Dark­siders II

The end of the world is nigh… again

Games Master - - Contents - Malindy Het­feld

The horse-woman of the apoc­a­lypse brings a whole new style to the se­ries.

Six years af­ter the last Dark­siders, the fran­chise has re­ceived a se­cond lease of life, and the re­sult is a game that tries to go back to its roots as much as it shakes things up. The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween Dark­siders III and its pre­de­ces­sors is its main char­ac­ter, Fury. She isn’t only the se­ries’ first fe­male pro­tag­o­nist, she also brings a com­pletely new fight­ing style to the se­ries. Whereas Death and War were heavy hit­ters, re­flect­ing their chunky builds, Fury is likened to a mage. “She’s ev­ery bit as pow­er­ful as her brothers,” lead level de­signer Richard Vorodi says, “but she mostly has a ranged fight­ing style, us­ing her whip and mag­i­cal spells, so hordes of en­e­mies can over­whelm her quite quickly.” To avoid be­ing boxed in, Fury has a dodge move that, if timed cor­recrtly, leads to a pow­er­ful counter-at­tack.

“In a way you can set your own dif­fi­culty,” Vorodi says. “You can draw out en­e­mies one by one, which makes them eas­ier to de­feat, or you can go all-in. Ei­ther way, Fury won’t be­come over­pow­ered; the dif­fi­culty stays even through­out the game.”

Off the map

Dark­siders III doesn’t have a tra­di­tional map. In­stead it guides you by cer­tain points of in­ter­est and con­cise level de­sign. The rea­son for the less­ened de­gree of hand-hold­ing is sim­ple: af­ter many games that had peo­ple rely on mini-maps, ex­plor­ing and get­ting lost are fun in their own way. In a nod to Metroid, Dark­siders III takes place in one big dun­geon. In order to get around, you’ll solve en­vi­ron­men­tal puz­zles and plat­form your way across the re­mains of post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Earth. From the demo, the com­bat still seems a lit­tle slow to us, and much more me­thod­i­cal in style than its high-oc­tane pre­de­ces­sors – die-hard se­ries fans may be dis­ap­pointed. The story strikes a dif­fer­ent tone, too, as Vorodi ex­plains: “We’ve had quite bom­bas­tic sto­ry­lines be­fore. Now we use a more per­sonal ap­proach to sto­ry­telling. It all re­volves around Fury and what her mo­ti­va­tions are. She has a true char­ac­ter arc and the game ends with her be­ing a dif­fer­ent per­son than she was at the start.”

Fury boasts el­e­men­tal magic pow­ers – in this case, fire proves just the thing to clear away web­bing.

Since the game’s done away with quest-givers, Fury is once again ac­com­pa­nied by a Watcher so things don’t get lonely. Sadly, Mark Hamill’s not voic­ing this one.

Fury’s jour­ney sees her ex­plor­ing a huge ru­ined city, as she hunts down de­monic in­car­na­tions of the Seven Deadly Sins.

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