Moving War around the world is straight forward as the control scheme is very tight. Movement and looking is bound to the thumbsticks in the usual manner with the A button handling the jumping, the X button handling attacking with your sword, the B button handling interacting with the world, and the Y button serving as your alternative fire. The right bumper allows War to dash in one direction of block an incoming attack while the left bumper serves as a modifier to determine which ability War can use.
The tricky part comes when you want to use the Crossblade, a four bladed boomerang that War can use to solve puzzles and attack multiple enemies at once with. You can just blindly throw it by pulling the right trigger or you can enter the aiming mode by pushing down the right stick and then charge your attack and aim at the enemy in your cross hairs. If you really want to get fancy you can hold down the left thumbstick and select multiple enemies by hovering the cross hairs over them. Once you release the right thumbstick the Crossblade will then work it's way through the enemies you've selected. For some reason this took my mind a bit of time to work around as my fingers had some difficulty mastering this very important skill.
The combat in Darksiders forces you to use multiple tactics in order to get through some of the harder areas. For example you need to Crossblade to keep one mini-boss occupied while you take out another in some areas. This forces you to alter your tactics from time to time and prevents the game from being one long button smashing adventure.
The puzzles in the game are also solid. They aren't too tough but some of them do require you to sit down and think about how you approach them. Vigil does a good job of forcing you to keep using new and old skills to solve puzzles. Most of the puzzles are things you've seen before (move item X here to gain access to switch Y) but there are a few original items tucked into the game.
It's worth noting that Darksiders isn't an easy game and if you're looking for a casual experience you should either play through the lowest difficulty level or skip the game entirely and go play some Peggle. The hard core crowd will find a lot to like in Darksiders as there are a lot of good challenges both in the puzzles in the game, some of the heavy combat areas, and the boss fights that are sprinkled throughout. There's an easy 12-16 hrs of game play just in the core story but if you're anal retentive and want to find everything in the game you're looking at at least 25 hrs or so.
I had a hard time coming up with faults in the game as the game has a nice polish to it. The difficulty was a bit frustrating in parts as I lost about an hour trying to defeat the first major boss in the game (it didn't help that the strategy guide THQ provided was wrong about how to defeat her but that's my fault for having to rely on it). The game does have a few odd pacing moments from time to time as you are forced from the main plot line to complete a series of challenge mode style quests. These felt a bit awkward to me for some reason but they do force you to learn specific game mechanics that are required later on in the game.
As I mentioned earlier the writings comic book roots will probably polarize those who didn't grow up on the medium but I did enjoy the writing. Then again I have bins of comics in my basement so maybe I'm not the right person to ask.
Darksiders is a very easy game to recommend to people as it's more than the sum of it's parts. The pace of the game keeps you involved and they folks at Vigil switch the gameplay up as the game progresses to keep you on your toes. There are a few misses in there but I think most people will enjoy their time with the game.
A solid, well written, well executed game. If you're looking for something new and original, Darksiders is your game.
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