The original Darksiders was a really great surprise. When it was released in 2010, Twilight Princess was four years old and Skyward Sword was still a year away.
Why the references to Zelda?
Darksiders was and remains a loving homage to Nintendo’s franchise. Players play as War, one of the four horsemen, who is accused of causing the apocalypse and prematurely bringing about the end of days.
Darksiders Warmastered Review
Stripped of all his powers, War is sent back to a decimated earth 100 years after the apocalypse, to clear his name. In classic Legend of Zelda fashion, War travels to a number of locations, collects items, upgrades and weapons, fights enemies and unlocks new ways to travel and fight.
Yet, while the exploration, puzzle solving and progression are all based on the Zelda formula, combat honours a different franchise; God of War. We’re talking pre-PS4 God of War here. War is able to perform all manner of combos, juggles, finishers and ability-based attacks to tear apart the swarms of baddies.
Since its release, the series has added two games; Darksiders II and Darksiders III. All three games are thematically and narratively linked, however, the gameplay has changed for each release. While the sequels are decent in their own right, Darksiders remains the best game in the franchise.
War! What is it Good For?
Darksiders Warmastered is a remastered version of the game and was originally released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2016 and Wii U in 2017. It’s now being brought to Switch by THQ Nordic and it might be the best version of them all.
It’s not the most visually impressive, nor is it the best performing; the PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions have the Switch beat in that regard. No, what makes Darksiders Warmastered on Switch the best is the Switch itself.
Once again, the portability of the Switch and the smaller screen, that hides imperfections, makes playing Darksiders Warmastered in handheld mode excellent. Even during the often intense and visually busy combat, Darksiders Warmastered on Switch, in handheld mode, is easy to follow and great to play.
You can, of course, play Darksiders Warmastered on your Switch in docked mode, but if you’re going to play it on a TV, you might as well get the cheaper and better versions available on PS4 and Xbox One. The reason, THE ONLY REASON to play on Switch is for portability.
Despite being nearly 10 years old, the visuals in Darksiders Warmastered have held up surprisingly well. This is due to the excellent design work by comic book artist Joe Madureira and the translation of that work from hand-drawn to 3D renders. It’s colourful, larger than life and also simple enough that it doesn’t lose any fidelity through the remastering process.
The world still looks destroyed and abandoned in the early stages, yet lush, green and beautiful the further you explore. Textures are crisp and especially so in handheld mode and every visual element comes together in a satisfying way. Even with all of the HUD features of Darksiders Warmastered, the Switch screen never feels cluttered, which is a real win for the game.
Old But Good
Gameplay in Darksiders Warmastered also still hold up today. War is weightier and slower than either Death or Fury and his combat style and mechanics are deliberate and measured. War is easily the most likable and relatable character in the series and it’s far more enjoyable playing as him than his horseman comrades.
Not everything about Darksiders Warmastered is good though. Platforming sections are really dated and lots of the game can feel empty as it wasn’t possible to render a bunch of characters on-screen back in 2010. You’ll also have to do lots and lots of backtracking, which after a while, starts to grate.
It’s the nature of the genre though and Darksiders Warmastered will keep you occupied for 15-20 hours. That’s a good number of trips to and from work or a few seasons worth of terrible TV you don’t want to watch with your partner.
Sure, it’s an old game and it’s been released and re-released a few times but on Switch, Darksiders Warmastered truly shines brighter than ever before.
Darksiders Warmastered was reviewed on Switch using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Darksiders Warmastered