The forces of Heaven and Hell have always fought each other, bringing chaos to the universe. When a third kingdom, home to humanity and in future probably capable of shifting the balance, arose, an entity known as the Charred Council decided to force the old powers to a truce. Convinced that both the older kingdoms would bring everything to annihilation, the forged seven seals to hold them at bay; only when all of them will be broken, their four horsemen will come to pass judgment on everyone.
In this modified biblical scenery, you take the role of War, the red horseman. Someone decided to break the truce and to destroy the third kingdom, so you thought it was time to intervene. Fact is, before this happened somehow the last seal hasn't been broken and none of the other horsemen showed up, so you end up being accused of conspiring with the betrayers and start a mission to clear your name, restore balance and punish the culprits.
Finding this kind of action game in the AAA industry is pretty easy, yet in my opinion Darksiders takes the distance from the standard due to its varied gameplay.
Obviously, its main focus stays on combat, and while it doesn't add anything new to the formula I must say it executes it excellently: the controls are flawless and perfectly responsive, and they never lock your character in the middle of a combo or in forced animations leaving him open to attacks, allowing you to cancel an action and change it with another in any moment.
War will find new weapons -both ranged and not- during the entire course of the game, each one with its own properties and array of moves, purchasable and upgradable form your nearest demon vendor in exchange for souls (you can find them by killing enemies and looting chests).
The enemies are many, each with its own technique, strength and weakness; the regular ones come in small, medium and large sizes and can be exterminated easily, while bosses always present a good challenge that will require you to combine both skill in combat and wits to find the right way to wound them.
War will also find lots of gadgets useful for navigating the various environments, spanning from a simple chain to a crystal-breaker gauntlet or a device to slow time and open dimensional portals; they are often used between fights to find the solution to many interesting -but fairly simple- puzzles, a welcome change of pace that enriches the game adding a further level of depth.
Last but not least, the game has mounts. They call you Horseman for a reason, after all!
Graphically, despite not being cutting-edge technology even for its time, the engine does not fail to impress: characters and environments are awesomely designed, and the post-apocalyptic world is anything but bleak, often showing impressive and unexpected landscapes considering the premises. Many details had to be cut to allow the open levels to run well on the old generation of consoles, but the wise decision of adopting a comic book-like style prevent this form becoming an issue.
For what concerns the sound department, a good musical score, a wide selection of sounds and an excellent voice acting further add to the overall quality of the game.
That said, I have some criticism to move: I absolutely loved the game, but I found the PC port severely lacking on several aspects. For example, there are no graphic options aside from resolution and Vsync, so you can either run the game well or you simply cannot, as there is no room for tweaks or setting adjustments. Then, I encountered a weird glitch that nobody, neither me nor a GOGlodyte nor GOG support has been able to solve: after around 20 minutes of play, the backgrounds started to stutter like they ran at less than 15fps, while the main character remained perfectly smooth and the framerate stayed at a constant value of 60. That could be solved only by rebooting the system -I still have not even the slightest idea of why this happens, and I tried tens of possible solutions to no avail.
In any case, this does not seem to be a common issue, and I have probably been particularly unlucky.
I warmly recommend Darksiders to any action fan out there, as it will provide you with many hours of fun.