Sound the Drums of War!
By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on November 22th, 2016 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC
Developer: KAIKO Publisher: THQ Nordic
War never changes! A phrase common to describe the lack of diversity between conflicts throughout the ages. Well, what if we put it in the perspective of the one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, then one whose namesake is the very conflict we speak of – War. War is tasked by the Charred Council to be the hand of judgment when the seventh seal is broken, meaning he alone will have to settle the war between Heaven and Hell.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition was developed by KAIKO and is the remastering of the 2010 title Darksiders, a title that can be easily compared to games like the Legend of Zelda and God of War series. The story follows War, who is summoned to Earth during an all-out, well, war between the legions of Heaven and Hell. Amidst the conflict, War weakens in power and eventually falls. Sent to the Charred Council, he learns that there is no proof that the seal has been broken and is sentenced to death. War strikes a deal of vengeance and retribution against the commanders of the Destroyer, the largest threat to the balance of the universe.
For anyone familiar with the original Darksiders, this remaster holds the game to the same quality standards. The puzzles are just as interesting, the storyline is still engrossing, and War is just as badass as we remember. War’s main arsenal includes the Chaoseater, the Harvester, the Scythe, and the Tremor Gauntlets. The Chaoseater is War’s iconic sword that is his main weapon of choice. The Chaoseater can eventually be upgraded into the Armageddon Blade that is one in the same but has increased damage. Similar to the swords, the Scythe and the Harvester are both Scythes; however, the Harvester is an upgraded version. Both can be purchased from Vulgrim, the shopkeeper, for 1000 and 5000 souls respectively. The Tremor Gauntlets are power gloves that are obtained in one of the dungeons that can be used in combat as well to being use to break ice barriers throughout the game. In addition, War has access to four different wrath powers and six pieces of equipment. I found that throughout the game, I rarely used the wrath powers except for Stoneskin. You start the game with one, Blade Geyser, already available (after the tutorial) and the other three must be purchased from Vulgrim. Blade Geyser simply shoots blades out of the ground around War and Stoneskin turns War’s skin to stone (go figure!) and results in a reduction of all damage received for the duration of the ability. All six pieces of equipment are obtained in dungeons right before they are needed for to finish the current dungeon. The equipment includes the following: the Earthcaller, the Crossblade, the Abyssal Chain, the Voidwalker, Mercy, and the Masks of Shadows. While all of these are useful, some are very limited to their use. For example, Mercy, a pistol, and the Earthcaller, a glorified horn, are only used for one boss fight and opening a couple doors. My personal favorite and one of the most useful pieces of equipment would be the Voidwalker. This is pretty much the Portal Gun. With this War is able to make two portals to travel through to get to different locations or solve a puzzle. The iconic horseman does not start the game with the one thing that makes him ‘the horseman’. It is never mentioned what happened to him, but at one part in the game, you come against minions of hell riding atop of horses. Leading them is their commander riding a horse different from the others. This sequence reunites War and his horse Ruin and the value of Ruin is tremendous as he allows you to travel through certain terrain at a much faster speed.
Being a dungeon crawler, this title contains a vast amount of collectibles. Thankfully all the collectibles are beneficial to your progression in the game. Artifacts are trophies that Vulgrim asks you to collect and bring back to him in return for souls. There are 27 of them and can net you up to 21000 souls and part of a lifestones when all of them are returned. Lifestones are the health and wrath (mana) upgrades for the game. There is a maximum of ten of each and you begin with two. Each of these upgrades needs four shards to make a complete core. Vulgrim also sells one wrath core and wrath shard, but they are a hefty price. The final collectible and the most important is the Abyssal Armor set. This set is scattered in ten different chests around the game and is an upgraded version of War’s current apparel. Once acquired, the Abyssal Armor turns War’s armor into a dark gray color and gives him additional benefits from wearing it. These benefits include a major damage reduction and life steal upon attacking enemies. This armor is ridiculously good and it is such a great idea to pick up during your playthrough. An example of just how powerful this armor is: I was fighting the final boss, I only lost one heart even though I received a lot of hits during the sequence. It is also worth noting that if you plan on playing two playthroughs of the game, this armor set carries over to future playthroughs after collecting it.
Being a remaster, the aesthetics of this title are very similar. The visuals give the feeling that you are playing the game you remember with updated graphics. The game remains stunning and still has this amazing atmosphere. The sounds in this game are accompanied by an epic soundtrack. The music is great, the voice acting great, all of it is just amazing. The voice acting is one my favorite parts. The actor behind War has this stunning voice that makes him sound like this all-powerful entity that instills fear into everyone that crosses his path.
Being one of my favorite games on the Xbox 360, I was ready to purchase this game upon release. Instead, I received a review copy, which made me ecstatic. I found myself enjoying this title as much as the first time around. I’d be sitting down to play this game and the hours just flew by without me realizing how much time had actually passed. I was engulfed by the game and I could not be happier that this was one of the titles that I got to put my time into for the site. With the ever-growing backlogs, this game may get passed over due to just being a remaster, but I highly recommend not doing that with Darksiders Warmastered Edition. Whether you are picking the game up again or never played it on the previous generation of consoles, I would make time for this game. My favorite moment in it was found during the boss fight against Straga. This boss fight shows the scale of the world around War even though he is an all-mighty being. Straga is ginormous compared to War; however, you are still able to overcome the odds and find his weaknesses.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition is priced at $20 USD and this has been the average lately for the prices of remastered titles. While I believe these titles should be priced at a lesser value in some cases, this price is more than fair. The game provided me with as much, if not more, enjoyment than titles that I paid full price for. Ready your horse and sharpen your sword, the seventh seal has just been broken!
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 9.5/10
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