Sunday, February 21, 2010

Video game number fifty one: Darksiders

Game review number fifty one in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Darksiders".

This game will be part 1 of 2 in my SUNDAY OF HELL.

Before I popped this game in, I was posting on twitter. Since I was in the mood to micro-blog, I decided: Hey, why not write the entire review in twitter format?

8:55am A bland text opening screen explaining what's going on in this game.

8:56am: Oooh and here's the really great cut scene to tell me what's going on. Wow, meteors are hitting the earth live on CNN. They're showing the locations, it looks like Seattle was spared. Awesome.

8:57am OMG: An Autobot with wings vs a giant Orc thing! Awesome! I hope I get to be the autobot...

8:57am: Now I am playing. I'm not the autobot. I look like a Warcraft character in the game Prey.

8:58: I'm fighting the Orc thing, and now I'm a dragon....a dragon on FIRE!

9:07am This game is way too exciting to Twitter.


So, yeah. That experiment didn't go so well. Back to actual paragraphs. Darksiders is a game I've heard described as "God of War" meets "Zelda". I've never actually played God of War, but it sure doesn't remind me of Zelda at all. This game reminds me a lot of Prey. It also reminds me of a game I played last month: Bayonetta. It doesn't remind me of Bayonetta because of the gameplay (although they are both action hack and slash games). It reminds me of Bayonetta because I have no idea what the shit is going on in this game.

As I understand it, you're one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse (or some such shit) and you're fighting angels and/or demons in order to achieve some purpose that is unclear to me. From what I can gather, you're trying to redeem yourself or avenge someone...but I have no idea which I was doing at any given time. They tried to tell me in the opening screen, and further the plot along with each cut scene, but I still have no idea what is going on. I am clearly ignorant when it comes to these sorts of stories. Oh, how I long to be 50 Cent again, where I am a rapper that everyone has heard of and my only mission in life is to get paid.

Anyway, eventually I gave up trying to understand what my mission was. I cast the story aside to focus on the combat, which is a lot of fun. You're an all powerful demon guy, and you have a giant sword. You fight endless swarms of zombies (or maybe they are demons too), while making your way through castles and the ruined cities that look like they've been redecorated by the devil. I don't know why exactly how they were ruined, I suppose there was an apocalypse or something.

I thought I was making some pretty good progress in the game, but when I got stuck on the boss of this freeway overpass, I went to the web to find some tips on how I was supposed to beat him. It was at that point I realized I was only at the end of the fucking prologue. That's when I hit eject. There is absolutely no way I have the attention span to keep playing through bullshit if I'm moving that slowly.

Overall: 4/10. The combat system in this game is a lot of fun, but without a plot...all you're really doing is hitting the "X" button a lot. It's fun to watch heads explode and throw cars, but only for a little while. I'm sure this story may be right up some people's alley, but it made me feel like Ned Flanders. The whole thing is so far out of my realm of interest that I have absolutely zero investment in what happens next.

I've played games with less than perfect combat systems before, because I wanted to see where the story would take me. Gears of War comes immediately to mind. It's a fantastic game, even though I really don't like some of the combat in it. Gears of War remains the only shooter in history that I've beaten all the way through the campaign, but NEVER played multiplayer in. Gears of War 2 would have suffered the same fate, if they hadn't added horde mode. I still think that game and the sequel are two of the best around....because their story is great. This game....well, frankly...I just don't care. If there was a button you could push to watch every cut scene in the game, just to see how it all turns out....I wouldn't take the time to push it. That's how lame it is to me. Your mileage may vary.

Here are the achievements I unlocked after 3 or 4 hours. I won't be playing this game ever again.

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