Cult of the Turtle

Joe Tortuga's musing on life,tech and gaming

Darksiders First Impressions

February 03, 2010

Borderlands plot — at least as far as I’ve gotten into it — is largely non-existent.  I’ve gotten several quests to kill some dudes, and a ghost lady that suggest I should do these quests to kill some dudes.  I’m pretty good at killing dudes, and that seems fun.   Darksiders plot is much more involved, serious, and still involves the developers coming up with some reason for me to kill some dudes.

That’s really a problem, and it didn’t get me very far into the game before I was about to give it up.  I made the conscious decision to return the game on Monday, and that spurred me on to play it a bit more, just to see.   I mean, I wasn’t totally irritated with it, but let’s play the one i’m not keeping for a bit, to eke out the most enjoyment possible.  At least that was my thought, and it’s not the first time I’ve done that.

Now, I was playing it largely because of the buzz from my twitter feed.  Not all of it was good, but the bad stuff wasn’t horrible, and the good thing, the word everyone kept using had me hopeful.  That word? Zelda. In case it’snot obvious from my blog, I happen to like Zelda just a bit.  Not as much as turtles, but hey, everyone has to have priorities.

Saying something is similar to, or reminiscent of Zelda is enough to get me to play it. It’s not enough to get me to gout out and buy it right away, but I’ll play it.  That’s what game rentals and GBoxes are for.

Since I already started talking about the story, let’s recap what I know of it.  Heaven and Hell were fighting a war until another group, the council, showed up and made them stop.  The enforcers of this pact, were the Four Horsemen.   Once they stopped fighting, humans showed up, making for a third kingdom, which would play a pivotal role in the battle.   There’s a typical Armageddon setup, with seven seals after which the four horsemen ride, and Heaven, Hell, and the humans can fight it out.

The game starts with Heaven and Hell fighting, and you, playing the horseman War there to make them stop or something.  I dunno, you fight demons and angels.  You’ve got godlike power… and you’re War.   And the game play is very, God of War. Makes sense, right?

Anyway, you play through a tutorial, and some angels point out that the seventh seal wasn’t broken, so this shouldn’t be happening.  You try to kill the big demon “the Destroyer” and lose all your power in the process.  Then you fade to black.

You wake up in front of the council, stripped of all your power (Don’t you just love games that do this?) and, evidently, the need to redeem yourself for being framed.  Not sure why it matters, as the humans are all dead at this point.  But it’s okay, Mark Hamil will be attached to your wrist, so that you can be annoyed with him.

He’s way way way more annoying than Navi every thought about being in the worst nightmares of Shigeru Miyamoto.  He leads you through a bunch more God of War like tutorials, except for the ones that are like Prince of Persia.  Some of the art looks… very much like Prince of Persia.  I’ve never seen walls with those kinds of gaps in them, but evidently Arabian oases and destroyed metropolises decay in similar ways.  Which is good for people with oversized hands and metal gloves.

Were was I? Oh, plot.

You need to make contact with a demon who will sell you some information for souls. See, the things you kill (mostly zombie-like nothings at this point) drop three kinds of souls.  One is xp, I mean, money.  One is health, and the other wrath or mana.  Hey, but they changed the colors! And they aren’t balls, they’re skulls. Still nothing Zelda-like that I’ve noticed, except for a passageway blocked by ice.

Oh, and a horn, a musical intstrument!  That it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out how to equip and use.  I probably could have summoned up a whiny farmboy, but I was kind of pissed at him, anyway. So I didn’t do that.  My bad, probably. I hated talking to Midna, too.

Well, demon guy sends me after another demon guy who sends me after Lilith.  At this point I tweet about the lack of Zelda references.  Annoying useless helper-sidekicks notwithstanding.  I had no idea that I had a potion that would become an empty bottle if I used it, because I hadn’t.  And I didn’t understand why I couldn’t buy any potions, because I didn’t realize I needed empty bottles.

Darksiders doesn’t call them that, of course; then we might notice, or understand.

Only once I got into the first dungeon did I really see the Zelda bits.  There were things like bomb flowers, and small keys.  I got a boomerang, even, that works just like the boomerang in Zelda, only the aiming is hard and annoying.  And necessary in the first boss fight.  I know how to kill Lilith, but I couldn’t pull it off after several tries.

In the boss battle with Lilith, I was doing fairly well, but screwed up one of the dodges. She then knocked me into one of the bomb flowers that just happened to be nearby, doing more than one “heart” of damage to me. I only have 2 hearts, so I was quickly killed.  I think that’s when I walked away..

I’m really tired of un-fun punishing games.  If you’re going to be punishingly hard, let me feel like I’m learning my way, and getting better.  That’s why Demon’s Souls is in my queue as well.

I’d taken a break from Darksiders, and certainly coming back to play made it seem like more fun.  Maybe there’s more fun deeper in, but I doubt I’ll find out. There’s no point in continuing something that’s refusing to be enjoyable. So it goes back to the GBox today.  So does Borderlands, but it gets added to the GameFly queue for longer-term play.