to the Call of Duty Vs Battlefield shenanigans. It was a joy to put to be able to put down the AK47’s and FPS mode predictability and get your teeth into some quality hack and slash action with some rather excellent platforming thrown in for added bonus pleasure.
Playing as one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, gamers step into the stylised boots of ‘War‘, the physical embodiment of man’s lust for power and greed brought to life by the God’s to wreak havoc on the Earth should the Seven Seals of Mankind ever be breached or broken. Heeding the call War heads to complete his Destiny and rain terror and mayhem upon the Earth but soon realises all is not what it seems when he is faced by Abaddon and his ‘Guardian Angels’ claiming War himself as the reason behind the catastrophe before them. As War begins to question his calling his is then summoned before ‘The Council‘ to answer for ‘his‘ crime of unleashing the apocalypse upon Man, and is then charged with correcting his mistake, albeit with the added indignity of being stripped of his otherworldly powers.
The storyline follows the bitter betrayal and entrapment of ‘War‘, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and his desperate attempts to correct the error of his calling by ‘unknown forces‘ as they seek to crush the dominance of Man upon the Earth by creating a manufactured conflict between Heaven and Hell with Humanity stuck in between as War battles to regain his lost honour, powers and to reset the balance. His journey is fraught, frenetic and beset with enemies from all sides as each factor levels their accusing fingers in his direction.
Assisting War with his arduous task is the rather amusing ‘Vulgrim‘. A malevolent schemer complete with cackling personality that will offer War upgrades, weapons and enhancements as well as helpful tips along the way, albeit for a price, and the price when dealing with Vulgrim is invariably ‘souls‘.
‘Souls‘ are the currency in the Darksiders universe, and as uch, can be found in all living things but surprisingly also a goodly amount of inanimate objects also so do ensure to smash your way around everything and everyone you come across just for good measure.
Along the way War will encounter a steady stream of mini-bosses and boss characters signaling the main challenges for that chapter of the quest, however, they also denote significant turning points in the story, which, we have to say, is rather well written and the voice-acting supreme. Instead of expecting to groan and cringe your way through a few hours of cutscenes and dialogue so corny it feels like it was written on a cob, players are treated to some genuinely impressive range and skills by the cast of writers and actors who bring the whole saga to life.
All in all Darksiders is to the ‘remasters‘ trend what it was to the gaming calendar when it was first launched, ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’. It positively glistens and gleams with its new coat of paint and the silky smooth framerates deliver a flawless performance. Hopefully those gamers who enjoyed the games first time around, as well as the untold numbers of new additions to the franchises disciples, will soon be treated to the news that we have all been waiting to hear for many a year now, and that Darksiders will have the sequels so it very obviously deserves. Over to you THQ Nordic.
Pricing at Launch: £14.99 console
*Review copy supplied by THQ Nordic