After a week of hacking, slashing and whipping my way back through this post-apocalyptic landscape as the third of the legendary horseman, it’s time to put into words my experience with Fury and her journey. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy this review of Darksiders III.
To say that I’ve been excited about the release of Darksiders III since it was announced would be a severe understatement. As a fan for the first two games in the franchise, I was devastated when it looked like the series would be shelved. However, thanks to THQ Nordic and the good folks over at Gunfire Games, the universe of Darksiders sees the light of day with the third game in the franchise.
Set during the events of the first two games, Fury’s tales give a different perspective on the end of the world as we know it. Tasks with a special mission given to her by the Charred Council, Fury embarks on a mission to kill and then capture the souls of the seven deadly sins. However, shortly into the mission, not all is as it initially appears and much like Death and War, her fellow horsemen, Fury sets out to uncover darker plots that have been set in motion.
As with its predecessors, Darksiders III does an excellent job at presenting an interesting, albeit dark, story. Even after the six-year gap between the release of Darksiders 2 and 3, Gunfire has done a great job at capturing the essence of the storytelling mechanics that work so well in the previous titles while still injecting some fresh new takes on story presentation.
The voice acting and dialog, in particular, are performed and written exceptionally well with the pacing of cutscenes and the aforementioned dialog feeling well timed and placed. It never seemed to slow down combat or exploration and only furthered pulled me into the world I was exploring.
Fury as a character is an interesting offering a much more aggressive and passionate character to play. Voice actress Cissy Jones brings life to the voice of Fury and does an excellent job capturing the wild, unpredictable nature of the character. Some of my favorite moments in the game came from Fury’s responses to other seemingly more powerful characters. Her unpredictable nature leads to some great dialog moments and kept the game entertaining and engaging.
My only real concern with storytelling is that Darksiders III does assume that you have a pretty solid understanding of some of the underlying characters in the game. Don’t misunderstand me, the game does a great job at the beginning of explaining the basic concept of the world, who the Horsemen are, etc, but there were a few times where I actually paused the game so I could do a quick wiki search to look up characters being introduced or referenced in the game. For new players, this could lead to a bit of confusion or even apathy towards what is otherwise a great story being told in a wonderfully crafted world.
With a new Horseman comes a new approach to combat and weapons. In the case of Fury, who wields the shape-changing Scorn (more on that in a moment), combat requires much more patience and timing than in previous installments. More in the vain of a souls game, Darksiders 3 introduces you to more difficult enemies but fewer as well. Gone is the quick slash attacks of Death or the burst damage of War and in their place comes the precise and deadly attacks of Fury.
As mentioned Scorn which by default takes on the form of a whip is Fury’s primary weapon. As Fury ventures through the world, she will gather Hollows. These powerful gems allow Fury to transform into deadly elemental forms and with each element Scorn also takes on new attributes and abilities. With four Hollows to collect, players can expect to have four different forms for Scorn at their disposal. It offers a wide range of options for attacks with some being better for certain enemy types. It’s up to players to learn their enemies attack patterns, strengths, and weaknesses. It adds some interesting elements to combat. However for those that are used to the previous titles be prepared for a bit of a learning curve as you settle into Fury’s play style.
At first, I found the combat changes to be a bit frustrating. As someone who leans more towards the fast-paced action of Darksiders 2, it definitely took a while for me to warm up to this new approach to combat. Having to rely so heavily on my dodge button took some getting used to but with some time and patience, I found that after a few hours combat felt smooth and rhythmic. It’s an adjustment but once the adjustment is made the combat in Darksiders 3 becomes quite enjoyable. Using the aforementioned hallows is key to successful combat, with switching forms as easy as a quick button press allowing for some serious combo builds in combat. This mixed with some powerful magic thanks to the various Hollow forms as well as the signature Havoc form make combat in Darksiders III feel unique and powerful.
The one area I was a bit disappointed in, especially after spending so much time with Darksiders 2, has to do with the RPG mechanics. Darksiders 2 introduced players to some rather robust leveling and progression mechanics in the form of weapon and armor upgrades as well as in other areas. It was a great step forward for the series. Darksiders III, however, feels like a sidestep or even a step back in that regard. Sure, the Hollows offer some really unique combat options and there is, in fact, some progression mechanics for weapons and armors, but overall those systems feel shallow and underdeveloped compared to its predecessors. Thankfully mechanics like the Hallows help flesh out progression and leveling but it would have been nice to see this paired with some of the upgrade systems from the previous Darksiders.