A great visual facelift, but technical restraints of last generation are still holding this remaster back some.
Darksiders has one privilege on its side and it is the fact this game wasn’t too mainstream for a lot of gamers. Six years ago very few people were talking about the game in comparison to say God of War, and then years later when the original THQ went bankrupt the series mostly disappeared for anyone not too familiar with the franchise. This combined with very small hints that the series might be returning under THQ Nordic, the new owners of the franchise, gives us a new reason to experience a remastered edition.
Unlike other games there isn’t a real need to totally revamp the experience, or completely change things. Unlike other games, simply getting the franchise back out and heard is enough of a reason to re-explore the original game and that seems to be the purpose of the Warmaster edition.
The remaster doesn’t do anything groundbreaking with the original game and the dated mechanics, textures, and visuals clearly infiltrate the entire game. There are moments in the game that are totally noticeable last generation flaws, and the game won’t hold a candle to modern day action games, but it isn’t horrible either. Darksiders always tried to be bigger and more epic, and that idea combined with an awesome story is still a thrilling experience.
Yet there was some fine tuning to be had. The frame rate is the most noticeably contribution we have in the Warmaster edition. Big enemy fights, either with giant enemies throwing environmental objects at you or massive swarms of enemies, no longer seem to break the game. The game keeps a cool 60FPS rate the entire time which makes the battle system work well. Anyone that played the remastered Darksiders 2 already knows how much of an improvement this is. Another big change is color balance and a layer of “touching up” that takes place throughout the entire game. Colors are a lot more vibrant than the original, and some textures were improved. The game has a very noticeably facelift that masks the dated 3D models and somehow makes them look appealing. Your character, for example, has red armor that glows very nicely, and special effects from attacks looks beautiful.
The new additions basically end there. There isn’t additional artwork, and the original game has no DLC to package in (thankfully) so nothing else was added. The puzzle-like nature of the original game is still the core focus, where the action oriented combos are not and not polish was added to fix that. Most moves can be had by pressing simplistic button patterns (mostly just a single button) to take down swarms of enemies. There is a slight strategy in approach to mobs, but once you are in battle there is nothing more to it beyond hitting and dodging. I was somewhat saddened to see none of this was touched at all. The targeting system the game uses was originally very clunky and in the remaster it remains a problematic issue. Camera movements make some battles frustrating as you dodge and an enemy moves off screen (probably because you somehow locked on a different enemy) and other dated issues are persistent.
A major issue I’ve personally had, and looked into, is a random mis-alignment of voice animations. For some reason during cutscenes the game will be a good 10 seconds behind visually, or ahead, of what I’m hearing. For example a character will speak, but what I’m seeing is nothing. Or I will see a character talking, but no words until a few seconds later. I’ve actually had 3 cutscenes abruptly end mid scene and a new scene began, leading to several characters all talking at once as two separate scenes are playing together. I say “looked into” because I wanted to ensure this wasn’t just some fluke error, but there are Youtube videos and Reddit posts of players with similar issues.
Other than that single issue, there isn’t a major complaint from me at all. This game is simply to get the franchise out there again and possibly a way to pump money into a budget for a third title. As a huge Darksiders fan I honestly say that if you want to see a third game get made, then support this title. If you enjoyed the original you will continue to enjoy its small facelift. No there isn’t a real reason other than that to run out and grab it, but if you haven’t played the game in a while and want to dive it then it is well worth it!
If you are new to the series, I absolutely cannot recommend this game enough. The story and colorful nature is such a breath of fresh air compared to all the totally serious and dark titles we have. The 60FPS alone makes the remaster totally worth it instead of purchasing an old copy for a last generation console. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the facelift!