Darksiders: Game Design and the Kitchen Sink

in Hive Gaming2 months ago

Hi there! Today I want to talk a bit about a series which I played out of order and that is Darksiders, especially the first two. This is a video game series based on the comics bearing the same name, featuring the four horsemen of the apocalypse, although two of them are different from the real life mythology: War, Death, Fury and Strife.

The first game in the series follows War, as he descends upon Earth, because the war between angels and demons now use our poor planet as a battlefield and that is all I will tell you about the story. The gameplay has three pillars: combat, exploration and puzzles and now, let's start peeking at the influences as we describe the gameplay.

The combat is at its roots a watered down Devil May Cry, with multiple weapons, each getting combos through upgrading and sidearms which have different effects of the enemies and even a Devil Trigger equivalent called Chaos Form, which lets you deal massive amounts of damage and take little to none from your enemies. The exploration has glimpses of Prince of Persia with its ledge parkour and Metroid Prime with the hidden power ups hidden in every nook and cranny you can think of (also the Metroid style of health, unlocking health tanks which are basically additional health bars). Now, you explore the overworld to enter dungeons and solve puzzles, just like in Legend of Zelda, and these dungeons have bosses on which you must use tactics learned in said dungeon. To add to the design of this game, there is also a sequence which apes Star Fox, following War riding a gryphon while locking on enemies which come from your front.

All in all, Darksiders is a Jack of all trades and although it masters none of them, having a bit of jank in each mechanic, the game is still pretty good and I would recommend it. Now, let's look to the future.

Darksiders 2 takes everything from the first game and makes it better. The game follows Death trying to bring humanity back to absolve the sins of War. Death is not as silent as his brother, he is actually a snarky asshole with a bit of a heart of gold. The pillars of the game come back from before, joined by a new one: RPG mechanics. Let's take a look at each pillar individually again.

The combat of the game is still based on Devil May Cry, but instead of unlocking weapons, you have three weapon classes: scythes, which are obviously the main weapon type and two secondary classes which you can choose between: huge and slow weapons like axes or hammers, or small and fast claws. You can combo the two classes you have equipped and death in general is more nimble than his brother and has more possible combos. The combat system is supplemented by combat abilities which can be unlocked from the skill tree and by the loot you can equip, like armor and weapons. To top it off, you also have the Devil Trigger ability, here called Reaper Form, which does what Chaos From did in the previous game.

I talked a bit about the RPG mechanics when discussing the combat: the game is now structured into quests, story and side ones, which grant you experience towards gaining skill points. You can invest these skill points in one of two skill trees: one contains combat moves, and the other combat summons. Also, enemies and chests can drop equipment for Death, which leads to altering his stats. The system is pretty barebones, but it does its job at granting a little bit more depth to the game.

Exploration is the same as in the first game, but now, having quests, you also have waypoints to guide you towards the locations of objectives, which are usually dungeons. Inside the dungeons you are on your own, the only guidance being Dust, a crow, which gives you small hints by sitting atop doors, but the little guy is not very useful. There are also little challenges in the overworld, having chests as rewards, so there is plenty to do, not just running from A to B. Most of the overworld can be traversed on horseback (riding was also in the first game, but it was severely limited). There is one new addition, and that is the wallrunning from the Sands of Time trilogy, and if you know me, that's enough for me. The puzzle solving returns, again based on dungeon power ups and character abilities, but now there are also the aforementioned minipuzzles in the overworld.

So, both games are pretty good and worthwhile experiences, even though they don't really have an original bone in their body. But hey, nobody said that every game must be wholly original.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

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Looks pretty cool, and from a game that I've never heard of before! When I saw that thumbnail, I thought it was a photo of the Lust Supper XD! It's something to give a go when I have the time. I don't know why, but the character model reminds me a lot of Warhammer, and the Space Marines :-D

I can't deny the Warhammer feel, especially in the first game with how lumbering War is. Also, that image actually is based on the Last Supper, you have a great eye.

Ah, in that case this game would suit my tastes quite well! My eye never fails... sometimes 😅

Also,in Darksiders 3 they changed the gameplay to a more souls-like formula with checkpoints, lockeddoors and stuff like that. Haven't played it yet, but I like Dark Souls so it might be fun.

Sounds neat! I haven't had the pleasure of playing Dark Souls, but judging my the muffled screams from my brother's room, I can imagine it to be as hard as some people suggest it to be.

Well, it looks pretty... Dark. The graphics are nice too.

Well, they go on sale often, so you could grab them pretty cheap and try them out.