The apocalypse and the story of the four horsemen continue with Fury, the femme fatale of the group in Darksiders 3 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
The single player action-adventure RPG hack and slash sequel has a lot to live up to, can it do what it needs? Or is it one game too many? Can THQ Nordic and Gunfire Games make Darksiders great again?
How Does Darksiders 3 Play
The Hack and slash platforming and exploration all feel solid here. However this isn’t the whole story the combat flows well, but quickly becomes arduous, as the game has some serious balance issues.
There are several ‘forms’ which are tied to the various secondary weapons you can retrieve. A fire form, for example, allowing you to traverse molten patches unharmed and enables a double jump.
A lightning form that allows a controlled descent, and others that I don’t want to spoil here. But you will quickly learn what works for you, as some of these ‘forms’ speed up your attacks, some slow you down, but there are other benefits such as area attacks, or damage over time to consider.
As confusing as that may sound, these powers are balanced and intuitive. Each giving you a variety of ideas for combat, but with tedious, almost pace killing puzzles and a difficulty arch that would make some older games blush.
Most fights do break down to using counters and dodges, to allow you to make use of your ‘arcane’ skills. You get small damage boosts for pulling off perfect dodges, as well as during your havoc form – a staple of the series.
Kill enemies and smash crates to get souls, spend souls on upgrades. But be warned, as you will come to learn, the upgrades feel more arbitrary on higher difficulties. It is all very well being given a higher HP stat, but if enemies can one shot you regardless it becomes pointless.
It is also frustrating as you can only upgrade at wormholes where you find vulgrim, and as there may be long stretches of misbalanced enemies in the intervening periods, this can sometimes feel a slog.
Presentation And Graphics
Fury looks great, the artstyle is bright and gothic all at once, and in terms of its world, characters, menus and music are all top notch.
However, the loading sections are jarring, often stopping the game entirely. We live in a world where massive open world games are commonplace. So having such big stutters can really take you out of the game.
This contradiction is a common occurrence within Darksiders 3, the contrast between the things that are really good, and the things that really aren’t.
Darksiders 3 follows the ongoing story of the Apocalypse that has been triggered too soon. The war that has ensued over the remains of Earth between the angels and demons, with the horsemen caught in the middle.
As Fury, you are tasked with hunting down the 7 deadly sins, which are all caricatures of their respective sins. Each represents a boss fight, and each represents the advancement of both Fury’s power and the plot.
However, time and again, throughout the progression of the game, you will find yourself levelling up, just to be killed (or very nearly killed) by one hit, enemy balance is absolutely all over the place.
I really felt that the balancing of this game, especially pre-patch was an absolute farce. I understand that some gamers want to find another Dark Souls or some such game, to test their mettle. And I understand the draw of such games.
However, Darksiders 1 & 2 were not Dark Souls style games. They weren’t as difficult as that nor did they punish you for combat errors in the same way.
While taking inspiration from these types of games could be positive for a series. Personally, I think they have gone too far for series fans. Plus, it’s not executed well enough to feel like it’s not being overly harsh on you.
And my case in point: there was a boss fight, which I won comfortably. I got my swanky new area to explore, and the first enemy charged me.
I dodged the first attack, did very little damage to the enemy with my attack in reply. However, when I got hit, this basic attack did more than half of my health bar in damage.
This from a standard enemy, immediately after a comfortable boss fight. It really makes the game feel unfair and unrealistic.
To be fair to the development team, they have done a big update to make this above issue a problem. It’s better, but maybe not enough to save the core issues.
Such extremes I faced however, you may avoid.
Should You Play Darksiders 3
Post update the game is a little more playable. But, the fact that the game was so poorly balanced at launch really hurt it.
Returning fans didn’t get the experience they wanted, and people who haven’t played the first 2 may be put off by middling reviews here and elsewhere
That being said the story is still compelling with rich, vibrant characters – maybe 4 could be a return to form?
Gamers how would suit this game
If you liked the originals and have gone on to enjoy Dark Souls and such, this is for you.
If, like me, you have precious little patience, probably play this game (as the story and characters are really worth it) on the relevant easier settings.
Maybe talk about two or three similar games to what you reviewed and highlight them as points of reference to the reader where possible.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Great story||balance (pre-patch) a nightmare|
|Fluid controls||loading screens|
|missteps in game style|
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About this Darksiders 3 Review
Game Reviewed: Darksiders 3 digital edition, provided by the publisher.
Review Format: Xbox One
PEGI Rating: 16