Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I took a walk on the dark side

Just finished Darksiders and really enjoyed it. You play War, horseman of the Apocalypse, looking for vengeance after he has been framed for the premature roll out of Armageddon. With great post apocalyptic artwork, hordes of demons to slay, loot to collect, monstrous bosses to overcome and puzzles aplenty to solve this game has something for everyone. Some critics have accused the game of being a rip off combination of Zelda and God of War but not being a seasoned action adventure gamer it was fresh and new to me and I thought it was great (even though I did spot some borrowings from Guild Wars and also from Portal).

Third person action adventure games often don't transfer well to the PC because of the control scheme but I am pleased to report that the mouse and keyboard controls are very good in this case. Half way through the game I invested in an Xbox 360 controller so I managed to compare both control schemes. Movement is definitely easier with the controller but aiming is far better with mouse than with a controller. The net result is that combat is better with the controller but many of the puzzle parts of the game (which require precise aiming) are actually better with mouse and keyboard. It's a reasonable trade off with the controller just shading it overall.

As an action adventure noob I was worried that I might hit a difficulty brick wall that my middle aged reflexes would not be able to climb. Happily this turned out not to be the case. Playing on normal I found the going easy enough in general and the boss fights tend to depend on finding the right strategy rather than lightning reflexes. The game is made considerably easier by War's huge late game health pool and by the ability to carry multiple potions which fully replenish it. A word of warning - get in to the habit of always carrying a few spare health potions even though you don't need them for most fights. I made the mistake of tackling a nasty spider boss without any pots and with no way to go back and replenish them. I had to replay the battle over and over, losing out by seconds every time until I finally succeeded. A single health pot would have made all the difference.

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