Darksiders 3 seems like a game with an identity crisis, but it latest patch looks to align the Souls-inspired sequel a bit more with its predecessor's less punishing combat. In its second major patch (noted here), Gunfire Games have added an optional "Classic" combat option, intended to feel a bit more like earlier Darksiders games. In this mode, players can now cancel out of attack animations by dodging and use items instantly. Outside of the new mode, Vulgrim now sells stat respecs, the level cap has been raised and they've added a few more checkpoints to the world.
While I doubt anything can be done to defeat Ian Loredump, Alec's review highlighted what many consider the game's weakest part - when it's trying to mimic Dark Souls and its high-stakes combat. In some areas, it's a festival of over-the-top comic-book violence but in others, enemies seem inordinately deadly and able to outmanoeuvre Fury. The new combat options should help smooth out the jerky shifting of gears, and the extra checkpoints should mitigate frustration when you do eventually die. I'd not be surprised if there's more tuning and tweaking planned.
Another jagged Souls-like edge filed down in this update is health scarcity. While monsters still hit like trucks, Vulgrim now sells refills to your Nephilim's Respite so you don't have to dive into combat (or die) to restock every time. As mentioned, he now also sells an item called the Echo Mark, which lets you re-spend your attribute points if you feel you've gone and min-maxed yourself into a corner. Of course, grind can now solve everything, as they've doubled the level cap. You probably won't be hitting the new maximum of 200 anytime soon, but at least it's an option, right?
Outside of balance changes, they've made ledge-grab detection a bit better, done a bit more optimisation work to hopefully smooth out wobbles in performance and fixed some long-standing bugs, including crashes. When the game first launched I had a little bit too much on my plate to add yet another sprawling hack n' slasher to my playlist, and looking at this update I think I'll hold off a while longer. By the time the two little bits of DLC are released it should be nicely tuned. Plus, I should probably replay the first two (remastered) games - I barely remember them at this point.
The update is out now, and you can read the full change-log here. The new Classic combat mode is optional, so just pick "Default" if you want the old, more punishing system.