Game Review: Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (Xbox One)

Originally released in 2010 across the world on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, Darksiders got a re-release in 2016 entitled, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition.

With a title like that you might expect this re-release to come with a whole host of additions but in fact there is no extra content. Instead the PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions run the game at 1080p and 60 frames per second. While the Wii U runs at 1080p and 30 frames per second. As well as those improvements this edition also features improved rendering, shadows, post-processing and textures.

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So, if you’ve already had your fill of War & his adventures, there really isn’t much point in picking up this re-release. Even though it does look great. If you’ve never played Darksiders before this is the perfect place to start.

You take on the role of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The forces of heaven & hell have been at a stalemate ever since the ‘Kingdom of Man’ rose. The Four Horsemen were created by The Charred Council, a group who maintain the balance, and tasked with keeping order. At least until the end times come & mankind is ready for the battle. Seven seals are created to keep order & only when broken will the forces of heaven & hell resume battle.

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This is how the game begins…with War arriving on Earth as the two sides battle with mankind in the middle. The end times have arrived, the seventh seal has been broken & the horsemen have arrived. Well, at least War has. He quickly realises that the other horsemen have not arrived & that the seventh seal was never broken.

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As War’s powers deplete he battles the gigantic demon lord, Straga but loses, only being saved from death by the Charred Council. Standing before them, War is blamed for bringing about the apocalypse prematurely & siding with Hell. Of course, he isn’t to blame so demands a chance to clear his name & bring the culprits to justice.

The council agree but strip him of his powers & bind him to The Watcher, a being that can kill War should he stray from his mission.

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War returns to Earth but a century has passed. The world lies in ruins as the forces of Hell won the battle with Heaven. Led by The Destroyer they annihilated humanity and left the armies of Heaven in tatters.

Played from a third-person perspective, as War you must explore the remains of Earth & discover who really started the end times.

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Darksiders’ gameplay owes much to more successful franchises such as Devil May Cry, God of War and The Legend of Zelda. From locations that are inaccessible until later in the game, to equip-able weapons & items to dungeons that hold a hulking boss battle at their core. It’s very familiar but handled well here.

The dungeons provide much of the 3D platforming & puzzle solving moments of the game. Each has its own unique special weapon to be found which will help you progress. The puzzles you come up against in the dungeons can be quite tricky but you get that sense of satisfaction when you overcome them.

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There is always a sense of anticipation as you work your way towards the boss that awaits inside & while they’re rarely challenging they are at least inventive. The only real let-down is the final boss that is far too easy even on the hardest difficulty. Especially if you’ve taken the time to hunt down all the extra health slots and weapon upgrades.

The ravaged Earth isn’t open-world, rather split into hubs with one over-arching dungeon within. While most are linked, it’s far quicker to travel via portals that you unlock by talking to a demonic shop-keeper called Vulgrim. It’s this same friendly fella who will exchange your collected souls for items, new attacks & abilities.

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Souls are collected by defeating enemies in combat & can also be found in the many hidden chests throughout the game. Combat is free-flowing even if it’s ripped straight out of the Devil May Cry franchise. As you progress & unlock new abilities, your moves will become more impressive & damaging. Your main weapon is the Chaoseater & while you can use a scythe & glove, you’ll likely be sticking to the sword considering its wealth of moves & range. The glove in particular is rarely a good weapon choice.

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Visually, it looks great & the imagination used for each location is impressive. What really stands out though is the voice acting. The likes of Mark Hamill, Liam O’Brien and Troy Baker absolutely kill it here.

Darksiders can be finished anywhere between 15-20 hours depending on how much exploring you do/how many collectables you go to pick up. It’s a seriously satisfying game & for those looking for a familiar but different game, you can’t go to wrong here.

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It’s not perfect, combat is repetitive & there isn’t enough variety between enemies. Some of the dungeon puzzles are frustrating & it can be easy to miss a chest inside resulting in you having to work your way back through it. The over-world map is awful, next to useless & there aren’t enough Vulgrim points meaning you’ll still end up having to trek to where you want to be. Later you will get the ability to ride War’s horse but only in designated locations, another source of annoyance.

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As said at the start, if you played Darksiders when it first came out there is little reason to pick this re-release up. However, if you’re looking to get into the series then this is the version to play!

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Darksiders: Warmastered Edition
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