Monday, November 26, 2018

Darksiders III: A Step Back for the Franchise

Like many of you, I've been patiently waiting for the release of Darksiders 3. For the longest time, I didn't think it would happen. With THQ's bankruptcy and the IP acquisition by Nordic. Then when I learned it would I was excited. I could patiently wait to see what the new developer would bring. But now that it has? I almost wish it hadn't.

To begin with the new Horseman, Fury, is a subpar character. It's like Gunfire Games went out of their way to make her unlikeable after giving her such an amazing new weapon. Sure these are the Horseman of the Apocalypse and not the nicest Nephilim on Earth but she comes off as the Starscream of the Decepticons. Whiney, petulant, and self-serving. She doesn't want to save her brothers out of any sense of familial responsibility. She wants to save them so she can be the boss.

This newest entry to the franchise undoes a lot of the improvements made in Darksiders 2 over the original. This game is less focused on finding new gear and weapons and powering them up. Instead, you'll focus on gaining new abilities.

The game also places a heavy emphasis on puzzle solving and platforming. However, some of the puzzles aren't intuitive and are just downright frustrating, not fun. Also in the early game, Fury's jumps are awkward and do not handle well. This takes what should be one of the highlights of the game, the environment, and makes it frustrating to navigate around in. 

It's not all doom and gloom though. One nice thing is that within the first few minutes of actual gameplay you'll be in your first boss battle. The bosses are not easy. Some of them are as much puzzle as they are combat. This boss immediately sets that tone.

The two things I enjoyed the most about the game was the aesthetics and Fury's chain swords. It looked like an evolution of the Darksiders Franchise. As soon as I hopped in I felt, yep, this is a Darksiders game. Also playing with the new chain weapon was a lot of fun over just the standard sword. Unfortunately, the rest of the experience didn't pan out. 

I played an advanced review copy on the XBox One X provided by the developer and the game suffered from unsteady frame rates. I also had the game crash after defeating a sin and I had to replay the entire stage, which while not too difficult is a bit of a gut punch. It goes from a triumphant to a defeated moment in the blink of an eye. Hopefully, this is something they can patch in the near future.