The law is clear. When the Seventh Seal is broken, Four Horsemen shall ride forth to punish the wicked. Whether Sons of Men, Lords of Heaven, or the Dregs of Hell, those on Earth will be judged and the pact that serves to protect order and balance forged anew. The problem is that War – the first Horseman of the Apocalypse – has been deceived into bringing about the end of the world early. (And no, I’m not talking about Brexit.)
That results in the demonic forces of Hell slaughtering the winged Angels that descend from Heaven to claim the Earth as their own. War stands before the sacred Charred Council to be accused of his crimes, but stripped of his powers, denies their claims and asks to be returned to punish those that are responsible. They accept but that comes at a price, bounding The Watcher – voiced by Mark Hamill’s menacing tones no less – to the Horseman, observing him in his quest for vindication.
The original game is nearly a decade old at this point, but, after THQ Nordic had acquired it, War was summoned once more to the battleground in Darksiders Warmastered Edition. PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and even Wii U, players can now set out to seek vengeance in this third-person action-adventure on Nintendo Switch.
You return to Earth after a century has passed, and must explore the war-torn planet in your search for answers. That quest will see you brave demon-infested dungeons, deduce the solution to mind-bending puzzles, topple gargantuan bosses, and deal with whatever else Vigil Games wanted to throw in the player’s direction. The world and dungeon design have been structurally likened to those in The Legend of Zelda series, while the combo-building combat with its execution attacks has been compared to games such as Devil May Cry and God of War.
It’s hard to deny those comparisons, but I would be quick to add that Darksiders Warmastered Edition manages to make its own mark. That is largely thanks in part to Joe Madureira’s comic book-infused character designs and world-building, but also an experience that continues to broaden as you progress. The combat feels engaging but monotonous to start, but soon you will unlock new attack moves, the scythe, and ranged weapons to make it far less one-note. And trekking the decimated world is slow and mundane at first, but then you unlock the Shadowflight skill to cross bubbling lava chasms, a chain to pull yourself to specific points, and the chance to gallop around on War’s horse, Ruin.
The Nintendo Switch port has a welcome addition in two performance modes – High Quality and High Performance – that you can freely swap between. The choices are essentially having improved resolution and textures at a lower frame rate, or reduced resolution and textures at a higher frame rate. It’s left to you to decide which you prefer, and the best part is that the two options are available in both Handheld mode and TV mode when docked. There are some momentary technical hiccups in performance, but, after playing the opening hour on Xbox One X to compare, these aren’t specific to Nintendo Switch.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition remains as gloriously apocalyptic an adventure on Nintendo Switch as it ever was. With the added chance to battle Heaven and Hell whenever and wherever you like, it comes as an easy recommendation. Not only does it have an impulse purchase-inducing budget price point, but, especially for those that haven’t played it before, it will scratch that Zelda itch until Link’s next adventure arrives.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by THQ Nordic