Most people roll their eyes at remasters, considering it’s a cash-in on an old game. I mean Darksiders is old, so old THQ published it first. But with the release of Darksiders II: Definitive Edition a few years back several of my friends were hyped that THQ Nordic is gearing everyone up for a new entry in the series. Now at long last, we have the first Darksiders game on the Nintendo Switch, a game that I really enjoy and can now play anywhere at any time.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition feels less of a cash grab than several other remasters I have had previously. While the improvements are all graphical, the time has been taken to make the enhancements a positive one, rather than a gormless upscaling of the original game. If you enjoyed the original I will tell you now that this game is worth getting.
At its, heart Darksiders is a 3rd person hack ‘n’ slash. You follow War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse who is accused of breaking a sacred law and inciting a war between Heaven and Hell on Earth, wiping out humanity in the process. His mourning is short lived as he is stripped of his powers and sent to the remains of Earth to find out the truth of what caused this war and massacre hordes of demons with nothing but his sword and his freakishly huge hands. Oh yeah and angels alike.
This boils down into travelling and fighting. Your bread and butter fighting are with the ‘Chaos Eater,’ a sword of ridiculous size, though as you progress you get access to a gun and the horse named “Ruin”. Your attacks are mapped to one button at the beginning and over time you can upgrade ‘War’ back to his destructive self. Thanks to the remastering the fighting feels even more fluid than the original, and you would not think that this game is now six years old. The upgrade system in the game is very much that of an action game. Collecting artefacts across the game allows you to swap them for new abilities, as well as trading enemy souls for weapons, consumables and extra special moves. If you played Darksiders II first you will find this rather strange, as the sequel has a much more RPG-like upgrade system.
So what does the Warmastered Edition have different to the original? Well if you hoping for extra gameplay then you’re out of luck. The difference is purely graphical. The game now runs at native 1080p on the Nintendo switch while docked and 720p when using in handheld mode. On other systems its runs at 1080p all the time, with 4K support on the PC and PS4 Pro, as well as running at 60fps. Texture resolutions have been doubled and rendering has been improved overall with extra post-processing effects making full use of the extra power available on the Nintendo Switch and showing off Joe Madureira’s characters better than ever. These upgrades are optimised well as an added bonus, as the original was marred with texture popping, screen tearing and heavy slowdown which are entirely gone from this remaster.
Like the original, there is little at fault with the game. The game keeps a reasonable pace throughout, even though the last portion of the game has a large amount of backtracking. The characters you meet are wonderfully diverse, with special praise going to the Watcher, the overbearing entity bound to War and voiced by Mark Hamill providing wonderful discourse through the whole game; and Vulgrim, the hard-to-please merchant for your upgrading needs.
What sells this game even better is the price, well sort of. If you never played Darksiders when it first came out you now get the chance to play the remastered version for £25.99 on the Nintendo Switch, yes its more expensive than other systems, but, you do get all the benefits on the Nintendo Switch. The game is lacking the dated feel many remasters get this late on, as they are less a remastering and more a reselling of an upscaled version. While the backtracking may begin to grow old, the rest of the gameplay feels as fresh and fun as it did when I first played the game around a friend’s house many years ago.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition has put other ‘remasters’ to shame. Graphical improvements combined with a better framerate and the repair of issues from the original means this feels far from a cynical cash-in and much more like a love-letter to the original game and the wanton destruction the game brought in 2010. I am holding on to hope the Darksiders II Remastered heads to the Nintendo switch, along with Darksiders III. The Switch offers something all other consoles can not, the ability to play games anywhere, now I do not have to put this game down, I can pick it up and take it where I want when I want and in all honesty, I LOVE THIS GAME.
The game is almost brutal perfection on the Nintendo Switch. Pick it up.