A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Darksiders is a decidedly violent, bloody game, and is not intended for kids. Play involves the killing of demons, angels, and humans via extraordinarily violent means that see players employ variety of bladed weapons to carve enemies into bloody bits. There is also some obvious sexuality, thanks to at least one demon boss who appears to bare her gigantic, deformed bosom.
What's it about?
Based on the biblical notion of Armageddon, DARKSIDERS puts players in the shoes of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; a burly warrior named War. According to an ancient contract between the kingdoms of Heaven, Hell, and Mankind, War and his three brothers would be summoned to bring an end to the world when seven ancient seals were broken. War arrives on command and begins the end of days, only to realize too late that the seventh seal had not been broken, that he had been tricked and that the Apocalypse had taken place prematurely. His goal becomes restoring balance to the three kingdoms by hacking his way through a decimated world now devoid of humans. Along the way he must slay hundreds of demons (and some angels) in extraordinarily violent ways using a variety of bladed weapons. Its closest analogue would be the God of War games, and it’s easily as graphic. Definitely not for kids.
Is it any good?
Darksiders isn’t particularly original -- some players will find the brawling combat and the way in which War slowly earns his abilities via the souls he collects to be quite familiar -- but it is very competently made and should prove quite satisfying for mature players who enjoy intense, over-the-top action. The graphics are excellent, and the contextual environmental puzzles, which involve throwing switches, pulling objects, and finding special keys, are just the right level of challenging.
If we were to nitpick one thing it would be accessibility. War’s abilities are so multifaceted (he can hover, throw a glaive, use a horn, perform a wide variety of combinations that involve both face and shoulder buttons, and much more) that the controls become difficult to keep straight by the game’s midpoint. Plus, players who have little experience with brawlers may find some of the long and complex boss battles a little too hard. Luckily, waypoints at which War can respawn are very frequent. All in all, it’s a fine adult adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the game depicts the Apocalypse. Given its subject matter, is there anything in the game that might offend religious groups? If your beliefs incorporate the notion of Armageddon, is the hellish world presented here anything like what you have imagined?
Families can also discuss violence in games. Clearly, it helps games sell. But why? What is it about seeing blood and gore that excites and satisfies some players?
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