THQ Nordic GmbH (remaster)
|Genre(s)||Hack and Slash|
Darksiders is a hack and slash action-adventure video game developed by Vigil Games and published by THQ. The game’s inspiration is from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, with the player taking the role of the horseman War. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 5, 2010 in North America, January 7 in Australia, January 8 in Europe, and March 18 in Japan. The Microsoft Windows version was released in North America and Australia on September 23, and in Europe on September 24. A parallel sequel, Darksiders II, was released on August 14, 2012.
A remastered version of the game named Darksiders: Warmastered Edition was released on November 22, 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and on November 29, 2016 for Microsoft Windows. A Wii U version was released on May 23, 2017, and a Nintendo Switch version was released on April 2, 2019.
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In Darksiders, players control War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in a third-person perspective. The world is split into separate locations with many areas initially inaccessible until later in the game. The center of the world, The Scalding Gallow, functions as a hub where War is given new objectives and paths to unlock new areas, many of which require the use of newly gained abilities to progress.
Although War is initially limited to the use of his two-handed signature sword, Chaoseater, he will eventually obtain other weapons throughout the course of the game. He also has a Scythe, which he uses as his other main offensive weapon. Weapons have different combinations of attack that can be obtained throughout the game. Along with combos, players are encouraged to use countering moves, blocks, and swift dodging. Projectile weapons such as a revolver and a boomerang-style throwing blade can also be used. Objects scattered throughout the environment can also be used as weapons and projectiles. At a later point in the game, War gains the ability to summon a horse that provides faster movement and increased attack power.
Along with weapon-based attacks, War can also use an array of magic-based attacks, known as Wrath powers, that are both offensive & defensive in nature. The amount of Wrath powers available are determined through the Wrath meter. War's Chaos Form: which transforms him into a large, fiery and extremely resistant entity can be activated once War's Chaos meter is filled.
When enemies are near defeat, War can perform an elaborate and violent finishing move, instantly killing them. Some larger foes can be briefly ridden and steered into other enemies before being finished off. War eventually encounters large boss opponents that are both giant in size and deal heavy damage, and are themselves puzzle-based battles requiring certain methods and certain weapons to defeat them, and in some cases quick time button events to dodge or deal attacks.
Upon defeat, some enemies expel souls that provide different benefits. Green souls that fill the health bar, yellow souls that fill the Wrath meter, and blue souls that are the game's form of currency, and can be spent on new combo attacks, enhanced Wrath powers, power-ups, and potions. Also, there are artifacts littered throughout the world that can be exchanged for more blue souls, with bonuses for completing each set. Additionally, souls can be obtained in chests found throughout the world. Other items that can be located include wrath core and lifestone fragments, whereupon collecting four, War's Wrath or Health, respectively, are permanently increased.
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Since the beginning of time, the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell have waged war, with neither side being able to gain an advantage over the other. Thus, in time, a mediator group named "The Charred Council" arose to keep order and harmony; to this end, they created a warrior brotherhood, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Death, Strife, and Fury) to intervene and enforce their rules where and when necessary. Amidst the conflict, humans emerged. Foreseeing that humanity would be integral and contribute to the balance's stability, the council declared them a third Kingdom, the "Kingdom of Man." The Council brokered a truce between Heaven and Hell: the Seven Seals were created to be broken when the Kingdom of Man was prepared for the Endwar.
In the present day, War (Liam O'Brien) arrives on Earth where the End War appears to have begun; armies of angels and demons wage war with mankind caught in the middle. Confronting Abaddon (Troy Baker), the General of Heaven's army, War discovers that the other Horsemen have not arrived and the Seventh Seal, meant to summon the Four Horsemen, has not been broken. Surprised by War's presence, Abaddon is killed by the Demon Commander Straga (Troy Baker). War battles Straga and gains the upper hand, but he mysteriously loses his powers and is defeated. He is saved from death by the Charred Council (Fred Tatasciore). The Council accuses War of destroying the balance by bringing about the Apocalypse prematurely, resulting in the destruction of Mankind, and siding with the forces of Hell. War protests his innocence and demands a chance to find the real culprits. The Council agrees on two conditions: he is stripped of his former powers and be bound to one of their servants, The Watcher (Mark Hamill), who has the power to kill him if he strays from his mission.
War returns to Earth, where a century has passed since the forces of Hell, led by "The Destroyer," annihilated humanity and the armies of Heaven. What remains of Heaven's armies (the Hellguard) have been stranded on Earth and formed into a meager resistance led by Abaddon's lieutenant Uriel (Moon Bloodgood). War greets the demon merchant Vulgrim (Phil LaMarr), who tells him that the Black Tower is The Destroyer's lair, and advises War to find Samael (Vernon Wells), a once powerful Demon Lord, for assistance. Samael explains that four demons called "The Chosen" (consisting of the Bat Queen Tiamat, the Griever, the Stygian King, and the Broodmother Silitha) guard the Black Tower, and asks War to kill them and bring him their hearts in exchange for gaining access to the Tower. While doing so, War meets Ulthane (JB Blanc), a skilled blacksmith from a race called "The Makers". Initially fighting each other, they are forced to defend themselves from Uriel and her Hellguard who hold War responsible for Abaddon's death and their defeat. Confronting the last Chosen, Silitha, War is told that The Chosen were not meant to defend the tower, but to prevent Samael's return. Regardless, War brings Samael their hearts and the restored demon honors their deal, sending him to the tower, saying they will meet again.
Inside the tower, War finds Azrael (Keith Szarabajka), the Angel of Death, imprisoned. As War attempts to free him, Azrael confesses that himself, Abbadon, and Ulthane were the conspirators to bring about the Apocalypse early, fearing to delay would risk Heaven's defeat. However, Abaddon's death ruined the plan. Having found the proof he needs, War decides his mission is complete but The Watcher decides otherwise, citing the Destroyer must die for balance to be restored. War obliges, freeing Azrael and fighting Straga, the Tower's guardian, where War succeeds.
Since Straga and the Tower are one and War is trapped, Azrael saves him as it collapses by directing him to a portal that instead takes him to the Garden of Eden, hidden by Azrael after he led Abaddon to the Tree of Knowledge, which provides gifts of vision. After fighting his own shadow and heeding Azrael's advice, War visits the Tree of Knowledge to see how to defeat the Destroyer. The Tree gives War a vision: Abaddon was sent to Hell after he died, and was offered a choice by an unknown entity: to serve in Heaven or rule in Hell; understanding that he will be punished by Heaven and the Council anyway, he chooses the latter, he becomes the Destroyer, and now guards the unbroken Seventh Seal. The Destroyer plans to lay siege to Heaven. Uriel leads the Angels against him and is defeated. The Charred Council is shown to have been aware of the conspiracy, but knew the Horsemen would not act without proof. Thus, the Council allowed the Apocalypse to start early, summoning War themselves, knowing he would track down and kill the conspirators to clear his name. Finally, War sees himself being taunted by The Watcher and fatally stabbed in the back with a blade. Azrael deduces the blade is the Armageddon Blade, a weapon capable of slaying the Destroyer, and tasks War to find the shards of the blade and take them to Ulthane to reforge it.
Uriel confronts War a second time, challenging him to a death oath that can be completed when one of them dies. War is victorious but spares her, and reveals the Destroyer's true identity. Grief-stricken and enraged by this knowledge, Uriel leaves to prepare the angels for battle. Collecting all of the blade fragments, War returns them to Ulthane who reforges the Blade. Meanwhile, Uriel and the Hellguard engage the Destroyer but as predicted, they were defeated. In the aftermath, War confronts the Destroyer and is provided the same offer before he became the monster he had become. War refuses, battles the Destroyer and succeeds after killing him.
War retrieves the Seventh Seal, but is subdued by The Watcher who takes it to prevent him from returning to his full power, knowing that once he learns of the Council's betrayal, he will turn against them. Uriel intervenes, taking the Armageddon Blade and stabbing War in the back as predicted, fulfilling the oath of their earlier duel, and breaks the Seventh Seal. The shattering of the Seventh Seal restores War to his original power, and frees him from the Council's control. The Watcher threatens that Heaven, Hell, and the Council will chase him before War slays him. Uriel is grateful to War, saying his actions have repaid any harm he caused the angels but warns that her duty will likely require her to fight him once again. Consequently, she warns War that he cannot stand alone against the armies of both Heaven and Hell, and the other forces of the Council, to which War replies that he is not alone as the other three riders - Death, Pestilence, and Famine - are seen descending from the sky toward him.
The player is War, the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Along with the rest of the Horsemen, his sole duty is to be summoned to the Earth once the final battle of Armageddon begins. War is not aligned to Heaven or Hell but instead serves to bring order by the rule of The Charred Council, whose purpose is upholding the balance between the two forces. He maintains a strict code of honor and will battle any obstacle in his way.
Throughout the story, War is bound to and accompanied by The Watcher, a warden sent by the Charred Council to watch over and guide War on his journey. Because of his assigned role, he is actually skeptical and cynical towards War's actions, much to War's anger. He relishes his duty and enjoys needling War and bossing him about simply because he can. War later employs the guidance of Samael, once a mighty and feared demon, now imprisoned, who himself seeks vengeance against the Destroyer, leader of the victorious forces on Earth. Many other characters become central to the overall plot, recurring at times. Among these is Uriel, leader of Heaven's armies after their first leader, Abaddon, was done in during a major battle; now stranded on Earth seeking revenge against those she believes responsible. Another recurring character is Vulgrim: a demon merchant who provides gear and abilities for War in exchange for human souls. Finally there is Ulthane, also known as the Black Hammer, an "Old One" who first appears hostile towards War, but then the two quickly become friends; first after aiding War in getting into Griever's lair then making War's magical revolver and re-forging the Armageddon Blade for him. War is a powerful warrior with a strong sense of honor who will stop at nothing to get vengeance for being betrayed.
Creator Joe Madureira planned a comic book series and a possible film adaptation for the game. Madureira has been reportedly working on the screenplay and may sell the rights to a Hollywood studio. However, the rights belong to THQ Nordic, leaving the status of the project unknown.
Darksiders has received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 84% and 83/100, the PlayStation 3 version 83% and 83/100 and the PC version 83% and 82/100.
GameZone's Dakota Grabowski gave the game an 8/10 on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, saying "THQ and Vigil Games did an outstanding job creating an intellectual property that has weight. The voice-acting is top-notch, the combat is exquisite, the replay value is high, and the world they have created is fascinating. Darksiders is a marvelous way to start out 2010." Being overall positive, IGN saw the elements of Darksiders as a combination of three separate game franchises. Devil May Cry, God of War, and The Legend of Zelda games have been used to compare to the style of Darksiders.
Darksiders has sold over 1 million units worldwide.
THQ creative director Luis Gigliotti revealed in a 2009 interview with GameAxis that Darksiders would be a franchise. Darksiders II was released in August 2012. War's brother, the Horseman, Death, is the protagonist of Darksiders II.
A third entry in the Darksiders series was originally planned by Vigil Games, however, the fate of its franchise was threatened due to financial complications. Its parent company, THQ, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. The company's assets were sold at an auction, excluding Vigil Games, which was shut down along with the parent company, THQ. On April 22, 2013, Darksiders was purchased by Nordic Games in the final transaction of THQ's assets.
On May 2, 2017, a product listing for Darksiders III appeared on Amazon.com. The game was announced the same day by publisher THQ Nordic to be under development by Gunfire Games. The development team largely consists of former Vigil Games employees. The game was revealed to be released on November 27, 2018. The game will follow the Horseman, Fury, as its protagonist, and is set during War's 100 year imprisonment.
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