At last year’s E3, when THQ first unveiled the third-person action game Darksiders: Wrath of War -- in which you play one of the Four Horsemen after the apocalypse -- the game looked like a rather blatant God of War clone. And maybe it was. But when THQ showed the game off again at an event in Los Angeles earlier this month, Darksiders looked like it had become a God of War clone…that was augmented with some RPG elements, some Devil May Cry-ish shooting, some Tomb Raider climbing, and other gameplay elements in an attempt to make what the developer giving the demo called “a Zelda for adults.”
Whether they’ve succeeded will, of course, have to wait until the game comes out on the PS3 and 360 later this year (though exactly when is unclear since, as a THQ executive put it, they’re not releasing it until it’s really good), but if the demo we saw, and the level we got to play, were any indication, they might just pull it off. Or something almost as good.
The set up for the game is that you’re War, one of the Four Horsemen, and you’ve been blamed for bringing about the apocalypse. But this ain’t a zombie apocalypse, or some human-killing plague apocalypse, this is The Apocalypse, the one foretold in the bible. As a result, you’re on what’s left of Earth, but the place is now overrun with demons.
As for the gameplay, you do a lot of smacking with your sword like a certain deity, and a lot of shooting like a certain pretty boy, but you also have to jump up and mantle across ledges to get places, and have to move large objects around so you can get to other places, where you’ll then smack or shoot more enemies. There are also things in the level you can collect like, well, almost every other game ever made.
The developers said they’re also utilizing an open world approach, and said that you’ll gain and upgrade your weapons and abilities as you go (hence the RPG elements we mentioned), which will allow you do different things when you revisit areas, though it didn’t seem like it was necessary to do this to finish the game. In fact, it seemed more like the open world approach was more about giving you a choice of which mission to do when, as opposed to turning this into Grand Theft Hell.
Regardless, from the bit we got to play, the game seemed like it was going to be a fun one. The controls were tight and responsive, and while there were cool attacks you could do by hitting the right buttons in sequence, we were able to cause a fair bit of damage by just mashing buttons. We’ll see if this holds up when the game comes out…whenever that might be.