Developer: Gunfire Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: November 27th, 2018
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Much like Darksiders 2, the story is set between the events of the first game when War was imprisoned for his role in triggering the apocalypse early. Fury, the third Horsemen, is summoned by the Charred Council and tasked with the mission to recapture the Seven Sins and prevent them from wreaking any more havoc upon the Earth. What’s best about the story is that as Fury is often baited by the Seven Sins, it’s more of a journey of self discovery as Fury learns more about herself and her role in the future. Story telling is well done and the pacing is on point. There was a twist at the end that I honestly didn’t expect and the finale was amazing. It only served to get me hyped up for Darksiders 4 and finally getting the chance to see the final horseman Strife in action.
Darksiders 3 still plays a lot like a Darksiders title but you can see the obvious influences games like Dark Souls had over this latest entry. New abilities like Fury’s Flame Hollow are still unlocked as you progress through the game defeating the Seven Sins. Using souls collected from your fallen enemies, Fury can level herself up with the help of the demon merchant Vulgrim. Fury will lose all her souls when she dies though and be sent back to Vulgrim. This is one of the few influences Dark Souls had over Darksiders 3. Weapon upgrading and item collecting are also similar to Dark Souls but that’s about where the comparisons end. Fury will also always be able to recover her lost souls no matter how many times she dies. They’re never permanently lost which is nice.
The combat is honestly the best part of Darksiders 3. Scorn is a wonderfully fun weapon and probably the best example of how to do a whip in video games to date. Fury has two ways to deal damage: Physical and Arcane. Physical comes in the form attacking, while Arcane damage is dished out in the way of countering your opponents attacks with a “Perfect Dodge”. Perfectly timed dodging is the key to absolutely dominating the forces of Heaven and Hell. One boss I won’t spoil rocked me the first time I fought him but during the second round, I managed to dodge just about 90% of his attacks, hitting him with tons of Arcane damage and went most of the fight untouched. Players have access to more than just a whip as well. As you unlock new Hollow forms, Fury gains access to new weapons and they can all be upgraded to hit harder and equipped with special enhancements to provide special perks to Fury. While the whip is the main version of Scorn and the one you’ll use the most, every other hollow weapon comes with it’s own set of combos and a special attack. Fury can also unleash a devastating wrath attack or use havoc form to regenerate her health and dish out some crowd control when in a tight spot.
The biggest flaw that Darksiders 3 has is on a technical level. Despite being fun and engaging, the combat is held back by the wonky and inconsistent frame rate. It’s never enough of an issue to ruin the experience but it is a problem that’s persistent enough to constantly remind you of the game’s shortcomings. Meanwhile, the targeting system is unreliable and the camera can be frustrating in close quarters. Beyond all of that fun stuff, the game is full of obnoxious bugs and audio issues. I had the game crash on me after fighting with the sin, Avarice. The game didn’t save and crashed immediately after the cutscene. After my second victory, I experienced an infinite loading screen while loading the cutscene and had to beat Avarice for a third time to finally progress in the game. One of the last bosses in the game even tricked my console into thinking it was overheating multiple times in the exact same moment of a cutscene forcing it to shutdown. I had to skip the scene to avoid the game shutting down my console.
Graphically Darksiders 3 is nothing to shake a stick at and the HDR has currently been disabled after a recent patch but the artsyle fits into the Darksiders universe perfectly. The bosses all have really wicked designs and Fury’s hollow forms, despite being recolors, all include neat little details. Cissy Jones does an amazing job voicing Fury and really brings the character to life. The game constantly feels like it’s loading though. Turn the camera left or right and you’ll see textures pop into view. Move too fast through an area and the game momentarily pauses so that it can load up the new room. Much like the issue with the frame rate, it’s another constant reminder of the game’s technical limitations.
While the game has a fair share of technical issues, it’s still an enjoyable game to play with challenging, fast paced content and fun world to explore that features a few mildly challenging puzzles. Having been a long time fan of the Darksiders series, I am more than happy to have finally played the third entry into it’s apocalyptic tale. I can only hope that with a little bit of TLC(and maybe a New Game +), Gunfire games can right the ship and set Darksiders 3 on course to the success it deserves.