By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on December 3, 2018
First, we obliterated both demons and angels alike as the mighty War. After that, we assumed the role of Death and kept the carnage going. And now it's about time that we don the mantle or, in this case, the tight leather and armor-plated catsuit of yet another one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Well, they are called the horsemen, but this third one undeniably, unequivocally falls in the female category... Time for Darksiders III!
In Darksiders III, we assume the role of Fury, the first ever female protagonist in the Darksiders series and the third of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She can best be described as feisty, short-tempered and somewhat ill-mannered, but she definitely gets the job done. as long as that job is obliterating demons, angels and other mysterious creatures. When we meet Fury, she is bored out of her skull while waiting for the apocalypse, accompanied by her only friend, her trusty steed Rampage. Then suddenly, she hears the call and travels to the Charred Council, the highest power in the entire universe and masters of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
When she arrives at the council, she finds her brother, War, chained to a rock and accused of breaking the seventh seal, thus unleashing the apocalypse upon the world. The other two Horsemen, Death and Strife, are nowhere to be found with Death trying to prove War's innocence and Strife 'attending to other matters'. Being the impatient Horseman she is, Fury is keen on riding out for the Apocalypse, but the Council gives her a different set of orders. It seems the Seven Deadly Sins have escaped the council's prison and roam the world freely. It is Fury's job to track down and capture these sins and bring them to justice, to which she grudgingly agrees. Before she sets out, the council assigns a Watcher to Fury, who will accompany her on her quest.
A short ethereal trip later, we find ourselves in Haven, the last known location of the first Deadly Sin: Envy and the last somewhat safe place for the human race. Fury searches out Envy and takes her first steps on what will be a grand adventure. To decimate the hordes of enemies she will encounter on her journey, Fury starts out wielding a mighty whip, the aptly named Barbs of Scorn. Now, this is no mere leather whip, but a steel, bladed whip with which she can tear her enemies to pieces. As far as her fighting style is concerned, Fury is more reminiscent of Death, utilizing an array of agile attacks, than of the lumbering force that we've seen while playing as her brother War in the first Darksiders game.
Like in previous Darksiders games, when an enemy is killed, it drops its soul. These souls come in different colors, each of these having a different effect. Some souls replenish Fury's health, while others fill her wrath meter, and so on, and so on. Of course, these souls can also act as currency and can be spend whenever we come across everyone's favorite Demon merchant: Vulgrim. Throughout our adventure, we also regularly come across crystals containing souls. These crystals can be smashed in our inventory, which results in us having even more souls to spend. Whenever we come across Vulgrim, we can either buy stuff using these souls, or feed them to the soul-hungry demon in order to gain much needed upgrade points. With these points, we can upgrade Fury's health, strength or arcane power to suit whichever play style you fancy.
Apart from Fury herself, her weapons can also be upgraded using ingredients, which we will find during our travels. And while Fury starts off with just her whip, other weapons will be added to her arsenal over time. Okay, so we have an upgradeable character and weapons, but is that all? No, it damn well isn't! After a while, we meet the master of the Hollows, who provides us with our very first Hollow form, which also comes with a handy Hollow power. With every Hollow form we collect after this initial one, Fury's battle capabilities keep on growing, slowly transforming her into a lean, mean hacking and slashing machine. Now, usually, this means that the enemies that could do some serious damage at the start of the game, become a minor nuisance and the only serious threat comes from new, stronger enemies.
This is where Darksiders III takes things in another direction. As your power grows, so does the power of every damn enemy you encounter. So, the same enemies that were pretty much able to give you hell at the beginning of the game, keep doing so for the entire ride. Now, although I'm anything but opposed to a decent challenge, this is not really my cup of tea. It kind of makes me miss that wonderful feeling of being almost untouchable and somewhat invincible until the next new type of enemy comes along and puts me back in my place. I love that feeling in a video game and do quite miss it when it's not there. It's sort of like taking a few painkillers to keep your hangover in check, only to discover that the hangover just keeps getting stronger with every pill you take.
Nevertheless, this does not detract from the fun there is to be had hacking and slashing your way through enemy forces. It just means you'll have to be that extra bit more careful when entering any conflict. It is no use running headlong into any fight and start mashing your attack buttons. Although this is also hugely fun, it will mostly mean that your enemies will beat you into a bloody pulp. The far better choice would be to make sure that you're not completely surrounded by your enemies and finish them off in a more controlled manner. At first, this may seem like a strange thing to do in a Darksiders game, but once you get used to it, the glorious dismemberment really takes off in all its blood-drenched glory!
Now, no matter how much fun dismembering enemies is, it is always good to intersperse it with something less hectic from time to time. This is where the puzzles come in. Along the way, Fury will have to solve a number of (mostly environmental) puzzles before she can continue her quest. These puzzles can usually be solved by utilizing her Hollow forms and by using her whip as a tool to reach places a normal jump couldn't get her into. It's this change of pace that balances out the overall gameplay and gives you thumbs their much needed rest in-between battles.
I have always liked the somewhat cartoonish visual style of the Darksiders games and was glad to see that Darksiders III continued this fine tradition. Sure, there are better and more realistic looking games out there, but do these also games deliver the same high energy, comic book style hack and slash gameplay that the Darksiders games are well-known for delivering? My point exactly! The developers have managed to, once again, create a cool-looking world filled with dangerous enemies, a decent story and excellent hack 'n slash gameplay.
I actually had a lot of fun playing Darksiders III! I've always had a soft spot for the series and this game is a nice addition to it. Darksiders looks the part and handles beautifully. Fury herself is a fun character to play and a nice deviation from the protagonists of the first two games. So, do you know the expression: "Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned"? Well, now you can finally see if that still holds true. Unleash your inner Fury and show those demons and angels exactly how much damage one scorned woman can do!