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Soul to Squeeze

2010-03-03

You may remember me mentioning on Monday that my brother was kind enough to send Darksiders over my way and I was finally able to boot it up the other night after the strange PSN fiasco.  I've heard comparisons to Zelda and a peppering of Metroid both franchises of which I have a love/hate relationship (I would love to see Zelda do something different  and I don't believe Metroid should have ever gone first-person, though I'll admit that last one is just me yelling at the kids to get off of my lawn and not a legitimate complaint) and the bit that I've played thus far certainly lends weight to the Zelda argument.  There are certain areas that you can backtrack to that were previously inaccessible now that you have a new item and I definitely see Metroid there but I'm not sure if that's where the comparison ends or if there's more down the road.  Perhaps War can bunch himself into a compact ball and roll around levels and off ramps.  We'll see.

I'm not terribly far in so my opinion could change as time wears on but as of now I would place Dark somewhere in the 8.5 to 9 range out of 10.  I love it.  The Zelda vibe is heaviest when you start hitting the dungeons and I've just recently acquired the Crossblade (i.e.: the boomerang) and taken on my first real boss which, surprise, forces you to use said Crossblade in order to best him.  Not that I'm complaining because the presentation is fantastic, the art direction perfect, and the story (or better, the backdrop), interesting.  I like that I'm playing Zelda in a new skin and the sprinking of God of War that I'm picking up too just adds to the experience.  Maybe that's not necessarily a fair assessment, but if it means I like it, then I'm okay with that.

I was half Theology major in college so the setting here speaks to me and I love the mythology here.  I told my wife that the story is a great mix of amazing and blasphemy and I'm (strangely) okay with attacking demons and angels alike.  Honestly, my only real complain with the game is that it's almost too easy.  I'm playing on Normal and perhaps I should try my hand at Apocalyptic to see if that does what I want it to, and rarely am I one to bemoan a title for not being tough as I certainly don't want to feel as though I'm playing Mega Man here, but now four hours in I've literally only died once and that was due to me hitting the wrong button and sending myself off a cliff.  So rather than perish in the heat of battle, War feel into the scorched earth with nary a whimper.  I'm sure this will change as things progress, but I would at least like to feel as though I'm in danger and I just haven't yet.  Perhaps they just wanted you to really be War and not fret over all of that dying business.  A fair argument.

And, not to harp on the continuing comparisons, but I really dig the puzzles so far.  A great mix of not too hard, not too light giving you the right tools to come to the conclusion even though some are perhaps too obvious.  Do I really need Luke Skywalker holding my hand as I go from location to location?  I mean, I'm fine with having a guide to give you the basics but after four hours and twenty-nine years of gaming, I'm pretty sure I know that the empty statue back there needs the sword I'm holding in order for the door to open.  You don't need to say "Hey!" (Tingle?) and then proceed to stand by the door.  And while I love me some Hamill, his work as The Watcher sounds ridiculously close to his Joker which, while awesome, pulls me out just a bit. 

Anyhow, the game was free, I can't wait to play more, and after I get through the slew of other games I have on my plate (and FF XIII in less than a week!), I'm going to pick this up just because I want to support the developer.  The polish is fantastic and I just want to keep playing which is rare in my gaming time these days.  I don't often crave gameplay but Darksiders is changing that.