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Fury, Fun, and occasional Frustration Darksiders III review

Time: 2018-12-17 19:19cheongsam dress Click:

It’s been six years since Darksiders II, and I’m as surprised as the next person that we ever got to see this sequel. THQ folded, Vigil Games followed suit, and the rights to Darksiders were scattered to the wind like ash. Against impossible odds, the team from Vigil Games reassembled to form Gunfire games, and THQ’s assets were snapped up under THQ Nordic — a studio devoted to preserving the best parts of THQ’s portfolio. With this much time between sequels, could the team remember what made the first two games so special?

Darksiders (sorry, my review for the original was lost in a database hiccup), for those who need a refresher, told the story of War. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse serve a group called The Charred Council who served to maintain the balance between heaven and hell, preventing the war from descending to Earth. War finds himself summoned to Earth to begin the endwar that will end the eternal conflict between angels and demons. He finds Abaddon (a general of Heaven’s army) and Straga (a demon Commander) battling in open view of humanity, and believes that the Seventh Seal has been broken. The Council descends upon the Earth, believing that War has unleashed the end of days ahead of schedule and binds the Horseman. War sets off to prove his innocence.

Darksiders II (My original review, and my take on the PS4 version) takes place simultaneously and in an intersecting fashion with Darksiders, with its central protagonist being the Horseman Death. Death, in an effort to prove his brother War’s innocence, sets out to restore Earth and reverse the opening of the Seventh Seal. By freeing the Forge Lands and the Land of the Dead from corruption, he also prepares for war with the seemingly-corrupt Charred Council.

Darksiders III also takes place parallel with the events of the first game, only this time the protagonist is Fury. Fury’s motivations are less pure than Death, looking to take her place as leader of the Four Horseman. Ultimately, she will also begrudgingly take on proving her brother’s innocence as long as she gets what she wants. Her path is certainly more of a direct one — she intends to destroy the physical embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins, once again under the direction of the Charred Council.

Fury isn’t alone in her fight to destroy the Sins. Eventually she runs into a powerful creature named the Lord of Hollows. This monstrous creature appears to hold the Ark of the Covenant chained to his back, and seemingly has more power than Fury, even at her strongest. His motivations are as unclear as those of the Charred Council, but he is willing to provide Fury with the powers needed to slay the Seven, thus restoring order and balance to the Earth.

As this is the third game in the franchise, you’d expect it to be iterative. The first game was an action title with a Zelda-like progression system where you’d use objects and powers to unlock new areas and paths. The second game added to this formula with a loot system whereby Death could earn new scythes, armor, talismans, gloves, axes, and more. Reviews, including mine, praised this new system. For reasons I cannot explain, the team at Gunfire Games discarded this entirely. Going back to a pure action model, the powers and gear you obtain are often a result of boss battle. You’ll unlock various “forms” for Fury that enable her to leap high into the air, traverse lava unharmed, float via lightning, smash and traverse crystalline structures, and even suspend objects in space. The Hollow powers, Flame, Force, Storm, and Stasis can be switched at will, providing opportunities for some additional strategic elements when facing difficult foes, but I’ll freely admit that I preferred the more RPG-centric approach of Darksiders II over the action-heavy focus of this installment.

Alongside these forms comes new weapons to augment the Barbs of Scorn — Fury’s whips. The Chains of Scorn weapon provides a pair of flails that unleash fire-based high-speed attacks, whereas the Lance of Scorn gives Fury a lightning spear for rapid stabbing in a straight line at mid-range. The next major weapon, bound to Fury’s Force Form, is a massive sledgehammer called the Mallet of Scorn. Slow and powerful, as you might expect, it is devastating, if you can get it to connect, eradicating enemy armor on larger foes. The final weapon is the Edge of Scorn — a dual blade tied to the Stasis form. It’s able to slow foes in their tracks. To help Fury deal with the myriad of foes that have ranged attacks when she does not, she’ll eventually be granted access to the crossblade (read: chakram) called Salvation that can tag up to four targets. You can imbue them with Hallow’s power, enabling a whole new puzzle solving verticality, as well as a mid-combat interrupt that helps even the odds a bit. All of these provide different ways of engaging the enemy, which is fantastic…so why am I so aggravated by all of it? Put simply, it’s nearly 2019, and the amount of grinding is too damned high!

As the randomization element for equipment drops has been supplanted, you’ll eventually have access to these five weapons (minus a brief moment where you can wield a puzzle-element sword) as you acquire your various powers. These weapons then have to be upgraded by gathering specific shards, splinters, pieces or chunks of adamantium. You find these upgrade elements by killing innumerable foes, and by exploring, but mostly with the killing. So much killing. And you’ll need to do even more killing than that as Fury’s powers need souls to level up.

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