Vigil Studios' Darksiders is a game that was nothing short of surprising at E3. With barely any marketing behind it, the game has been under many a radar. Well, consider that no more, because we ripped the lid right off this sucker, and found a highly enjoyable melange of gameplay inside.

For those of you unaware, Darksiders stars War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Vigil couldn't divulge much on the story, but we know that War is out of the picture for an indeterminate amount of time, and in returning, he finds the Earth is void of all human life. In the wake of the loss of all humankind remains a war between the forces of Hell and Heaven. And War is stuck in the middle, without his fellow Horsemen and without much aid. In fact, the guy has even lost his horse!

We were able to play several different areas of the game, where both War has his horse and before he reclaims it. Out of all of the scenarios, our favorite was actually the game's first boss fight. We battled the Queen of the Bats on top of a roof in the middle of the night, and the sheer size of this Queen of the Bats was impressive. Then, we started to get into the boss fight and it was like pure magic.

So you basically pick up these bombs laying around the rooftop, throw them at the gigantic bat and watch as they stick on her body. Then, you pull out War's massive shuryken-like projectile, target one of the lit torches, then target the bomb, and release (think Link's boomerang). That will bring her down, and then you can unload on her with your massive sword. Other notable gameplay segments included an on-rails sequence while riding on the back of a large Griffin (not of the McElroy variety) that was highly reminiscent of Panzer Dragoon, and fighting in a dilapidated street against two of these things. Those things are brutal.


Fighting all of these enemies is fun, as the combat in Darksiders works really well, and just plain feels good. You lock onto enemies with the L trigger, which causes the camera to zoom out behind War so that you get a good view of the action and enemies around him. This is great because you mostly encounter large groups of enemies, and with the camera zooming out in this way, you aren't susceptible to being attacked from blind spots. And, while locked onto enemies, you can use the RB button to dash around and dodge enemy attacks, making it incredibly easy to navigate the battlefield and feel like a total badass. The button also doubles as your counter, by the way, which is accomplished through a well-timed press upon an enemy attacking you.

Throughout our hour-long session with the game, we were constantly impressed by it. Where had this game been hiding, and why haven't we heard much about it? The important thing is that we know about it now, and we're looking forward to checking out more come January 1.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.