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Release Date: 09/23/10
What would you get if you crossed Devil May Cry, God of War and The Legend of Zelda? If you ask the average gamer, the answer would probably be along the lines of “pure awesome”, but it seems like the folks at THQ and developer Vigil Games are banking that it also adds up to “the next big hit”, and after seeing DarkSiders: Wrath of War in action, it seems like it has a good shot.
The game’s story finds the player in a world that is, quite literally, post-apocalyptic. The four horsemen have come, the battle between heaven and hell has ensued, and the population of earth has left the mortal plane. As one of the four horsemen, War did his part as the Book of Revelations played out, but something went wrong, someone screwed him and his comrades over, and now he finds himself stuck on the empty shell that Earth has become, with a bunch of vicious demons mindlessly attacking him at every turn. Now he’s out to discover just what happened, and track down his three riding pals, Death and the newly-renamed Strife and Fury. Yeah... apparently, the game’s designers felt that Pestilence and Famine didn’t sound “hardcore” enough, so what we’re being presented with here is what they’re dubbing “The X-Men version” of the four horsemen.
Anyways, as a guy who’s a living personification of War, the game’s protagonist is a natural when it comes to the kind of badassery we see from characters like Dante and Kratos. His attacks all have a cool flair to them, and he strings combos together with the best of them using his giant blade or one of other various weapons. The developers claim that the player’s final arsenal will have quite a lot of variety, including legendary symbolic weapons like Death’s scythe, some modern-day guns abandoned by humanity, and even some cool, somewhat futuristic weaponry used by the angels and demons in their big Judgment Day battle.
At the same time, the game’s overall structure and pacing has been patterned after the Zelda series, with players transversing two large overworld areas in between dungeons (one in the ruins of a crumbling city, and one in the underworld). Players will have cause to go back to old areas when new weapons give them added maneuverability or a way to work past previously insurmountable obstacles, and War even calls on the help of his horse, Strife, to travel the vast stretches of land between points of interest.
“We really wanted to make a bad ass Zelda”, the Vigil Games folks told us, and during our time talking with them, they repeatedly heaped praise on Miyamoto’s renowned franchise, albeit with one caveat – “not everyone wants to play a girly elf”. So while players may have to use newfound abilities to solve puzzles on occasion, at the same time they’ll be collecting new weaponry and using “souls” they collect from enemies to buy new attacks and combos. Still, because none of the game’s enemies are actually human, the folks at THQ still believe there’s a good chance the game could release with a T rating (although they wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it get slapped with an M).
While the game is still over a year away, it already looks very impressive. In particular, the water and lighting effects look very nice, and War’s animation is superb, with nice flourishes . It should be noted that even the developers admitted that the area they were currently working their way through, a decrepit subway system, was one of the less-impressive ones the game had to offer. Still, it offered a few hints as to what players are in store for – in one area, a mass of vines ferociously attacks anyone attempting to enter, and can only be surpassed once the player pushes a subway car into its clutches, giving it something to grab onto while you slip by. Later on, the player faces up against a massive plant… lizard… thing (sorry, that’s the best description I can give), that the developers informed me was a mid-boss. In some areas, the game even made use of those context-sensitive commands made popular by games like God of War.
When all’s said and done, we only got a short amount of time looking over DarkSiders, and with a tentative release no earlier than late in ’08, it’ll be a while before we get our hands on the final release. Still, what we saw looked fantastic, and we look forward to seeing more of it in the future.
Unfortunately, we only got a brief glimpse of the game, but it’s already shaping up to be a promising action-adventure title, and while it’s still a long way off from release, we can’t wait to see more of it at next year’s E3