Posted by Alex Jordan on

Like... of The Force?

Technically, the cloud tag on this post should be "first and last impressions."

I like Zelda. I like Joe Madureira. I like new intellectual properties. And everyone seemed to be gushing about Darksiders, so I decided to give it a try when I noticed the demo for it on Xbox Live.

The demo really, really failed to impress me. In fact, the damned thing got uninstalled after about 10 minutes. Maybe it was the complete lack of introduction or explanation (the demo drops you into a non-tutorial section further in the game), but I was just turned off by the whole affair. It seemed to have the "shoehorn everything in!" controls that bedeviled Prototype. The combat was the same overstylzed crap that makes me continue to ignore all new entrants in the genre. And despite my love of Madureira, the artwork and game world didn't seem particularly inspired.

However, given everyone but me's appreciation of the game, I'm assuming most of my distaste stems from the designers' aggressive application of Generic Grit(tm). Yes! Darksiders is gritty! Oooh! You play as the Horseman War, who's come to Earth to do something against really bad dudes and I really do not fucking care, okay? I stopped playing Prototype because it buried all the excellent Hulk: Ultimate Destruction gameplay under a layer of grit. I resold Gears of War within two weeks because it was just meandering grit and a boring cover system. And just because Kratos likes violently executing his enemies, I will never care a fig for the God of War series.

I don't like Generic Grit. I don't like Generic Rage. I'm 26, and most violence-swearing-and-tits marketing strategies haven't applied to me since I graduated from high school. If your game is gonna be gritty, at least have it make a point or be useful. F.E.A.R. put grittiness to good use. But don't just add grittiness because you think it'll be cool! Everyone and their mom has gritty ideas for games. Someone suprise me with elegance and sophistication in game design! That will catch me off guard.