I was disappointed in Darksiders III. By lifting gameplay from From Software’s Dark Souls series, Gunfire Games proffered a non-linear adventure filled with respawning enemies capable of dishing out devastating amounts of damage against a heroine meant to be the epitome of white hot ethereal rage. Instead, I got an obnoxious main character, confusing open world design, combat that didn’t quite understand what made games like Dark Souls so captivating, and rampant, game-breaking technical problems. I never realized how forgettable Darksiders III was for me until I received the latest DLC for review. I’m all for giving things a second chance so I was curious to find out the state of Darksiders III through it’s newest content, Keepers of the Void, and see if anything had been done to make the game better than it was at launch.
The answer? Kinda sorta. Keepers of the Void is a side adventure meant to be played alongside the main story as opposed to endgame content. The DLC is accessible after Fury gains her first Hollow, the special magic that imbues her weapons with elemental abilities. A visit with Vulgrim, the demon shopkeeper, turns into a lengthy request to help him rid an invading force from the Serpent Holes, the network Fury uses to fast travel to any previously visited place on Earth. Although Vulgrim is a little cagey about the details, he promises great rewards if Fury is able to fight off whatever plagues Limbo.
Keepers of the Void differs from the mainline experience of Darksiders III because it is exclusively built around environmental puzzles. I’m always down to interact with new people and see new places but when you get right down to it, the DLC doesn’t offer much of either nor does it make an attempt to change your mind about the game as a whole. You’ll either continue to love Darksiders III or remain unimpressed like I was. The puzzles, I think, are to blame because they are surprisingly repetitive. They are designed around triggering spheres to move platforms, activate thermal air spouts to launch you in the air, create climbable surfaces, and manipulate time all through the Hollow magic you learn from the Lord of the Hollows. Your time spent in the first wing of Limbo - the fire wing - pretty much sets the stage for what to expect for the rest of the DLC. The three other wings introduce new mechanics that are mostly rehashes of those you played through the first time around. In particular, puzzles in the Force and Storm wings have you hunting down silvery orbs detached from their housings which amounts just another extra step needed to shift platforms around. At first, I thought this was a nice variation to the environment design but seeing it used again and again made them actively boring to work through. It would have been cool if each wing was designed around a specific element that you’re forced to use. To me, the repetitive nature of each area reveals the possibility that Gunfire Games ran out of ideas.
I wasn’t much of a fan of Darksiders III’s combat so to see it scaled back in favor of platforming and puzzling does make Keepers of the Void a bit more palatable. With that in mind, don’t come in expecting any memorable encounters. Most of the creatures in Limbo are fairly easy to take out while their bigger and more capable brethren are better adept at trying to kill you. I almost preferred the battles against the larger and bulkier monsters because they have a better repertoire of combat abilities. Even with its challenging enemies and puzzles, Keepers of the Void isn’t that much fun to play. Apart from the boss encounters, there are very few things that actually challenge Fury during her stay. You’ll make use of Salvation, the angelic boomerang weapon gifted by Usiel earlier in your adventure, to hit switches and enemies off in the distance on your way to the boss room where a silent golem awaits Fury’s... uh, fury. And when the golem lies dead at your feet, you’ll do it all again three more times. The honest truth is that I was bored with the content fairly quickly. The puzzles don’t offer much of a payoff and defeating bosses gives you new subweapons to play with that’ll probably be more useful to you during New Game Plus.
Keepers of the Void offers a nice change of pace to Darksiders III’s From Software-enriched action experience. If you’re playing the game for the first time or enjoying the New Game Plus mode that was added back in April, the added zone should provide a nice break from the main story (especially on harder difficulty modes). To that end, I just wish the puzzles were more exciting. If nothing else, I was pleased to see that the area of Limbo runs very well and at no point did I run into issues that plagued my experience last year. As I mentioned earlier, Keepers of the Void is not going to shift the needle when it comes to your already cemented opinion of Darksiders III. And after almost one year later, I still want to go back and play the original, and more superior, Darksiders.
Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.