Darksiders III is Taking the Series Down a Dark Souls Path

Darksiders III is Taking the Series Down a Dark Souls Path

Richard Walker

Not that long ago, it looked like the Darksiders series was forever doomed. THQ going belly-up cutting the epic story short before it had a proper chance to really gain momentum. It appeared that War and Death would spell the beginning and the end for Vigil Games' ambitious saga featuring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, until Nordic Games threw the series a lifeline.

Now, under the THQ Nordic label, Gunfire Games – a studio comprising much of the original Darksiders team – has been hard at work developing Darksiders III, an entirely new entry in the series more than six years since the last game first launched. And this time, it's taking the Dark Souls template as a gameplay touchstone, pitting flame-haired protagonist Fury against a plethora of monsters and the ever-looming threat of death sending you back to fight said monsters all over again.

But where Dark Souls and its ilk allow you to rest at bonfires (or whatever) checkpoints are fairly arbitrary (and much too far apart) in Darksiders III, meaning you're never quite sure how far you'll be flung back whenever you end up biting the dust. Upon running your way back to where you came from, you'll be able to retrieve the souls you lost when you died (sound familiar?) and then hopefully make further progress next time. Souls act as your currency, enabling you to purchase items from Vulgrim, or you can feed them to him for an attribute point that can be spent on levelling up your abilities.

A formidable suite of skills that Fury has in her arsenal too, her whip (think SoulCalibur's Ivy) enabling her to swing across chasms, thrash enemies and parry attacks with aplomb. Initially, there's not a huge amount of versatility to Fury's move set, but as you obtain Hollows, like the Flame Hollow we're granted during our hands-on with the game, her range of abilities expand. For instance, a fireball leap that boosts your jumping height significantly unlocks access to new areas, while a charged attack imbues Fury with a devastating ground pound that erupts in a flurry of fireballs.

Apparently, there will be three other Hollows that you'll acquire during your journey through Darksiders III's fantastical realm, which retains the series' Zelda-like framework, but eschews the previous games' core structure in favour of something more akin to, yes, Dark Souls. Fundamentally, Fury's outing still looks and plays like a Darksiders game, however, so anyone who has come this far into the apocalyptic saga shouldn't feel too alienated by this new approach.

Our hands-on also consisted of two different builds of Darksiders III, one with an excitable camera that drunkenly swayed from side-to-side, and a fairly unresponsive dodge manoeuvre, the second (the demo set to be shown at Gamescom), a far tighter, polished version that plays beautifully. Obviously, it’s this second, more advanced build that provides a better indication of how the final product should handle, and the steadying of the camera and the addition of a subtle slow-motion Bayonetta-style evasion move – when you time Fury's dodge correctly – has worked wonders.

Combat feels immediate, gratifying, and smooth in this latter build, but exists at the more hardcore end of the spectrum. Newbies to the hack and slash genre could potentially feel a little out of their depth; Darksiders III isn't exactly the most accessible action game we've played, but it certainly feels rewarding, especially once you get your mitts on the Flame Hollow.

Traversal puzzles also remain part and parcel of the Darksiders formula, our demo requiring giant beetles be fed orange gunk that causes the creature's abdomen to swell, transforming it into an explosive time bomb. When hurled at impassible webbing, the incendiary insects open up the pathway ahead, which is about as basic as puzzles get in Darksiders III. Expect more complex conundrums as you venture deeper into the game's dark depths.

Darksiders III is looking very promising indeed, then, despite the decision to ape the Dark Souls template, it seems like a change of pace that could work well for the series. Personally, I preferred the structure of Wrath of War and Darksiders II, but for anyone with even a passing fancy for FromSoftware's series, Darksiders III is going to seem like an even more enticing prospect. That said, Souls-alike titles, like Code Vein, The Surge and countless others are becoming increasingly prevalent, which could leave Fury's Darksiders outing feeling a tad stale.

Based on what we've played so far, there's certainly room for improvement in Darksiders III, but with combat mechanics that feel robust, detailed, evocative environments, some light puzzling and all of the usual elements you'd expect from a Darksiders game, it looks like Fury's adventure is on the right track. With months to go until the game launches, Darksiders III ought to be the kick-ass return for the series that fans have been patiently waiting for. Otherwise, we'll be Fury-ous.

Darksiders III launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on 27th November 2018.

  • what happened to the original idea of making their games zelda like? dark souls? so they are just going to copy what is popular and call it a day? i can't roll my eyes hard enough.
  • @1. Darksiders is one of my favorite games of all time and I’m with you here on the eye rolling. When it was announced after thq died I was insanely happy. But copying dark souls just is stupid. I will Day 1 it but my hype died a little here
  • THQ Nordic have basically fucked up the franchise then it's a shame THQ went down before they could finish the series because I reckon it would have been one of there gems in the crown.
  • Demons souls merely created a new gameplay style that trancends demons souls itself. It's like the first sandbox game and then other games copy that format. Its pathetic to cry and blame a devopler for "copying" what is now a staple in the list of genres.
  • Instead of copying another game, they should be remastering SpongeBob Battle for Bikini bottom :)
  • So does "Dark Souls Path" means we're gonna die... and die and die again... and then die some more... Well who knows after playing Darksiders 1 and 2 on both PS3 and the PS4 to prepare me for 3... So I guess Darksiders 3 will prepare me to play Dark Souls Trilogy then... only one can hope.
  • Getting kinda sick of "Souls like" games.
  • This looks painfully average. Much like Darksiders 1 was painfully average.
  • Great, that single-handedly killed any interest I had in the game. I can't stand these souls-likes. I want a fun game to play after a frustrating day and no frustration spiral that makes you learn every bloody mob's abilities.
  • Whilst I am a huge DS fan and the style of gameplay, I doubt it will even be remotely similar. Besides, both the Darksiders games are average at best, I enjoyed them, but they are just another simple hack and slash game with a good story. No real stand out features or to die for anything. Sorry to all you Darksiders fans, but is just reheated microwave shit, like most all games now days. New and innovative is pretty much nonexistent.
  • I am so fucking tired of so many games being a Souls-like or rogue-like/lite game.
  • @Eldriken same here man.
  • The game just got a lot better tbh. They made the right move to be like dark souls rather than an easy hack and slash game. People complain about dark souls like games and I don't understand it because years ago everyone bitched about wanting more dark souls games and now that its happening its "too many" Games like these are always fun and challenging so I'm baffled by the gamers that tire over a genre that rejuvenated castlevania/dark souls esq games. Theres thousands of mindless third person and first person shooters yet here we are jaded of games that counter that with innovative takes on the genre itself.
  • And that's just gone from a must buy to a won't buy. If i wanted to play something like Dark Souls... i'd play Dark Souls.
  • Are we calling all hack and slash games souls-like mow?
  • Loved the earlier games because of the Zelda vibes among other things. I was really pleased that this series got a second chance. But them aping Dark Souls feels like the wrong move and I am not at all as hyped anymore.
  • Noooo, I liked how it was before. Not a fan of the Dark Souls style.
  • You need to register before being able to post comments

Game navigation