Darksiders III Review PS4

good
key review info
  • Game: Darksiders III
  • Platform: Playstation 4
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The four horsemen

After a lengthy hiatus, the Darksiders series is back, thanks to Gunfire Games and THQ Nordic, two companies that took up the reigns of the series after the demise of original developer Vigil Games and publisher THQ.

Starring a new rider of the Apocalypse, in the form of Fury, the experience promises the same clever mix of role-playing mechanics with hack-and-slash fighting and open world exploration that made previous titles a hit with many different players.

So, does Darksiders III prove worthy of the name or should Fury keep on riding her horse out of the gaming landscape? Let’s find out.

Fury and her horse
A Watcher joins you
Fighting Envy
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Story

The Darksiders series made a splash with its own interpretation of the biblical story of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. After seeing War begin the end of the world in the first game, and Death try to bring back humanity in the second one, players control Fury, the first female rider.

While she is supposed to replace Famine from the biblical story, Fury is very much her own unique character. Being the only female of the group, as well as the youngest, she is fiery, aggressive, and always ready with a sarcastic comeback. This can become a bit irritating at first but, as the story unfolds, you’ll slowly see her façade fade away, as she does care about the world as a whole and her brothers in particular.

In terms of actual plot, the action takes place during the initial game, after War starts the Apocalypse but before he is sent to Earth to find out the truth about it. Fury is tasked by the Charred Council, a group seemingly focused on keeping balance in the universe, to hunt down the seven deadly sins that are wreaking havoc upon our world.

Along the way, Fury meets up with new characters as well as returning faces, such as Vulgrim, a demon more interested in good old capitalism than the destruction of the world, who acts as your merchant for upgrades, items, and more. All the characters are pretty fleshed out but the game does throw quite a lot of lore details right at the beginning, so new players may feel confused if they didn’t already go through the first two titles in the series.

Hunting the seven sins is a pretty interesting experience, as they’re all unique interpretations of their themes, from Pride being a stuck up that wants to be battled last, to Avarice being a hoarder that fights you with everything he can get his claws on. As you go through the main targets, you’ll uncover more about the powerful beings behind the Apocalypse, so fans of the lore will certainly enjoy the journey as well as regular fans.

Gameplay

The first Darksiders combined hack and slash gameplay with open world adventure, while the second title had a more action role-playing vibe thanks to its myriad of weapons. Darksiders III strikes a balance between the two, but does add a big helping of difficulty.

Even if Fury is supposed to be a rider of the Apocalypse with strength that’s surpassed only by War, the enemies she encounters in her journey are also extremely tough and deadly. Even on the lowest difficulty, the so-called “Story” one, you will probably die a lot if you rush into battles or forget to play defensively.

Much like titles in the Dark Souls series, evading enemy attacks is essential, as it not only keeps you from taking damage, but it also enables Fury to unleash more powerful attacks, when timed correctly. Unfortunately, while this does sound good in theory, in practice the enemies you face are relentless in their mobility and their attack animations are much faster than your own. Throw in the camera that’s a bit unwieldy as well as some zones that throw in not just melee foes but also long-range ones that harass you from afar, and you won’t have that much fun.

Darksiders III does make it easier to access items during combat, thanks to a consumable hotkey that can lets you heal yourself, improve damage dealt, increase damage resistance, or inflict more powerful attacks to enemies in melee range. This doesn’t always feel like enough, however, as animations for consuming these items are a bit too long, leaving you exposed to attacks.

Fight big enemies
Flame form
Earn new items
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In combat, you’ll find yourself using Fury’s whip, which in theory should make disposing enemies that swarm around you easy but, in practice, it doesn’t have the range and area of effect that you may expect from its animations. As you progress, you’ll unlock elemental forms that come with their own secondary weapons, which help you deal a bit more easily with specific enemies. When you face off against bigger foes, you can use the aforementioned elemental forms and, when you have enough wrath, use the Havoc form to deal even more damage.

The game isn’t just about fighting, however, as you must also explore a pretty big open world and solve puzzles to advance to new areas. The actual movement mechanics still have weight behind them, much like previous titles, but the platforming is a bit hit or miss sometimes, which can make traversing some environments a bit annoying.

The actual puzzles are pretty good but some require almost perfect timing, which can also get irritating. Much like Darksiders 1, you will often see zones of the world that can’t be accessed until you unlock new elemental forms, so exploration is certainly needed if you want to see everything it has to offer.

Upgrades work again much like the first game. As you vanquish foes, you earn souls which are then exchanged by Vulgrim for attribute points, which can then be spent on upgrading your health, your regular damage, or your arcane damage. You also score materials that can be used to upgrade your weapons, not to mention items that grant your arsenal special effects.

Unfortunately, even with upgrades and a lot of attribute points spent on improving your health, progressing through the game can be tedious due to its difficulty and the enemies that feel quite cheap in their relentless attacks. Fans of tough experiences like Dark Souls may feel right at home but people looking to experience the power of a rider of the Apocalypse won’t find it here, as Fury feels extremely fragile.

Avarice and his hoard
Havoc form in action
The Hollow master
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Graphics and Sound

In terms of visuals, Darksiders III continues the bold yet gritty theme of the previous games. The world feels imposing but, even after the Apocalypse, depicts areas that are war-torn as well as zones that are full of color and life.

However, at least on the PS4 Slim on which I reviewed it, the game has a lot of frame drops, particularly in bigger, open areas. As you progress, you’ll often see the game fully freeze while it loads the next zone, even in the middle of combat. The loading times are also pretty lengthy in general and I had one situation in which, after dying during the Avarice boss fight, the game remained stuck in a black screen.

The sound design is quite good and varied, as the orchestral score lends itself well to the action of the screen. The voice acting is top notch, with characters sounding great in addition to their detailed designs.


The Good

  • Combines great mechanics from previous games
  • Beautiful world with detailed environments
  • Interesting character and boss design
  • Good amount of depth and combat variation

The Bad

  • Way too difficult even on lowest setting
  • Frame drops and even freezes on PS4
  • Platforming doesn't always feel right
  • Enemies swarm and overwhelm Fury

Conclusion

Darksiders III brings the best from the previous games as the story is good, the world is diverse, and the design is detailed. Unfortunately, its emphasis on difficulty doesn’t match with the promise of controlling Fury, a powerful rider of the Apocalypse. If you have to avoid even the lowliest enemies because they do so much damage, how can you ever bring about the end of the world?

The performance issues on the PS4 and the iffy platforming make the game fall short of reaching the same status as its past entries. All these things may be fixed with future updates but, at least for now, the title can only be recommended to hardcore fans and those looking for a challenge.

story 8
gameplay 7
concept 9
graphics 8
audio 9
multiplayer 0
final rating 7.5
Editor's review
good
 

Darksiders III PS4 Screenshots (24 Images)

The four horsemen
Fury and her horseA Watcher joins youFighting EnvyA ravaged Earth
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