Darksiders: Warmastered Edition Review
Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox OneAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4
When first released way back in 2010, Darksiders arrived with the creative comic book genius Joe Madureira in tow and an interesting premise. The creation of the kingdom of man brought with it a Charred Council, made up of a group of god-like beings which looked after the balance of good vs. evil; heaven vs. hell. Their henchman, with which they use to police this balance, were the four horseman of the apocalypse - a ruthless band of death dealers who are called upon should the circumstances require their intervention. Several seals were forged to symbolise this peace and only when they are all broken will the Horseman ride. Naturally though, not everything goes to plan and we join the adventure with War rampaging on earth...yet the seals were not broken. War is then accused of inciting the depths of hell to rise by starting a war, yet he is completely innocent. Afforded an opportunity to rectify the matter many, many years later War sets off back to earth, intent on finding the ones who engineered such a betrayal.
With such a grand fantastic setting Darksiders eloquently mixed together the gothic and the angelic visually as well as blending a series of gaming genres together in one glorious package. Bringing together God of War-esque combat, albeit slower and with more of a thud, Panzer Dragoon and Zelda, Darksiders is a fantastic lengthy romp boasting a campaign that is closing in on twenty hours. As War you battle your way through a series of situations, meet strange beings (some helpful, some less so), collect souls for upgrades, ride an angel’s stallion, solve a series of increasingly complicated puzzles and partake in some epic boss battles - safe to say that Darksiders keeps the momentum up for the majority of its long running time and represents fabulous value for money with this remaster. Unlike its sequel, this original doesn’t try to create/force an open world and endless expiration, it keeps things simple and focused. The core mission structure is based around areas and bosses with War always having a clear singular focus on what he needs to be doing next - which is usually killing things along with some flying and platforming, but mainly using the giant Chaoseater sword to take all the names
The changes offered up by this new release include being displayed in native 1080p resolution, better shadow quality, double the textures, improvements to rendering as well as post- processing effects and a fairly solid 60fps throughout, thus making this one of the better remasters to ever appear on the market - publishers take note, this is how you do it. Since release there has also been further enhancement made to improve the overall visuals for those who have already stumped up the cash for a PS4 Pro, like we needed more reasons to dip back in and work through Darksiders again.
For those new to the franchise, Darksiders is a rare delight in that it’s an action romp mixing decent puzzles and has both a fantastic story and an intriguing aesthetic. The way in which it mixes gaming styles/genres keeps the surprisingly lengthy adventure fresh and there is very little in the way of blatant unnecessary filler along the way. Sure there is some padding in there but at no point does it begin to feel like a silly grind. War himself is really well executed, exhibiting all of the tendencies you’d expect from one of the horseman of the apocalypse - he suffers no fools, kicks all the ass and seems to have the ultimate anti-hero voice, grimacing and growling his way through every encounter. Add to this the demon that The Charred Council have tasked with overseeing your adventure is voiced by the always excellent Mark Hamill, sounding not to dissimilar to his superb Joker which we’ve come to recognise as the definitive Joker.
As you progress through the game with its straightforward hack and slash gameplay you also gather upgrades. Weapons do so automatically whilst health can be collected over time. There are also new weapons to stop things going stale. To add to this souls can be gathered to purchase special items and more importantly special moves for each weapon from a demon shopkeeper known as Vulgrim. Bonus souls can be acquired from Vulgrim if you are lucky enough to find any artefacts that he’s interested in and these come in very handy later in the game as you will need all the tricks you can get your hands on to defeat some of the bosses.
Technically whilst some of the graphical enhancements do bring the look of the game closer to modern standards, it’s the improved performance that really makes the package shine. The move from 30fps to 60fps is a great enhancement and makes an already hard-hitting, fun combat system more enjoyable. The ability to chain together a variety of moves switching deftly between a giant sword and a reaper's scythe at a solid 60fps is a delight and feels so much more responsive than the first time around in lowly 30fps. If for whatever reason you require this cake to be iced, then take note that this package retails, repeat, retails for only £14.99, which roughly translates online closer to £10, which is an absolute steal. If you have even the slightest interest in the game, missed it first time around or even fancy a bit of a double dip the package is phenomenal value.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition takes an already fantastic game, improving both the visuals and performance in the process all for a modest fee which many publishers should pay attention to. Arguably one of the best remasters to be released to date, as a stocking filler for Christmas it’s a no-brainer and if you missed the original on the last generation of consoles you’d be silly not to pick this up at the price point.