The Darksiders series has been with us since 2010, over a decade at this point, but it receives relatively little recognition despite its obvious qualities. Originated by comic book artist Joe Madureira working with the Vigil Studio, Darksiders is a post-apocalyptic fantasy story of Biblical proportions.
Almost literally: in every installment, you play as a member of the local version of Four Horsemen of Apocalypse: War, Death, Fury, and Strife, in order of appearance.The story revolves around the events of the original Darksiders, with DS2 and 3 taking place in the century between DS1’s apocalyptic tutorial/prologue and its main story. In the second game, Death looks for a way to clear his brother War of false accusations, while in the third Fury is on an initially unrelated mission from the Council.
Gameplay-wise, Darksiders 1-3 are third-person action games that focus a lot on traversal and platforming, usually in conjunction with solving environmental puzzles. There’s always a strong exploration element, with new locations and secrets becoming available as you acquire new tools and abilities. Meanwhile, Darksiders Genesis is a very different beast, leaning closer to a hack’n’slash, with co-op for two players and a strong twin-stick shooter vibe.
With the basis established, let’s take a look at some games that share something with the biblical post-apocalyptic adventures of Darksiders. Some are clear inspirations, others seem to TAKE inspiration, others just happen to have things in common.
|Devil May Cry 5 Standard Edition||2019-03-08||Action||-87%|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition||2014-09-30||Adventure||-90%|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of War Definitive Edition||2017-10-10||Adventure||-90%|
|Monster Hunter World||2018-08-09||Action||-79%|
|Warhammer: Vermintide 2||2018-03-08||Cooperation||-85%|
|Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition||2006-05-23||Action & Shooter||-73%|
|Legacy of Kain Collection||2003-12-17||Adventure||-|
|Battle Chasers: Nightwar Steam||2017-10-03||Indie||-91%|
|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake||2024||Action||-29%|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||2017-03-03||Adventure||-|
|Dark Souls: Remastered||2018-05-24||Action||-58%|
Devil May Cry series
Although Devil May Cry 3 (or any other DMC game, including recent DMC5) is much faster than most of the Darksiders games, there are some things in common. For instance, DMC3 features a surprising lot of running around unlocking doors and solving environmental puzzles to unlock the way forward. Of course, there are also fights with huge, demonic bosses at dramatically appropriate moments.
There are also smaller similarities. Both DMC’s Dante and each of the Darksiders protagonists can change into a mighty demonic form, for example. Both series also let you quickly swap between weapons, especially Darksiders 2, which even features special swap-combos and is generally the closest in speed and playstyle to the Devil May Cry series thanks to Death’s agility.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance
Another a bit old game, but Darksiders does have some pleasantly old-school design ideas. Legacy of Kain: Defiance seems to have it all. Combat is a vital part of the game, and you unlock new ways of killing enemies as you go along, but exploration and solving environmental puzzles is a huge part of the experience. In fact, DS 1’s Twilight Cathedral feels a lot like a Legacy of Kain location.
Although its gameplay might not be smooth by today’s standards, it’s still remarkably solid. Location geometry dynamically warping when Raziel enters the spirit world is still impressive and creates interesting environmental puzzles. Combat is varied thanks to both regular combos and enhancements, like elemental infusions for Raziel and more arcane effects for Kain.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Now for a different kind of similarity: a visual one. Battle Chasers: Nightwar shared the lead artist with Darksiders: Joe Madureira, whom you may know from his work on various comic books. The similarities in design style between both games are very clear, even though Battle Chasers goes for more cartoonish graphics, skillfully adapting the art of the Battle Chasers comic books for 3D.
The game itself is turn-based jRPG-like. You form a three-person party out of the total roster of six fighters, including a grim-faced swordsman Garrison, a war golem Calibretto and a young girl with devastating magical gauntlets, Gully. You’ll travel around the overworld, explore dungeons with randomized layouts, and look for useful synergies to defeat your enemies in battle.
Prince of Persia series
|Release date:||2003 – 2010 (the relevant range)|
While the particulars obviously differ, for one, the Prince of Persia games aren’t postapocalyptic quasi-Biblical fantasy stories, Prince of Persia and Darksiders have a major gameplay feature in common: traversal and platforming, however you choose to frame it. Even the lumbering War in DS1 did more than a fair share of jumping and wall-running, and his siblings’ Death and Fury are much more agile.
Every incarnation of the Prince can run on walls like they’re just sideways floor in order to get to wherever he needs to go, be it the next environmental puzzle or a bit of hack and slash action against whatever demons get in your way. PoP: Two Thrones also prominently features a barbed whip weapon doing double duty as a grappling hook, a clear inspiration for Fury’s weapon in DS 3.
The Legend of Zelda series
|Release date:||1986 - 2017|
The Legend of Zelda is one of Darksiders’ biggest inspirations, especially for the first game. War is basically what Link would look like in a red hood and a living in a heavy metal post-apocalyptic setting. The Legend of Zelda is also a source of inspiration for some of War’s tools, like the Crossblade or Abyssal Chain. Even the dungeons (loosely defined) are clearly inspired by the classic Nintendo series.
Of course, there are many different The Legend of Zelda games, and the comparison wouldn’t map exactly onto the Breath of the Wild line, but if you’re into older incarnations of Link’s adventures, the similarities in structure will be quite apparent, even if the stories in TLoZ have a very different tone than the particular vibe of post-apocalypse present in Darksiders. And they’re all awesome, it’s Zelda!
The Souls series
|Release date:||2009 - 2020|
The Soulsborne series has the most in common with Darksiders 3, or rather: Darksiders 3 takes clear inspirations from Demon’s and Dark Souls. In both series you accumulate souls working as a currency, and can lose them if you die before cashing them in. Similarly, you can retrieve them if you get to the place you fell without and manage to grab them. Even the combat system is reminiscent.
Of course, the Souls games tend to be a good deal harder to beat than Darksiders, and are much more unforgiving while they’re at it. The good side it that weapons are more varied, you have more fine control over your character, and between the ominous, evocative architecture (with clever map design) and subtly hinted-at lore, the Souls series is engaging both in gameplay and in atmosphere.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor & Shadow of War
|Release date:||2014 & 2017|
Shadow of War, more so than Shadow of Mordor, has a few things in common with, specifically, Darksiders 2. One similarity is that both games are technically open world, with plenty of enemies and things to find to keep you occupied. Another two things in common is the loot system giving you tons of gear to let you tweak that sweet DPS, and the progression system giving you new abilities.
In Shadow of War you play as not-exactly undead ranger Talion, who continues to fight against the forces of Mordor. This time in addition to brainwashing orcs into submission you’ll also conquer strongholds and staff them with your loyal orky hordes thanks to the expanded Nemesis system. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War relies a lot on emergent gameplay, but it’s a very FUN emergent gameplay.
The God of War series
|Release date:||2005 - 2018|
|Developer:||Santa Monica Studio|
If half of War is Link’s hoodie and propensity for dungeons, the other half is Kratos’ unrestrained violence. To be fair, Death and Fury aren’t exactly gentle either, but the way War deals with demons standing in his way is absolutely God of War-inspired. Other than the violence, the God of War games are a fun murder-trip through Greek mythology with the bonus of surprisingly many mild puzzles.
2018’s God of War especially is a game worth playing. It has outstanding production value, a great story inspired by Norse myths, and excellent, well-animated combat. 2018’s GoW takes a bold choice of technically being one, long shot, which does interesting things to your sense of immersion. It’s also more grounded, with an axe as your main weapon, rather than flaming swords on long chains.
|Developer:||KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.|
Nioh puts you in the shoes of William Adams, inspired by the real historical sailor of the same name known to be one of the first Western samurai. Set during the Sengoku period Japan, but in addition to political upheaval there are also hordes of bothersome yōkai which make things worse. Thankfully, you can handle multiple weapon types, and even got the handle on the battle use of Ki.
One of the neatest features of Nioh is the three-stance system, corresponding roughly to aggressive, balanced, and defensive approaches. It’s not exactly like Darksiders 3 Hollows, but in both cases mastering the proper form (in either sense) is the key to swiftly defeating your enemies. Nioh also doesn’t swarm you with enemies, which may appeal to fans of DS3’s mostly individual combat.
Remnant: From the Ashes
Although technically Remnant: From the Ashes is a sequel to Gunfire Games’ game Chronos, you wouldn’t need much effort to find a place for in the Darksiders universe. The game already takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth ridden by extradimensional demonic beings. It even has some of the DS aesthetic, carried over from Gunfire’s previous production, Darksiders 3.
Granted, the differences are immediately obvious. First of all, you’re playing as humans, instead of semi-angelic being empowered by arbiters of cosmic balance. Second, the game has some survival elements, mostly in the form of gathering crafting resources to help you survive the dynamically generated challenges and events the game throws at you.
You wouldn’t wage this war alone
This concludes our list of games you should check out if you liked any of the three main entries in the Darksiders series. Whether it’s combat, art style, or engaging exploration that drew your attention the most, hopefully, you’ve found a useful recommendation on this list.