Kratos is back. But he might not be the same person you remember from the tumultuous goings-on in God of War III. God of War: Ascension isn’t a continuation; it is actually a prequel to the original game that takes place a few months after Ares played a trick on our anti-hero. Kratos is reeling from his mistakes and hounded by visions. The Ghost of Sparta is pursued and imprisoned by the three great Furies for breaking his blood oath to Ares. Breaking free from his shackled nightmare, Kratos takes his first steps on the long and bloody road to freedom and redemption.
I loved the first Darksiders. From the whodunnit storyline, to the dungeon crawling, to the hacks and slashes, the experience was surprising as it was thrilling. I am a man of simple needs and when I heard that a sequel was in development, I would have been extremely happy to play one with mechanics similar to the first, just with a different character. But without change there is no progress as some people would say. And in Darksiders 2, Vigil Games were not horsing around when they added wholly new gameplay elements to the mix. Do these new elements dilute the experience? Do they welcome new types of players to the game but alienate others? Does bigger mean it’s better? Let’s dance with Death and find out.
Humanity has been battling the living dead for decades, it seems like bloody forever. These fetid corpses have invaded many facets of our lives including the novels and comics that we read and TV series and movies that we watch. The games that we play aren’t safe either. Frank West beat them off with practically anything he could find, while Isaac Clarke dispatched zombies in space using his considerable talents in dismemberment. Jill Valentine fought off the freakish mutants of the Umbrella Corporation, and the average homeowner even had to repel a zombie attack through the strategic use of potted plants.
And now it seems we humans may have yet another champion against the zombie horde. From the completely off-kilter mind of Suda51 (see our Shadows of the Damned review) comes a tale of 18-year-old Juliet Starling who must rid her high school of a nasty case of the zombies. This is a task that she seems to relish, thanks to her wickedly awesome chainsaw. Also, she has bizarrely chosen wear her rather revealing cheerleading uniform, one would assume that is to minimize the amount of blood splashed on her clothes. Did I mention that the disembodied head of her boyfriend serves as a sidekick? There is bound to many a gratuitous upskirt shot, sexual innuendo by the metric ton, and outrageous amounts of blood and guts, so nothing that should come as a surprise from a Suda51 game. Have a look at the debut trailer to Lollipop Chainsaw below.
Konami has been making Castlevania games for 24 years now. They have legions of fans and followers. I was not one of them, you see when all the cool kids were cracking whips and kicking vampire ass on their NESs and SNESs, I was relegated to the pitiful Sega Master System. Our other reviewer TyrannicalDuck is far more interested in the franchise but sadly he was taken ill with the flu when this review copy of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow arrived. So I thought I’d give it a bash seeing as I’m now a cool adult and possess a console that is able to run the game.
Being a newcomer to the franchise I have no preconceived notions of what a Castlevania game should be, and having chatted to TyrannicalDuck it seems people are wondering how this can be called a Castlevania game when there isn’t a hint of free-roaming nor does perpetual antagonist Dracula show up as the end-of-game boss. Another thing, it’s not canon – this reboot by relatively unknown developer, MercurySteam, has nothing to do with the rest of the franchise. OK, fine. Instead of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow we could call it Gabriel “Lesley” Belmont: Melancholy Monster Slayer but it still won’t change the fact that it’s an absolutely fantastic game. So now, you know my feeling about it right off the whip. If that’s all the affirmation you need then feel free to stop reading here and hunt down the game at the nearest shop, but if you want to hear more about the innards of this entertaining action adventure title, then my review continues after the jump.
My god this review is horribly late. It’s so late that even the fast-talking reviewer Yahtzee famous for his tardiness has gotten his done. I’d tell you it’s worth the wait, but the last time a waitress told me that at an Indian restaurant, my food was far from tasty.
By now, you’ve probably played-finished-loved it so whilst you’re here, feel free to read on and compare notes with us. However, if this is your first time hearing about it, join us as we ride along with the Ghost of Sparta in his quest for vengeance in God of War III.
The full review is after the jump.
OK, let’s get down to business. In Darksiders by Vigil Games, you play the role of War, one of the biblical “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. You have been mistakenly summoned to Earth where an almighty battle between Heaven and Hell is taking place. Having interfered with something you shouldn’t have, you are summoned to the “headmaster’s office”, given a severe talking to, and stripped of your awesome powers. As a last chance at redemption, you request to be sent back to Earth to find out who was responsible for bringing on the apocalypse prematurely. Darksiders chronicles your journey through god forsaken, scorched lands, ravaged citadels, subterranean lairs, and dusty plains in a quest for answers.
Let’s go through the mechanics that make up the soul of this a “whodunit” hack and slash extravaganza. Hit the jump to read the rest of the review.