THQ Nordic has brought one of their greatest IPs to the Switch with the Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, bugs and all. This title could’ve used a little more dev time though.
The first Darksiders follows one of the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, War, as he struggles to clear his name for starting the… Apocalypse. The Charred Council, giant talking rocks that govern all cosmic events, task War with hunting down seals taken by aging, demi-god-like creatures in order to prove his innocence. If War can prove he didn’t start the end of days, great, if not, then the Charred Council’s sentence would have been carried out regardless.
They agree, and War is thrust back to the human realm to begin his quest. I won’t go into all of the story details, because this game is almost 10 years old, so odds are you’re not playing this for the first time. For those that are, War will uncover a conspiracy that will change everything you think you know.
The real question is how does this port compare to other iterations of the same game that have been re-released on every other console? For the most part, it holds up, but it also comes with some hiccups that need to be discussed.
For starters, Darksiders looks great on the Switch. The hi-rez graphics and game controls have translated nicely over to Nintendo’s hybrid console. The stylized environments only suffer from minor issues like delayed textures populating the scene, and you’ll notice the occasional muddy asset here and there. Character models look great, and have aged pretty well since the game’s original release. The sound track is just as good as you remember, though I always preferred Darksiders 2 background tunes.
Mechanically, the game is very responsive. Chaining attacks into finishers is extremely smooth, leaving no delay between the different animations. War still feels clunky/heavy, compared to the other two riders we’ve been able to play as, but that doesn’t make him any less fun to control. Traversal is tight, and War responds well to going from running to clinging to a wall, to jumping off and gliding back down. The game feels great on the Switch.
The hiccups I referred to earlier are ones that have spanned every version of this title going all the way back to the original. Though I did find a new one this time around, which I’ll discuss in a moment. I’ve probably played the original Darksiders at least 5 different times across 4 platforms, and it’s funny how I’ve grown to expect certain bugs to still happen. Sadly, they’re still there, and it’s still something that must be dealt with if you plan on playing the game.
The most minor, is speech delay. During certain cutscenes you’ll notice that the dialogue doesn’t line up with the character’s mouths. It doesn’t happen with every cut scene and from what I saw, it’s completely random, but it does happen. Another deals with an early area in the game where War must ride a Griffin to the lair of Tiamat, one of the monstrosities that holds one of the seals he must retrieve. You slay some angels, hop on a Griffin and you’re responsible for taking out enemies while navigating magma caverns and crumbling terrain. Then, the game crashes, or freezes which then forces you to reset the game. Every single time I’ve played Darksiders, this bug has reared it’s ugly head. I’m not sure if it has happened for others, or if it’s just bad luck on my part, but every time I have played this game and made it to this point the game freezes or crashes like clockwork.
An issue I noticed with the Switch version is that there will be times, usually during fights where a lot is happening on screen, where the console will chug a bit to keep up the framerates. It is brief when it happens, but there were certain encounters that tripped up a bit, and caused skips between animations.
The new bug I found was during my encounter with a Jailer. He was the last enemy I had to defeat in order to progress. All the other enemies had been wiped out, and when it came time to land the finishing blow, I pressed A to initiate the cut scene. War jumped on him, driving his sword deep into the repulsive creature and jumps off. The souls fly into War and I think that’s the end of things, except… the Jailer got back up. The game prompted me to push A again, and again War lands the finishing blow. The jailer rises to his feet another time. I lead him around the ring, trying to change the location of where I choose to end his life, but the bastard kept getting back up. I restart the game, load up my most recent save and initiate the fight all over again. The minor enemies get cleared out, and it comes time to end the Jailer one more time. The same thing happens! This time though, the Jailer stayed down after 3 more finishers.
While I was able to make it past this point, it’s concerning that some won’t be able to. These bugs detracted from my overall experience in, mostly, minor ways, but the fact that they’re still there in a game that has been remastered and resold for every new console over the past 9 years is frustrating to say the least. I’m sure they could be patched out, but I’ve yet to see it happen, and I don’t see myself doing another play through just to find out.
Overall, Darksiders is another great addition to your Switch library. It was the one that started it all, and the most important story-wise. While these issues should absolutely, finally, receive a patch, they’re ones that can be worked around, but they’re certainly frustrating. The gameplay is smooth for the most part, and the controls are as responsive as they’ve ever been. If you haven’t played this title yet and you own a Switch, it’s certainly a solid title to take with you on the go.