Melee attacks are where War will be dealing the most damage and subsequently players will be focusing more on melee than any other form of combat. War starts out with the large (and sexy looking) Chaoseater Sword but he’ll gradually acquire new weapons and melee abilities as you progress through the game. These include:
- Sword – War’s blade attacks are mapped to the X/Square button. They are your primary melee attacks and can be used to melee at ground level as well as launching and performing aerial combo attacks.
- Scythe – The Scythe can be purchased from Vulgrim. Its attacks are mapped to the Y/Triangle button. The scythe is a secondary melee attack source and is a little faster, but has a wider attack range (good for groups of enemies) and deals less damage than the sword. It can be used to melee at ground level as well as launching and performing aerial combo attacks.
Gauntlet – Gauntlet attacks are mapped to the Y/Triangle button. They can be used to melee pummel enemies, destroy blue crystals in the environment and do an area of effect stun attack when the button is held and released.
It should be noted that players can only equip one secondary weapon (Gauntlet/Scythe) at a time. The equipped weapons can be changed in the inventory menu.
There are numerous ranged attacks in Darksiders and these can be used in a number of ways.
- Earthcaller – The Earthcaller is acquired early on in the game and it can be mapped to a button of choice from the menu. Using this will create a cone of sound in front of War that will temporarily stun any enemies that it touches.
- Cross-blade – The Cross-blade is acquired in the Twilight Cathedral near the start of the game. It acts as a boomerang and will return to War following the throw. Players can aim the cross-blade and lock on multiple targets at once. It is also possible in some locations to lock on to flame vents and then an enemy to set said enemy on fire.
- Mercy – Mercy is War’s pistol. It is mapped to the RT/R1 buttons. It can be fired by pressing the button, or can shoot in a rapid fire capacity if the button is held down. This is used primarily for ranged attacking but does not do a great deal of damage – it is good for juggling or weaker flying enemies.
- Abyssal Chain – The Abyssal Chain is acquired in the Iron Canopy during the latter half of the game and in addition to being used as a grappling hook to traverse grapple points, can be used in combat as well. The Abyssal chain can be used to remove the armour of certain enemies and can also pull weaker enemies to War.
Chaos form is an immensely powerful ability. War has a Chaos meter beneath his health bar and it will gradually fill up as you kill enemies and perform combination attacks. When the meter is fully charged, players can transform into a giant demon with swords. Chaos Form increases damage significantly, but as a trade-off it reduces War’s manoeuvrability somewhat.
Once you have dealt enough damage to an enemy, a button prompt will appear above their heads. Hitting the button signified when in close proximity will trigger a stylish execution attack that will kill the enemy during a canned animation. Some of the weaker enemies in the game such as Zombies or Duskwings are susceptible to a finisher at any time (without the prompt appearing) – just hit the finisher button in close proximity to activate it. Usefully, during these finisher animations War is invincible, so if you are low on health it is possible to exploit a finisher to avoid taking damage.
In addition to the standard arsenal of weapons that war has at his disposal, he can also utilise objects in the environment as weapons. These include using lamp posts as melee weapons and cars, tables and a range of other items as projectiles to hurl at bad guys. It should be noted that these objects will not re-spawn once they have been destroyed.
War has several ways in which he can avoid incoming enemy attacks or to limit or mitigate damage taken. Each of these techniques has its own benefits and drawbacks and experimenting with each in different situations will help figure out the right tactic for your gameplay style.
The abilities include:
- Blocking – by blocking War can pretty much nullify the majority of standard melee attacks coming his way. This is not quite as effective when attempting to block poison, fire or magical damage.
- Countering – War receives the ability to counter near the start of the game. By timing your press of the block button to immediately before an enemy attack, War can counter with a melees wing that will also stun the recipient temporarily. This will leave them open for an additional follow up attack. Note that countering will only work against melee attacks.
- Dashing – War has the ability to do a quick dash to cover a short distance extremely quickly. This is incredibly useful for dodging incoming, unblockable enemy attacks or during boss fights where blocking is not always an option.