Darksiders III

Darksiders III - Hands-On Impressions

Darksiders is back with a new horse(wo)man of the Apocalypse and we played it at Gamescom.

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Last time we saw a game in the Darksiders franchise was the year of the "end of Mayan calendar apocalypse", 2012 - fitting indeed. Even though the end of the world wasn't quite as close as some assumed a lot has changed since then, Darksiders included. We got to play as the female horseman at Gamescom and feel a need to put pen to paper (or in this case fingers to keyboard) and write some impressions down.

Following the presentation, the team multitasked so while an interview was conducted we also got to play the demo ourselves. We were dropped down into what seemed to be an abandoned town as the new horseman (or horsewoman in this case); Fury. The violet-haired, brutal apocalypse fueled lady of the four quickly showed off her acrobatic fighting skills and as we had just seen the developers play it earlier we were ready to kick some minion ass. The minions in question started closing in on all sides so we held the right trigger to lock in on an enemy and the X button on the Xbox One controller, resulting in some fluid spin attacks (tapping it focused more on one targeted enemy), sending the surrounding enemies to their grave (or wherever hellspawn of the apocalypse go when they get annihilated).

Fury wields a razor wire whip of sorts, with violet razors matching her locks (the lady knows how to accessorise) and a badass acrobatic move set in her apocalyptic arsenal. As you move across the various battlefields Fury shows off useful double jumps, whip slashings, flawless (if you time them right) dodges and whip swings, making her an expert demon exterminator. The most interesting skill is her dodge, a skill unique to Fury in the realm of the four (at least until the fourth proves us wrong on that). When pressing the controller's right bumper Fury somersaults to the side, dodging whatever's in front of her - straightforward enough; but timing the action perfectly results in a perfect dodge. Executing one of these slows down the combat, making it easier to not only get out of the way but to bring the pain. We have to say that getting a perfect dodge here and there made us feel really good about ourselves too, so there's that.

Other than the physical skills, Fury is also a wielder of powerful magic. We did not get to kick ass in hollow form (Fury's elemental ability) but we know these hollows give her a different set of abilities, fire being the one most shown with it's levitating extended jump upgrade, it's lava invulnerability upgrade and the new weapon type for Fury to use.

Darksiders III

For upgrades, the player picks up orbs and items to upgrade skills - easy peasy. Sadly we didn't get to see any of these upgrades either but we're sure they'll help the player out as he/she strolls through the apocalyptic wasteland. At Gamescom, we did, however, get to banish one of the seven deadly sins to the depths of hell. At E3 they showed the fight with Wrath and this time around we faced Envy - an ugly creature resembling a decaying bird without wings (don't ask, look at the picture above) with an erratic move set, sending devastating shockwaves when dropping down (also using this as an escape from incoming attacks), quick slashes and what we assume was an escape tactic with Envy levitating high up in the confined tower like area, forcing us to climb and swing our way up there to slash her down. After a bunch of perfect dodges Envy dropped dead and we were praised for killing the bastard on the first try (not necessary to note, but just give me this, guys).

After the boss fight we were told the seven could be tracked in the interlinked yet linear world with the help of an artifact and our spirit guide and since the game doesn't have a map system but instead a landmark navigation one, we're guessing this is a crucial feature for those not wanting to roam aimlessly.

Will we be playing as the fourth horseman in the future? Well, we're assuming that's up to the reception of this entry in the franchise and while it's not the most visually stunning game we saw at Gamescom we were definitely captivated by the responsive and fluid gameplay and the Darksiders feel is definitely still there. Fury, the only female horseman feels like a great third protagonist and while War and Death were definitely nimble enough to qualify for Cirque de Soleil in the mortal realm their acrobatics pale in comparison to those of their sister. Darksiders III is definitely a game to keep an eye on this fall.

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REVIEW. Written by Lisa Dahlgren

"It's a lovely game with plenty to do, a well varied and well-designed world, and an equally varied enemy roster, but there are some issues."

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