A Righteous Fury
HIGH Old-school adventure that isn’t trying to be artsy and emo.
LOW Graphics are behind the times and the engine is shaky.
WTF I totally missed a story-important boss.
War! What is he good for? Prematurely triggering the Apocalypse, of course. Darksiders III, like Darksiders II before it, is a prequel to the events of the first game. War’s currently held prisoner by the Charred Council for incidentally obliterating most of mankind, and Death and Strife are off doing their own things. This leaves the protagonist role wide open for Fury to fill, and she’s possibly the most vicious of the lot. The embodiments of the Seven Deadly sins have escaped out into the world during this time of turbulence, so who better to head out and haul them back by their ears?
Like the previous pair of titles, Darksiders III is a third-person adventure with plenty of melee combat against the forces of Heaven and Hell scattered throughout its fifteen-to-twenty hour duration. This time it takes a little additional inspiration from Dark Souls given that environments often interconnect with one another and provide shortcuts that open up as players discover them. Don’t take the comparison too seriously, however, this is very much its own game.
Fury, the third of the Four Horsemen, primarily wields a bladed, multi-sectioned whip into battle and it’s good for ripping demons and angels alike into shreds, or for swinging between platforms. More weapons unlock as the game progresses, allowing her access to spears, hammers and others, but the whip is more than capable of carrying Fury through her journey.
The combat feels good. Hits have a nice sense of weight, and while Fury doesn’t have access to a ton of moves that can be combined in a freestyle manner, the combos she does have are satisfying to use. Dodging at the last moment before an attack connects slows time down briefly, allowing her to unleash more powerful counterattacks. However, enemies will track anyone spamming the dodge button easily, so decent timing is still required to progress through tougher fights.
Along the way players will also amass a bunch of souls and items that can be used to enhance Fury’s abilities – everything from weapon modifiers that drain enemy health on contact, to alternate forms that allow her to traverse environments in new and unusual ways. It also rewards going back and combing old areas once new powers are unlocked. By doing so, players will find secret bosses or new pathways that were previously out of reach.
Most of Darksiders III feels somewhat old-school in design, but I’d say that it’s better for it – what initially feels like linear progression begins to branch out nicely after a few boss battles, and plenty of puzzles that are challenging without becoming annoying.
The bosses as a whole are generally fine, too. They’re not spectacular, but they fit their roles – Sloth fights from a chair his minions carry around and the Avarice boss battle takes place in a room filled with his pilfered goods, from gold and gems to broken refrigerators. Which he uses in battle. There’s one of them that’s a particular pain in the ass though, since Gluttony is a little too keen on breaking the rules that the game’s been built upon up to that point. I don’t recall a single other enemy utilizing attacks that Fury was unable to dodge, so why is it suddenly impossible to weave through his whipping attacks?
Darksiders III isn’t just old-school in design, it’s also that way in terms of graphics. It does have some decent artistic chops behind it in places, but from a technical standpoint it’s significantly behind the curve. On PS4 there were plenty of times where the framerate would judder, and the action would often pause to load at strange times. Occasionally the geometry would suddenly draw itself in just a smidge too late while swinging the camera around.
The game also crashed to the dashboard several times, so hopefully the devs can patch some of these issues out. For now, I’d opt for the PC version if given the choice. Thankfully, checkpoints are frequent and I never lost too much time.Darksiders III might not be the prettiest game ever made, but I still had an absolute blast with it – and honestly, that’s more than I can say about some of the prettiest games ever made.
I’d much rather have a meaty and engaging adventure that’s happy to embrace its videogame origins over a lavishly budgeted and beautiful ‘experience’ littered with dull introspective and endless navel gazing. Darksiders III gleefully provides the former while completely shunning the latter, and I’m all for it.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Gunfire Games and published by THQ Nordic. It is currently available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4 Pro. Approximately 35 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed twice. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated MATURE and contains Blood and Gore and Violence. I’m surprised it isn’t a Teen, personally. It’s pretty tame as far as violence goes, very cartoony, and there’s not a great deal of swearing or the like either.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: I don’t recall any puzzles requiring the use of sound, and combat has various indicators to show where attacks are coming from such as arrows pointing at offscreen opponents who launch an attack. There are subtitles available throughout, though the font on them is perhaps a little small for some players and they can’t be resized. I’d say this is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.
The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.
The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.
Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.