I played Darksiders 3 when it was released on Playstation 4 back in 2018. I am a big fan of the series and was excited to play a new member of the horsemen and explore that world once again. What came then was a fun but flawed experience with minor graphical tearing, texture pop-in and long load times. Next generation updates have fixed some of the issues but currently the PS4 and Xbox One versions’ issues remain uncorrected. Now on the Nintendo Switch, we get a similarly flawed experience with a portable shine to it.
In the world of Darksiders, each game begins at the start of the first game. The horseman known as War has been called down to start the apocalypse early and he doesn’t know why. In this new chapter, Fury is called to help capture the seven deadly sins as they run amok in a world facing annihilation. Along the way she will unlock new info as to why War was called early, as well as learn more about what made humanity special in the first place. Fury has a badass streak, but also a growth to her arc that speaks a lot to the writing of this series.
When starting there are two modes of combat: Classic and Default mode. Default mode adjusts combat to feel more soulslike, with attacks being deliberate swings that commit to animations without being able to be cancelled out. The same goes for using healing shards — which take longer to use and can’t be cancelled out. The classic mode hearkens back to the original hack and slash style of the previous games. There’s also an emphasis on dodging at precise moments to follow up with crushing blows. There are numerous weapons to switch up the gameplay, like dual swords or a giant hammer. Generally, the combat in these games is successful with great secondary weapons, fantastic-feeling combos and special abilities, and Darksiders 3 is no different.
Upgrades are purchasable with souls collected, and there are also movement upgrades called Hollows. These are generally for walking on water, spinning in a ball or double and triple jumps. There are also enhancements and charms that when slotted will add minor tweaks to your damage or fighting style so you can personalize it to your liking. These are all necessary as boss encounters add additional wrinkles into basic enemies with new mechanics that ramp up the difficulty. These spikes make Darksiders 3 one of the hardest in the series but don’t deter the fun that still exists in this version.
The world of Darksiders 3 is intricate, with multiple branching paths and lots to explore. Unfortunately, unlike previous Darksiders games, there is no map. There are fast travel points at shops, but they are each titled and not shown on a map for reference. It’s all trial and error with a quick tendency to get lost. I loved previously exploring new areas for bonus upgrades and bosses but now it feels like a chore. Getting lost de-incentivizes exploring and made me want to stick to the main path primarily which is sad for how well crafted and fleshed out the ruins of humanity really are here. The world becomes a character and it’s fleshed out almost as well as Fury is herself. Well written with a rich history and growth.
Considering the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 struggled to run Darksiders 3, it’s actually quite impressive how well this port runs on the Nintendo Switch. The issues of the past with pop-in and tearing remain prevalent, but now we have decreased load times and a solid framerate. Even in handheld mode, the framerate is consistent and the gameplay is fluidly fast. There’s an obvious graphical pare down but it doesn’t feel significant compared to any other Switch port. Overall, it feels impressive to improve on a version of a game that had pretty glaring issues in its original release.
Darksiders 3 on the Nintendo Switch is a dichotomy. It functions surprisingly accurate to its original release which speaks more to the game as a whole than the version. This iteration comes complete with the tearing and blurring the release versions had, but with improved load times and a consistent framerate. Fury’s adventure continues with the rich lore that the series is known for and this new chapter is action-packed. Fury is a complex character that feels at home amongst her brethren in previous installations of the series. If you are looking to continue the series on the go, this port is a perfectly capable adaptation worth checking out.
Darksiders 3 is available on Nintendo Switch now.
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