Darksiders turns eleven years old in 2021, with the very first game in the series releasing on the PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2010.
Created by comic book artist Joe Madureira, known for his work on the Uncanny X-Men and Battle Chasers, Darksiders is a modern take on the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, with each game in the series starring one of the Horsemen in the lead role.
The first game in the series had players in the role of War, who is being framed for causing the Apocalypse on Earth. Players are tasked to search for the truth in a hack-and-slash adventure, with the game drawing many comparisons to the original God of War trilogy, Devil May Cry, and The Legend of Zelda.
The comparisons don’t just end with the game mechanics as War is definitely a lot like Kratos, an embodiment of rage and raining destruction to every angel and demon he comes in contact with.
2012’s Darksiders II takes place in parallel to the first game, with War’s fellow Horsemen, Death looking to clear his brother’s name and prove his innocence. Instead of a combination of combat challenges and puzzles, Darksiders II focuses a lot on semi open-world exploration, RPG elements, and randomised loot, closer to games like Borderlands or Kingdoms of Amalur.
Death is a lot more snarky than War, with the NPCs usually reacting to the fact that the embodiment of death itself is running around completing quests. His more customisable moveset is definitely a welcome change overall.
Present Day Darksiders
After a brief hiatus, 2018’s Darksiders III was released for modern systems, with the only female Horsemen, Fury taking center stage. With a new protagonist also comes with a new playstyle, with a gameplay style that is closer to Metroidvanias and the works of FromSoftware, namely the Dark Souls franchise.
This is explained with Fury being more a mage instead of a melee fighter like War and Death, hence her harder gameplay and the reliance of more tactical fighting on the player’s part. The game’s story also runs concurrently with the previous two, except Fury is more concerned with the rise of the embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins.
After three games, fans definitely saw a clear pattern and expected the next game in the series to star the final Horsemen, Strife. Well, yes and no, as the fourth game in the series would instead be a prequel, starring both Strife and War.
Instead of being a third-person adventure game, Darksiders Genesis was released in 2020 and is a top-down action RPG, something like Diablo 3. Players can play through the entire game cooperatively, with Strife utilising a myriad of long-range firearms and War using his trusty sword. It was better than expected, though hasn’t really satiated what fans wanted.
Darksiders of the Future
There are two ways for THQ to continue the Darksiders saga, either have a game that truly puts Strife into the spotlight, or an ensemble finale with all four Horsemen coming together to defeat a bigger threat.
Strife has made sporadic appearances throughout all three games, and his portrayal has been uneven at best before Genesis cemented his character traits. So a proper game that stars him would be a great way to see the events of the past three games unfold in his eyes. And since the past games didn’t really set a certain gameplay standard, Strife’s game can definitely be more like Gears of War’s signature third-person, cover-based shooter playstyle.
With a game that features all four heroes, it definitely needs to have co-op as a primary feature, with four players taking the roles of each Horsemen. To accommodate the different playstyles, the game either has to be a top-down affair like how Darksiders Genesis was, or it could take a cue from MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XIV but make it streamlined like the Borderlands franchise.
Either way, with eleven years of history, it’s time for the Darksiders franchise to truly elevate and finally provide a stunning finale to the series. Hopefully, we’ll see the announcement of the next installment sometime in 2021.