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Game Reviewed: Darksiders
Developer: Vigil Games
Platform: Xbox 360 (also on PS3)
Category: Action Adventure
ESRB Rating: M
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Darksiders begins with an introduction that gives a disturbing depiction of the beginning of days. The kingdoms of Angels and Demons wage war against each other, but in order to maintain balance, a mysterious group known as the Charred Council employs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to keep both sides in line. A prophecy foretells of the coming of the kingdom of humanity, which will be crucial to the battle of end times, which is set to begin when seven sacred seals are broken. At the breaking of the seventh seal, Angels and Demons will fight in an open war, and the four horsemen will come in to maintain the delicate balance between all three kingdoms.
The game begins with demons falling to the Earth and wreaking havoc on humanity. Angels fly in and open war begins. Then the main character, War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, flies in and begins slaughtering demons AND angels from both sides. War, being feared by both sides, is friend to no one, but as the game opens, it is revealed that the seventh seal was never broken, and thus War began the apocalypse too soon. The Charred Council sentences War to death, but War, on a vendetta of revenge, persuades the Charred Council to let him pursue whoever tricked him into starting the Apocalypse early, and thus War sets out, ready to kill anyone or anything that stands in his way.
Throughout the game, War traverses various locations on a now war-torn Earth, fighting off enemies, slaying bosses in dungeons, and solving puzzles along the way. All this takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that is clearly now run by the demonic. Remnants of the former kingdom of humanity riddle the landscape along with fiery pits of lava and demonic spires.
What Parents Need to Know
Darksiders is played from a third person, over-the-shoulder perspective. War progresses through the game, slaughtering all demons and angels in his path. War gains new weapons and abilities either through finding them in dungeons or through purchasing them from a demon merchant named Vulgrim. Many of Darksiders gameplay mechanics mimic successful games like Legend of Zelda. However, that is where the similarities end. Darksiders is GOREY. Every swing of War's sword causes copious amounts of blood to issue forth from his enemies. Over the course of the game, War gains new weapons and abilities, which all continue the flow of blood and gore. Darksiders is more like the game, God of War, in this respect. Also, as enemies near their end, a special cut-scene can be triggered that shows War in slow motion, ending his foe. Typically, these finishing moves involve maiming the enemy, or simply ripping them limb from limb.
Other than the occasional use of the word "damn" or "damnation", there is no real language issue in Darksiders.
Uriel, a female angel, has a large chest that seems to be focused upon at certain points.
In Darksiders, there is a great deal of spiritual content to be aware of, given its subject material. The main character, War, is one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and goes forth, killing demons AND angels. God is referred to only in rare cases as "The Creator". In almost all portions of the game, a demonic presence is showcased. Many of the main characters are demons who have fallen out of favor with the Destroyer. These demons have War go on side quests until he is allowed to get his revenge. The world of Darksiders is in and of itself a demonic place.
Darksiders has its moments that make it a very fun game to play. The story is engaging, the puzzles at points are devilishly clever, and the music is some of the best I have heard in recent memory in a video game. The orchestral score intensifies each scene of the game, providing an epic underpinning to all portions of the game. My biggest concern for parents, however, is how demonic the environment is in which the game takes place. Many parts of the game glorify the demonic in that War must do quests for demons or exchange human souls as currency for items. In conclusion, if you are not comfortable with your child playing a game that focuses heavily on the world of the demonic then you may want to pass on Darksiders.