Darksiders 3: 12 minutes of whipping enemies to shreds

Darksiders 3

Darksiders 3 [official site] was only announced four days ago but we’ve already got 12 minutes of gameplay to inspect.

The pre-alpha footage shows Fury, one of the Horsemen (horsewoman?) of the Apocalypse, jumping and rolling through a city that’s been torn apart by nature, fighting giant crabs, horned red monstrosities and – finally – Sloth, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. He’s basically a massive, bulbous green bug with a club that looks like it could take your head off in a single swing.

Towering trees have ripped up the concrete streets, and the inside of the subway walls are covered by luminous purple eggs. Sloth himself is grotesque, initially sitting on a mossy throne carried by crab minions before Fury takes them out, forcing him to hulk about on his man legs.

The environments look great and the platforming looks fun enough too, with Fury using her whip to swing from branches and access new areas.

But I’m not totally convinced yet, and that’s because of the combat. The animations seems stiff. There doesn’t look to be much combo variation. And Fury’s whip lacks the heft of Death’s hammers that made the combat in Darksiders 2 so meaty.

Still, it’s pre-alpha gameplay, and only 12 minutes of it at that. I’m sure Fury will be able to swap out weapons throughout the story, and I’m more than happy to be proved wrong. Darksiders 3 is due in 2018.

What’s your snap judgement?

43 Comments

  1. CristianDraws says:

    Kind of worried that it won’t look as cool without Joe Madureira’s involvement (he did design Fury, though)

  2. ChiefOfBeef says:

    Problem seems to be the lock-on hasn’t been added yet, along with a lot of other combat features.

    • Scumbag says:

      There seems to be a lot of lock-on going on in the video. It is true that it seems very lacklustre in combat features though. Whomever is playing just keeps repeating the same very lightweight looking combo over and over. Would be nice to see if there are execution moves like the first game.

      She also looks really slugish. War was weighty and slow, Death fast and nimble. Fury just looks… slow.

      • Snowskeeper says:

        Yeah, her hits don’t seem to have any actual impact, even though they pass right through their target. The enemy just flinches a little, then topples over when it dies.

      • Unclepauly says:

        I’m thinking she has some type of mechanic where she becomes furious and metamorphosizes into some fury engorged she-horseman(:D) that gets all the attributes you could ever want or need.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        It appears to be a soft lock-on, that indicator. In the previous games the character stance would change and you could circle-strafe or move backwards whilst facing them. The video only shows dodging to the side and back, not general movement. In the first game at least(I’ll need to see the 2nd again) the lock-on is accompanied by black cinematic bars appearing at the top and bottom.

      • Scumbag says:

        While some are saying judging this early is not fair, I will concede that this is very clearly an early version and its nowhere near feature complete. I very much doubt they would have something like one of the seven deadly sins just burn up in cinders like a Doom 3 enemy, there will be some form of cut-scene I think, even if its just the boss flailing about and then dieing.

        Having concerns about the apparently lightweight combat is valid though. I have no issues with a whip being the main weapon, just she seems to miss with it an awful lot, plus a number of the moves lack feedback (especially the whirling attacks). Just, like others have said, if you show stuff off then criticism is valid.

        Believe it or not but some devs have people scour comment sections like this. I imagine whomever is looking at the reactions is able to filter out the usual “Get cancer and die” level of trite comments and, most likely the feedback would be:
        “So, general consensus?”
        “The usual ‘OMFG GREAT’ and ‘Yah, we really need more of this FEMINIST BULLSHIT WITH CRAP 3RD PERSON BULLSHIT AND…'”
        “No, real feedback.”
        “Complaints about combat looking lightweight”
        “Right, any specific detail?”
        etc…

        Granted they may not look here, and official forums are usually the best spot to post stuff, but hey, reacting to stuff on a game site I read frequently is what comments are for I guess. I like this series so I react to it.

  3. Jalan says:

    Finally, Konami’s unleashing an actual Castlevania… oh wait.

    With this in pre alpha stage, it seems interesting that they’ve got bits of the score and other sound effects done. It’s almost like they’ve been working on this since before the announcement of the first remaster, despite saying (in not so many words) that if people didn’t buy the remaster(s) then we wouldn’t be seeing this game at all.

    I’m glad it’s a thing, but the way this came about makes me really suspicious toward THQ Nordic going forward.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Being fair, development costs are a thing. That’s sleazy marketing regardless, but they might still have been serious about it; if they’d failed to make enough money on the Warmastered and Deathinitive editions, they might have had to change their focus to something less expensive.

    • Xocrates says:

      Frankly, the sound effects and music are the easiest thing to make amongst what they’ve shown, and it’s very likely most of it it’s repurposed from the other games.

      I am very willing to believe they only started after the remastered editions came out, because right now it seems likely that what they show here is literally all they got.

  4. Xocrates says:

    Honestly, I heavily suspect this to be footage for a proof of concept vertical slice for the game, and will be very surprised if it ends up being representative.

    Of course, if that’s the case, the fact they choose to show it does not bode particularly well, since it would indicate that’s what they have so far and the game is still very early in it’s development.

    At the very least I expect this to be a significantly smaller game than Darksiders 2, and likely smaller and lower in budget than Darksiders 1.

    This does not mean it can’t or won’t be a good game, but I think it’s a good call to temper expectations.

  5. PancakeWizard says:

    Heading off the comments: Remember this is pre-alpha and a year and a half away from any chance of release.

    Personally I don’t think Nordic should’ve shown it off this early, but there we are.

    Some things worth noting:

    1. The game is in Unreal, rather than the previous 2 titles’ in-house engine. I’m hoping they plan to add a comic-book/heavy metal album art veneer to the game before it’s done, but I know it’s a long shot. Looks a bit too slick, IMO.

    2. It’s possible Gunfire (previously Vigil), have painted themselves into a corner somewhat as they need each Horseman to play differently, and Death pretty much spoiled us rotten as a combat character. Fury is described as a whippy ‘Mage’. There is concept art of her holding a massive hammer though, so there should be some wiggle room there.

    3. Joe Mad has given this his blessing, although he only designed Fury in concept.

    • Xocrates says:

      Point 2 is the reason I didn’t expect Fury (or Strife) to get a solo game. Conceptually they work fine as character “classes” you can pick, but as singular protagonists they’re a bit trickier.

    • Premium User Badge

      Styxie says:

      I’m not much of a character action aficionado – but thinking back to Darksiders 2, Death really was batshit to play as. His most basic moves involve flipping up twenty feet in the air while turning himself into the rotary blade inside a food processor. I really need to fire up that game again.

  6. headless97 says:

    First problem: Fury is not a horseman of the apocalypse. There’s Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, in that order. Fury is nowhere in there.

    Second problem: Sloth does very little to represent sloth. Yeah, he’s carried on his throne and has presumably been sitting there for so long that he’s become encrusted, but he stands up and swings a weapon like every other boss ever. They could have had a creative boss encounter where you had to move a giant, immovable creature or something. That would at least represent sloth better than an insect with a staff.

    Finally, I’m assuming they have a female lead to be more progressive. That’s great, 1000% awesome. But to prominently feature fake ads 6:43 in that show sexy silhouettes and say “Licky’s Junk,” is pretty sad.

    • Xocrates says:

      So your complaint is that the book was better?

    • Unclepauly says:

      I take it you think they are being disingenuous, or in other words playing fast and loose with the world and it’s characters.

      • pepperfez says:

        Nah, they’re being grumpy that the game replaces a perfectly good, interesting, metal mythology with its own less-interesting and no-more-metal invention.
        That’s not productive, obviously, because Darksiders is Darksiders already and grumping won’t change that, but where would the internet be without surly observations in comment sections?
        And they’re right! I mean, the first horseman is glossed as either Conquest or Pestilence. That’s cool. Why would you drop that for something that only kinda makes sense (How does fury bring about the Apocalypse? It’s just an emotion, not a natural force.)?

        • Snowskeeper says:

          Pestilence is not a Biblical entity. ‘Sides, the Bible contradicts itself like crazy. Trying to unweave that into a cohesive story would provoke just as much angry pedantry.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Two problems:

      In the Bible, the Horsemen were never named (with the exception of Death–and Hell, technically, since that followed with him). They were given names after the fact, by people who wanted handles with which to describe them.

      Beyond some of the names and imagery, this has very little to with the Bible. Darksiders II drew very heavily from Norse mythology–more heavily than the Bible itself does, even. Also, the Fourth Horseman is Strife, and I believe his thing is guns. Going to have to deal with that if you’re interested in the game.

      Re: the third problem, yeah, turns out porn distributors are sexist and sleazy; who’d have guessed.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      Firstly, it’s not a ‘problem’ because it’s a made up story (as are the Bible horsemen). This is Joe Mad’s mythology, not 1:1 the Christian one. This is a world with parallel worlds linked by magic trees. The horsemen in this are the last four members of the Nephilim race (which they agreed to destroy).

      Secondly, this has been the set up since the very first game, including Fury (as female) and Strife. No one is trying to tick diversity boxes. The kind of people who look for that aren’t likely playing much Darksiders as it’s very Heavy Metal inspired being all muscles, tits and violence. Jo Mad is a comic artist, this was/is his baby. (He’s currently working on Battlechasers which has a similar art style).

    • Xan says:

      Have you actually played the previous games or are you just complaining to complain?

      They already confirmed that the horsemen in the Darksiders universe are: War, Death, Fury, Strife.

      We already know in Darksiders 2 that Fury was female and from both DS1 and DS2 that Strife uses mainly guns.

    • Ralsto says:

      So basically you’re an utterly miserable buzzkilling sadsack that had to try really, really hard to come up with something to whine about here, and still couldn’t come up with anything worthwhile.

    • Pinga says:

      Complaining that Fury is not an actual horseman is like complaining the Turtle is not an actual zodiac sign. It’s just mythology.

  7. euskalzabe says:

    “But I’m not totally convinced yet, and that’s because of the combat. The animations seems stiff. There doesn’t look to be much combo variation. And Fury’s whip lacks the heft of Death’s hammers that made the combat in Darksiders 2 so meaty.”

    You did see the giant PRE-ALPHA GAMEPLAY at the top, right?

    • Assirra says:

      It being pre alpha (what the fuck does that even mean)does not mean it cannot be criticized. If it wasn’t ready to be shown, they should not have showed it to begin with. First impressions are super important in an industry as packed as this.

      • Lysenko says:

        Beta Software is Feature-Complete. In the context of games, all levels are done, all art assets are done, gameplay balance and animations are done, etc, and what is left is bug-testing and fixes.

        Alpha is the stage before that. In Alpha, pieces of the game are complete and are being tested and worked on -without- recourse to the source code, but the game as a whole is not feature complete. At this stage a dev team may still be experimenting with different game mechanics or other features that may not make it into the final version of the game.

        It’s not the final version, but there is a “darksiders3.exe” that can be launched on a normal computer or a console devkit, not just a collection of assets you’re opening with other development tools.

        Pre-Alpha generally means that the core software isn’t even done yet: The game may be running on an engine different from the one it’s intended to run on on release, graphics pipelines aren’t written yet, etc etc. Not only is the game not feature-complete (like Alpha), its CODE isn’t even all the way written yet.

        When you see Pre-Alpha gameplay, that means placeholder everything, generally, so I’d suspect that this started as a proof-of-concept video intended to sell the project internally.

        This is why most pre-Alpha footage is stuff like “Here is a light in a room with random wall textures to show off our light scattering tech”. Specific tests of specific features running in an engine editor or other software, NOT running “Darksiders3.exe”.

  8. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    yea, boob armor!! never seen one before

  9. smeaa mario says:

    Here I was thinking to myself: “Why is it so necessary to brand the video pre-alpha or alpha at all? It would suffice to tell us that it’s just a very early bit of gameplay. Everyone would understand.”

    Then I saw the comments and realized that people are predisposed to losing their shit even when the expression “pre-alpha” is sitting right there under their noses. I guess the developers know their looms very well.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      If they’re not ready to have their content judged, they shouldn’t be showing it in the first place. It is impossible to tell what’s going to change between now and launch. And it’s silly to act like that’s not the case.

      • smeaa mario says:

        There is judging. And then there is bashing. Obviously they just wanted to show those of us who have been waiting for another sequel for ages that this actually is happening.

        If you have played the previous games, you are supposed to know that this won’t be the final product. For instance, there will most possibly be secondary weapons, not just the whip. Weapon impact won’t be non-existent. And it will all be complemented with skills as well as transformations etc. I can already assume that much, based on the first two games.

        On the other hand, I also agree that they could have waited a little more before releasing a video. Otherwise people tend to overreact like they have already done.

        • Snowskeeper says:

          How did the teaser trailer they released not show that this is happening…?

          Besides, no, none of what we’re doing is “bashing.” Commenting that the combat looks weightless and there’s a lack of variety in combos is not unfair, since they showed combat in this trailer and are therefore offering it up for judgment.

          I’m aware that there will probably be secondary weapons. I don’t think anyone–even Frosty Grin–was suggesting that there won’t be.

  10. Frosty Grin says:

    Will the whip be the only weapon? I don’t think I can withstand an entire game of that, even if they add more combos.

    • smeaa mario says:

      It’s safe to assume that there will be secondary weapons. I think it will be a lot like playing as Death. It was the same with him too. It would probably be very boring if the dual scythes were the only weapons.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I belive there will also be a fully upgradeable nae nae.

  11. Neurotic says:

    Can’t be as bad as Sacred 3 or Dungeon Siege 3, so it’s already going to be utterly brilliant.

  12. HumpX says:

    2004 called, they want their…….

  13. fish99 says:

    Looks alright to me, like a modern version of what I remember Darksiders to be.

  14. heretikeen says:

    Yay, Generic Action Game With Cool Art Design (and a big bag of rehashed ideas from all successful competitors) enters round three. Just what the world needs.

  15. Kefren says:

    2017, and bodies still dissolve away.
    That annoyed me in Doom 3/Resident Evil 4/Quake 4 onwards. I was used to Doom, where you left a trail of corpses to show where you’d been. We always talk about advances in technology, yet this doesn’t seem to have improved since forever.

    • Dave L. says:

      Every body you leave in the world takes up system resources. Back in the days of sprites it was three floats and a texture reference, with total potential memory for the level already known. In the modern day it’s not just coordinates for the body, but also the pose. And the body has to be lit, which means one or more draw calls per body per scene.

      Add in respawning enemies and it starts to add up super fast.

  16. Sunjammer says:

    Early or not, this looks awful right now :( Her silhouette is just a mess, her animations are bland, and whatever they think they’re doing with her hair it isn’t working at all. “Hey let’s turn our character’s head into an amorphous floaty blob of red” said no sane character designer ever.

    The lethal whipping has always been comical to me ever since Castlevania. Not saying you can’t whip folks to death but anyone in a suit of armor stronger than a hoodie and slacks would be laughing.

  17. eLBlaise says:

    The prospect of a third installment definitely interests me, but I understand your reservations Samuel. The problem seems to be that Fury is built to be a tank but her weapon is better suited to hit and run tactics. The devs should’ve given her one of those whip swords instead, would’ve conveyed a lot more versatility than a simple whip. Nonetheless I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.