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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #327: Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Kaiko, Vigil Games

Publisher: THQ Nordic

Category: Action, Adventure

Release Date: 4.2.2019

Price (at time of review): $29.99 (digital & physical)

Buy Darksiders: Warmastered Edition from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Darksiders: Warmastered Edition from Amazon here.

It’s A MAD World We Find Ourselves In

I miss the days of healthy competition where a developer would put out a solid project that fans and critics alike praised, and because of this, it pushed the competition to, in turn, put out a solid project. One that comes to mind is the God of War series; when it hit the market, everyone ate it up and couldn’t get enough of the hack n slash action, with the huge quick-time boss battles and larger than life characters. It left people clamoring for more, and third party developers were happy to answer that call. In comes Vigil Games with their game, Darksiders, to bring some healthy competition to this genre. Vigil Games is based out of Austin, TX, and was founded in 2005 by artists Joe Madureira and David L. Adams. They brought us the Darksiders series that became a cult favorite, and saw the first two games hit all major consoles in the last two generations, as well as PC, and now they’ve remastered Darksiders with the Warmastered Edition, and with the remaster, it has come to the Switch.

A Little Extra MADness...

Back in the late 90s, I was fully obsessed with comics, as I had been most my life since a young kid. My favorite comic book at that time was called Battle Chasers, which was written and drawn by Joe Madureira. The book always had trouble making it out on time, and just staggered it’s issues from the start. I’d heard that Madureira was a huge gamer and loved playing games, and I’d also heard that he struggled to keep up with the schedule, which was tough to understand, as he had kept the schedule prior when he penciled X-Men just before.

Just as his book was hitting its stride and was one of the biggest books at the time, selling out any time a comic shop got it in, Madureira announced he was holding off on the series and moving into the gaming world. After a brief period working on a couple titles in design, he went on to form Vigil Games and become the creative director at THQ. While there, they created Darksiders 1 & 2. Both are heavily inspired by Madureira’s art-style, and are absolutely a treat if you’re a fan of his work, as I am. Shortly after the second Darksiders, THQ went bankrupt and sold off its assets. Luckily, the games came back home to the new THQ Nordic, where we are seeing these new remasters happening.

*Extra tidbit: if you’re a fan of the art and want more, the comic I mentioned was released as a game and has come to switch as Battle Chasers: Nightwar. It’s a solid RPG that I highly recommend.

Three Kingdoms in Peril. Good Luck!

Since the beginning of time, the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell have waged war, with neither side ever being able to gain an advantage over the other. Thus, in time, a mediator group, named "The Charred Council", arose to maintain order and balance; to this end, they created a warrior brotherhood, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—War, Death, Strife, and Fury—to intervene and enforce their laws where and when necessary. Amidst the conflict, humanity emerged.

Foreseeing that humans 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, and the Seven Seals were created to be broken when the Kingdom of Man was ready for the End War.

In the present day, War 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, 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. 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.

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 he will be bound to one of their servants, The Watcher, 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. Now our journey will begin; and damn, it’s a fun one!

War Walks Softly & Carries A Big Stick

The first thing I noticed—and many others will too—is that it not only draws from the God of War series, but also the Zelda series, in terms of gameplay. The controls and layout are rather simple, and even if you haven’t played before, it should be rather easy to feel like an unstoppable killer titan. Now, you have the attack button that, as you start, you can really just smash over and over, as it will have War unleashing a combo that really helps until you get the dodge-and-lock-on down pat. As you beat down these minions of Heaven and Hell, they’ll get to the point of wooziness. When you have them on the ropes, you can smash the grab button, which will unleash a finishing move that’ll have War dispatching them in a deadly fashion. Nothing like running around grabbing up zombies like ragdolls and slamming them to the ground as they turn to paste and explode.

You can map out special powers into the D-pad that War can use once he gains them. You press the L-button and Y, X, A, or B to initiate the special attack, which is like having half a dozen glowing sword blades ripping through the floor around you, damaging enemies as they try to overtake you. Speaking of specials, once you gain everything needed, you can unleash a mode called “Pure Rage” that turns War into an enormous fiery monster that looks like it would be the ultimate bouncer in Club Hell; in this form, he can destroy almost anything in his path.

Between gaining wings that help you glide to what would normally be unreachable areas, or blades you can throw boomerang-style to hit levers and unlock doors, I think it’s clear how I can compare Darksiders to the games mentioned before. While killing the enemies in devastating fashion, you’ll be given materials they drop once killed. The material comes in three colors: blue (souls), green (health), and yellow (wrath). The latter two are used to fill the aforementioned bars in-game, but the blue souls act as a currency that you can use with Vulgrim, the shop dealer you’ll meet.

At the shop, you can purchase new items and weapons, as well as upgrade the ones you have. There are bosses at the end of each level that will require some skill, as they’re not pushovers, and you’ll have to use everything from the evade to the counters once you acquire them. The counters can be tricky, as they’re purely done through visual cues, and it’ll keep you on your toes.

You’ll push through dungeons where I thought the overall platforming was superbly done, as well as the small sprinkled-in puzzles that kept things fresh. The gameplay even allows itself to be broken up with flying levels, where you get to mount a griffin and go Starfox mode. This really helped to break up the gameplay and show that Darksiders isn’t a one trick pony.

Audio & Visuals

The audio here is superbly done, from the Triple-A soundtrack to the well-done sound effects and truly amazing voice actors. The soundtrack fits perfectly with its sweeping sound that fills the game, and the voice acting has some heavy hitters, such as Troy Baker, and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill lending their talents to bring these characters to life. Mark Hamill’s work as The Watcher is hands down my favorite, and one of his best performances.

The visuals, though some may say are dated since this originally came out in 2007 on PlayStation 3, have been revamped and remastered, and I think they look great. You can choose in the options menu to go for high quality or high performance by choosing to either maintain a higher frame rate or a higher picture quality. The faraway winner is the character model and design, as they’re plucked straight from the mind of Joe Madureira, and they have his distinct look with his almost anime/larger-than-life-looking characters.

It’s A Wrap!!!

I’ll keep this simple and short, as for me, this is an easy no-brainer. I’d highly recommend buying this and adding it to your collection, whether that be in physical or digital form. The game is fast-paced with great action and amazing over-the-top characters. From the fight mechanics to the amazing boss fights, this is one game you’ll love to have in your collection. I’ve now played and beaten it 7 times, so take control of War, and come wreck some demons to restore the order.

Score: 9/10

Buy Darksiders: Warmastered Edition from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Darksiders: Warmastered Edition from Amazon here.

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*Review Code Provided by Terminals

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