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Darksiders Preview

Blake_Morse By:
GENRE Action 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

On through the dead of night,
With the four Horsemen ride,
or choose your fate and die.

It's time for the Apocalypse, and you're one of its four horsemen. The Horseman of War, to be precise. Only it's not really time for the end of the world. You see, someone started the party early and now you've taken the blame. It's not really your fault, but God can be a dick when he hasn't had his coffee.

click to enlargeSo what does he do? He strips you of all your powers and imprisons you in the Abyss. Time passes and the Rapture comes and goes. Somehow you break free and decide to pull a Columbo, and solve the mystery of who framed you and why. Only instead of interrogating suspects, you beat the living crap out of monsters. That's how Vigil gets the ball rolling in the upcoming Darksiders: Wrath of War.

Graphically, Darksiders is shaping up very well. The unique artistic style of Creative Director Joe Madureira lends itself perfectly to the ravaged landscapes of post-apocalyptic Earth. Not only are the backgrounds great, but they're also varied as you go from ivy-smothered courtyards to underground tunnels filled with molten lava, and sand dunes that were once proud cities. The best part is that it's an open world, so places that are locked at one point might be unlocked after a little bit of exploring.

click to enlargeThe character designs are detailed and menacing. War is one bad-looking motherfucker - picture The Prince of Persia on a human-growth hormone with a full set of mean-looking armor. The enemies are demonic in their appearances, ranging from your average zombie-like grunt to giant behemoths with mind-controlling, giant-green-tumor people growing out of their backs. That's just touching the tip of the iceberg.

Along the way, War gets more and more of his lost skills back, such as powerful attacks he can unleash by charging up his wrath meter, such as a slew of swords that come flying out of the ground and impale enemies. Early on in the game, you'll be given a glaive-like weapon that can be used similarly to the one in Dark Sector, only here, you can set up a chain of targets as opposed to the boomerang glaive in Dark Sector.

click to enlargeBeyond the hacking and slashing, there is a good amount of shooting as well. Think of a gatling gun being fired while riding on a fiery steed. Did I not mention the steed? I thought it was obvious that there would be a Horse for the Horseman to ride. Your my-little-pony from hell is named Ruin and he can do some crazy moves. In one level, you cut open a giant worm and Ruin runs into his stomach and explodes like a suicide bomber who really likes his job. And then the horse comes back like nothing happened. Neigh.

While the game's main focus is on combat, there are some very DMC-like puzzles to be found everywhere that you'll have to solve to get from place to place. As stated previously, this is an open world, and as you gain more of your powers back, many places will be unlocked on your road to redemption.

Darksiders looks to have elements from classic games like Zelda and God of War but mixes them in a completely new way that has not been seen before. Will the horseman ride off into the sunset triumphantly like westerns of old or will he get his ass handed to him and be sent back to the abyss from which he came? You'll be able to find next year when Darksiders: The Wrath of War hit shelves.

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