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 III is a third-person action game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Players take on the role of Fury, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as she wanders about an urban wasteland strewn with ruins and bodies. She fights fantastical creatures such as angels and demons using magical melee weapons including a whip, flail, and spear. Enemies bleed when struck, cry out in pain, and eventually disappear after being defeated. The story draws from Christian lore and mythology -- for example, the seven deadly sins are given physical form -- but doesn't preach religion. Though Fury's the protagonist, she doesn't conform to the norms of a traditional hero. She's always angry, eager to fight, cares little for humans, and is self-interested -- though she does eventually become aware of and feel some shame in her flaws. Be aware, too, that this is a challenging game that could frustrate players who don't enjoy losing to the same boss multiple times or being pushed back to distant save points when they fail.
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What's it about?
After putting players in the boots of War and Death in previous games, DARKSIDERS III brings us back to the apocalypse in the role of another of the Four Horsemen: Fury. She's summoned to Earth -- a wasteland of skyscrapers and human bodies -- to fight not just the angels and demons there, but also the Seven Deadly Sins, all of whom have taken physical form to relish the chaos of Armageddon. She must destroy each of them -- resisting tempting offers and making shaky alliances along the way -- to fulfill her duty as a Horseman. As she beats these creatures, she'll gain abilities, and earn souls from defeating minions, which she can use to power up her weapons and stats. In addition to fighting, she also encounters occasional environment-based puzzles that force players to use her abilities in out-of-the-box ways, such as clearing a series of regenerating spider-webs with properly timed flames and explosions.
Is it any good?
It's not as slick as other action games from larger studios with bigger budgets, but this adventure delivers enough old-school fun for players looking for a challenge. Darksiders III's telling of the lone female Horseman's tale progresses the series' mythology nicely. It gives more information about the now-ruined balance between the forces of Heaven and Hell while introducing some memorable new villains in the form of the Seven Deadly Sins. Fury starts off on the unlikeable side, but she becomes more reflective and sympathetic as the game progresses. And while the world she explores may not be up to the graphical standards of its peers -- not much imagination has been put into details such as posters, cars, and architecture -- the ruins and rubble successfully convey a sense of desolation and post-human emptiness.
On the subject of peers, avid gamers will likely notice plenty of similarities shared with other popular action series, including God of War and Dark Souls. The designers clearly aren't afraid to let their influences show. That said, the combat's still fun and satisfying, mostly because it requires a good deal of skill, even on the easiest difficulty setting. There are also more original mechanics and elements, like Fury's ability to switch Hollows. This changes the color of her glowing hair and gives her new powers both in battle and in how she moves around the world. These powers mesh well with those that have been borrowed from other games. Boss battles can perhaps be a little too unforgiving at times, and environment-based traversal puzzles provide so few clues that it's easy to get stuck wondering how to proceed for lengthy periods of time, but players looking for a little challenge and a subtly retro vibe will probably have plenty of fun -- especially if they've played the first two entries in the series and want to see how everything ends. Darksiders III doesn't push any boundaries, but it's fun, and sometimes that's all a game needs to be.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in Darksiders III affected by the fact that you're fighting against demons instead of humans? Would the impact be intensified if you were fighting people?
Do you think Fury's an example of a powerful, liberated female character? Does her armor -- which includes high heels and a molded breast plate -- detract from her strength, or simply express her style and independence?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: THQ Nordic
- Release date: November 27, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.