THQ Nordic's Darksiders III is a return to a popular series that languished in obscurity after THQ initially filed for bankruptcy back in 2012. With the Darksiders IP having previously been sold to Nordic Games, it seemed there may never be a new game again. Fortunately, Nordic Games teamed up with developer Gunfire Games to bring us Darksiders III under the THQ Nordic banner, so fans wouldn't have to miss out on another entry in the series.
Darksiders III introduces us to a new protagonist – this time a woman – in the form of Fury, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The game takes place on a post-apocalyptic version of the Earth, where Heaven and Hell are locked in eternal combat. Humanity has been nearly wiped out, and the Seven Deadly Sins themselves are looking to wipe out the rest of them. Luckily, the Charred Council, which includes heroine Fury, one of the Horsemen, is tasked with stopping them. That's where you come in. As Fury, you've got a mission to make things right – well, as right as they can be, after all.
Fury is a fiery heroine with plenty of witty and sarcastic quips (there's a reason we chose her for our December Video Game Heroine of the Month, after all), and she's an absolute joy to play as, even when she routinely puts her foot in her mouth. Fury's personality shines through in just about everything she does, as do her family, the rest of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
But of course, you'll be here for the gameplay, not just basking in awe at how much of a badass Fury is (though you can certainly do that too). Much of your time will be spent totally wailing on the enemies that dare stand in your way, and Fury has a little something-something for them. Using her destructive metal whip, she can hack and slash her way through hordes of enemies. You'll have to make sure you're using it strategically, however, because spamming attacks won't get you far. You'll have to sprinkle in some rolls as well and use your enemies' dodges as opportunities for retaliation.
Fury also has a few magical forms that she can transform into, such as her Lightning form, which electrifies her weapon and lets her float through the air. Her Flame form outfits her with fiery blades and makes her impervious to lava and fiery obstacles.
Darksiders III diverges from the familiar paths forged by its predecessor Darksiders II. Gone is the open-world design that you came to know, replaced by a much more linear set of conjoined spaces to navigate. In many ways, it better fits the game's narrative structure, so while it may seem a different beast at first, it's one that makes sense for the game. Everything is interconnected by paths you can take (or choose not to), with plenty of items to explore and collect to make Fury's mission even simpler.
There's a good variety of things to see and explore, too, with colorful visuals bursting with detail and intriguing aesthetics. There's a wide range of different terrains to explore, seven of them to be precise, themed after each Deadly Sin, so you can imagine the types of accompanying visuals with each area. Themed enemies can be seen roaming the land as well, from enormous spiders to demons pulled straight from the depths of Hell itself.
Unfortunately, while the game is mostly free of frustrating issues, it does tend to feature a few areas that you'll succumb to cheap deaths in, as well as frame rate problems. They do occasionally make what could be a potentially simple fight frustrating, especially if you happen to be ambushed by a group of enemies, but usually you can get past it by deftly chaining together attacks. It can be particularly annoying sometimes, however, and is something to watch out for if you're planning on picking up a copy.
Darksiders III is a challenging and engaging hack-and-slash game with a female protagonist who can hold her own in any situation. But that's not the only reason it's worth picking up. It's also absolutely fantastic when it comes to serving up unlockable secrets, plenty of loot, and interesting locations to explore. It's a great return to form for the Darksiders series in general, and hopefully the harbinger for what will eventually become a fourth entry – pretty please, THQ Nordic?