We’ve done it, that was the prequel to the other Darksiders games! It felt like the shortest compared to the other three, and my friend was telling me how much he was looking forward to playing it, as was I because I was excited to finally see Strife and what he was like as a Horseman in the early days.
The Abomination Vault novel made him seem serious, but I was wrong about that in this game!
The story takes place just after the battle of Eden, while Death and Fury attend to unknown matters, the Charred Council tasks War and Strife with tracking down the demon lord Lucifer, as they believe he is conspiring to upset the Balance. Their journey begins with them investigating Samael’s fortress, which is under attack by Moloch, another demon lord. Samael however, is not in league with Lucifer and he teams up with them, and Vulgrim to track down other demons working for their mutual enemy.
The gameplay takes a completely different turn with top-down combat, while still with the hack n’ slash mode, like the Diablo games; which I have never played but still. Despite this big change, I still decided to give this game a chance given how much my love for the franchise has grown the past year. One of my Instagram followers told me they refused to play because of this new camera angle the game has, which I think is silly, it’s still Darksiders! Once you get used to it, it’s quite fun and you don’t have to play co-op if you don’t want to, you can switch between War and Strife anytime. War’s abilities have not changed from the first game, except for his new elemental enhancements that can be applied to his sword; my favorite being the vampire-ish one where he spins his sword in front of him, he was definitely my tank in this game.
But, I still tried to play as Strife as much as possible because his abilities are sick, I enjoyed using his Anarchy form, static shot (great for crowd control), and his World Ender wrath ability which I think I overused in some fights. What? It’s powerful and makes a cool sound! Other than that I would switch between Horsemen just when I felt like I wanted to, giving them both a chance to kick some demon butt!
The game is chapter-based this time instead of an open-world approach, so you can go back anytime to each chapter to collect anything you missed that required you to have a certain ability unlocked, plus there’s an arena too which is addictive. I always would play that between chapters or go back go previous chapters to get more collectibles. I didn’t get everything by the time I completed the game, but I think I’d say I got at least more than half.
While the comic-style cutscenes in this game are cool, the subtitles were way off so either don’t enable them or ignore them and the only level I didn’t like was The Horde. There’s an achievement in that level for killing less than five Hellhounds before you defeat their master and no matter how hard I tried to walk past the hounds without them noticing me, they would still see me and get in the way when I was trying to solve the puzzle en route, and the design of the area was just terrible.
But, enough of that, let’s focus on good things like characters!
I liked Strife right away when I met him, his humor is golden in this game, it’s like he’s Deadpool and above is just one of the many examples of banter he has with War. Strife’s trying to make things fun and War’s too serious to even understand a simple knock knock joke! Not only that, but War is shown to be a lot more reckless in this game along with his loyalty. He fails at jokes because they sound more like threats to Strife and the latter is too chill to get angry about it. I’m glad with the choice they made for Strife’s voice, definitely goes with his personality too.
Vulgrim is back, of course and then my pal Samael returns who I missed so much since he wasn’t in the third game, they haven’t changed at all. We also meet a demon named Dis who was trapped inside an artifact Vulgrim made me fetch, why am I not surprised that just like Strife, she is also voiced by a black actor? I always imagined her sounding like the way she is before I met her.
Other than that, we’ve got Abaddon and it looks like this is before he lost his eye, and a couple of lesser demons to fight.
The game took a bit of time get really good for me, it was after defeating Belial and then going to Eden. Once there I met the corrupt angel Astarte who was resurrecting Nephilim on Lucifer’s orders.
Of course, War and Strife aren’t happy about returning to Eden, though the former deems they did what was necessary. But even from a top-down view I can’t see very well what Nephilim grunts look like. Taking Astarte down was so satisfying after she rides circuits around the battlefield, then mocks the Horsemen before War gets angry enough to finish her off!
I met Abaddon not long after, and Samael directed me to take out Dagon next after cutting off Lucifer’s portal to Eden. So Belial was going to corrupt its waters, and now Dagon could make Eden his home which is Lucifer’s gift for serving him. I guess all the boss fights are my favorite moments in the game because it’s when I felt there was the most story progression!
Dagon had the best music when I fought him, it was a wet n’ wild battle, that’s really all I can say to describe it, but it was still fun.
There have also been times when I saw Strife show a more sensitive side in this game, I guess that is where he started to mature a little.
See, this is why I like Samael, he’s my best bud in this series, even if he helps the Horsemen for his own gain or it unknowingly results in helping the enemy. Some people want a game where you can play as Samael, but I have no idea how that would work!
This is when he joins War and Strife against Moloch, the last demon standing between them and Lucifer since he’s out for revenge for him attacking his fortress.
Moloch is our final boss in this game, I love how he is voiced by Keith David but he wasn’t so tough to fight. I think that’s because I bought every upgrade and ability from Vulgrim and Dis before I even got to this fight. All it took was some crystal-smashing and beam shooting to bring him down. He’s a proud demon though who reveals that we already helped Lucifer succeed with his plan, so he’s like a secondary antagonist.
Lucifer on the other hand, there still isn’t much I know about him after playing all these games. His face is never revealed, but now I know that that was him Lilith was talking to in the post-credits scenes from the second and third games, since this game reveals they were working together. He also has an ability to possess other demons and even humans in the final scene on Earth and that his plan all along was to corrupt humanity using the Animus. I don’t see how this ties to the Council’s scheme to get rid of the Horseman which they executed as soon as they discovered what Abaddon had done. Funny, the post-credits scene in this game shows the forging of the seven seals and ends with a look Abaddon is giving like he’s plotting something. That was definitely Lilith talking to him that led to him becoming the Destroyer!
That is why I think we need another game that puts everything together on Lucifer’s plans and the Charred Council’s. The pieces of the puzzle are literally almost all in place, so a game that continues forward after Abaddon is killed, maybe one where we can play as Strife and return to the first-person hack n’ slash gameplay.
This game didn’t feel as exciting as the other three, but it still had its moments and I loved this series so much no matter how many puzzles and boss fights it put me through, the latter was more enjoyable for me (I think I will write a post about my favorite bosses), therefore I have added it to my list of re-playable game series that I will always come back to. This is a great honor that is rarely given.
Oh yes, I shall add my grade for this prequel of a game.
In the meantime, there are some other series on that list I want to revisit, but first, I want to tackle some more games on the backlog both big and small.