An Action Adventure game from Vigil Games and published by THQ, Darksiders (originally Darksiders: Wrath of War; the subtitle was dropped before the game was released) puts you in the role of War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When the Creator gave the land of Eden to Man, the outcast Nephilim were outraged and fought the archangels. Only four Nephilim survived: Fury, Strife, Death and War. The Charred Council made them its agents charged with maintaining the Balance Between Good and Evil: the Four Horsemen. A truce was brokered between the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell: the Seven Seals were created to be broken when the Kingdom of Man was ready, sparking the End War where the Four Horsemen would ride across Earth, restore the balance and forge the pact anew.Skip ahead to the present day, where the Earth is being pelted by a meteor storm...only it's not meteors, but demons. The angelic Hellguard arrive to fight them and War appears in the middle of the battle. But the other Horsemen are not there and the archangel Abaddon, leader of the Hellguard, states that neither should War since the seals weren't broken. An incredibly powerful demon appears, kills Abaddon and nearly kills the Horseman. Hauled before the Charred Council, War stands accused of starting the End War early and siding with Hell. War claims he was only answering the summons of the Seals, but they are still intact. In lieu of being executed for violating the balance, the Council agrees to send War on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to hunt down those responsible, be they from Heaven or Hell.A sequel has been released, featuring Death as the new playable Horseman.
Tropes regarding Darksiders are:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: All over. Sometimes justified as you see evidence it's an Absurdly Spacious Subway System.
Action Command: Press B to destroy your opponent with extreme prejudice.
Action Girl: Uriel, which is funny, since in Christian tradition Uriel is a male angel.
Anti-Hero: War, full stop. Yeah, he pays lip service to the Balance, but Samael points out that he's really just in it for revenge against whoever is responsible for his disgrace.
Apocalypse How: Class 4, to the point where just about the only recognizable lifeforms are crows and spiders. And the spiders might not have survived at all but are just Silitha's children. And the crows seem to be there solely because they are soul carriers in many mythologies (partly explained also in the sequel).
Artificial Limbs: According to the back story, War lost his left arm when he rebelled against the Charred Council and attempted to stab Fury, only for Death to step in the way (like that could stop Death) and slice off his left arm. Now War's got a really big metal arm in its place, not that he needs it to swing his BFS.
The Atoner: Azrael, who feels profound guilt for his part in starting the premature Endwar that crippled the forces of Heaven, lead to Abaddon's corruption, and the extinction of humanity. He helps out War in his quest to restore the Balance knowing full well that War will likely kill him for his transgressions after matters with the Destroyer have been resolved.
Attack Its Weak Point: Most bosses have one that must be hit in order to stun it, then you can wail away.
Attack Reflector: Mentioned artificial left hand, which serves as buckler/gauntlet.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Mercy, a four-barrel demonic handcannon, is pretty much the weakest of your projectile weapons, even after getting the upgrades and equipping the appropriate skill boosters. The only thing it's really useful for is against the Ash-Worms (and crows).
Big Applesauce: There are no explicit geographical markers, but it's also a city with a lot of overpasses, an extensive subway system (whose cars resemble the MTA), and absolutely enormous infrastructure that's located in America...so the list of cities it could be is fairly short.
Subverted, however, in War's overall behavior: he's far from a mindless killing machine, sparing people who either don't deserve to die or are genuinely repentant for their misdeeds, and seems genuinely mournful when he discovers all of humanity has been killed.
Bodycount Competition: When Angels disrupt War's and Boisterous Bruiser Ulthane's fight, they start competing over the amount of Angels defeated as they make way to latter's place. A reward will be had if the player wins.
Bottomless Pit: Post-apocalyptic Earth is riddled with these. Falling down most of them will cause you to lose some health and reappear nearby. Other pits will instantly kill you. The game doesn't tell you which ones. Have fun with that.
Bonus Boss: Wicked K, a zombie-like Wicked with a top-hat, a cane, and a British accent. He can block all of your attacks except for block counters. You can fight him up to four times, for a Soul reward.
Boss Arena Idiocy. Griever, you stupid worm... how many times do you have to get smashed with a flatbed cart to realize all you have to do to stop War's attacks is to knock the cart off its tracks?
Boss Banter: Used all the time, as nearly all of them like to taunt you during the fight, sometimes to the point of annoyance.
Boss Subtitles: But not on all the bosses, interestingly. The Chosen and a couple of other opponents get them.
Camera Lock-On: One of the trigger buttons act as one, making it easier to keep attacking a specific target.
The Cavalry: The end of the game has War breaking the seventh seal and thus summoning what appears to be the other three horsemen. Uriel states that War doesn't stand a chance facing the Charred Council alone and War replies "Not Alone". As three meteors appear in the sky similar to the one War arrived on Earth in.
Chainmail Bikini: Notably averted with Uriel. Her armor is... form-fitting, but covers everything and provides excellent protection, at least judging by what War puts her through.
Colossus Climb: Straga is big enough that you need to use portals to navigate to his weak point.
Council of Angels: Heaven is run by angels alone. A Creator is mentioned in the backstory, but it's not clear whether he's aligned with Heaven, as there are older and more powerful creatures than angels. Also, if Twilight Cathedral is any indication, humans had an angel-worshiping religion.
Cutscene Power to the Max: After defeating Straga, War shoots a portal at his head, teleports inside Straga's skull, and then cuts his way out. In actual gameplay, you are restricted to shooting portals at certain tiles.
Dark Is Not Evil: Somewhat averted due to the fact that the Horsemen are all simply doing their job and do have an honor code with no major grudge against mankind. However, it doesn't mean they haven't done some questionable things in their past and present.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Played straight with The Watcher, who never stops treating War like dirt, and completely averted with everyone else in the game. Other characters, even his enemies, treat War with much more respect and/or fear. Heck, the entire plot happens because every major player including the Council is scared shitless of the Horsemen.
Dynamic Loading: The areas connecting named locations are usually long and winding corridors with some enemies, simple puzzles and hidden items to mask their true purpose. Played painfully straight in case of Serpent Tunnels, which allow you to travel to nearly any location and consist of series of platforms suspended in a void and nothing else (there are collectibles hidden in three of them, though).
To be fair, the Apocalypse was only officially meant to occur when the Earth was "ready" and we assume is capable of defending itself fairly. We clearly were not at this point yet (hence the reason for the game) and were suitably annihilated.
Exposition Fairy: The Watcher serves this role, as well as making sure War doesn't get out of hand.
Eye Scream: The first fight against Straga ends with War impaling his left eye with his sword.
Four-Fingered Hands: Most Demons only have four fingers on each hand. Angels, Humans and Horsemen have the normal 5 for some reason...
This actually makes an amazing amount of sense when you think about it. Humans and Angels come from the same Creator so it makes sense that they'd share some similarities. The Horsemen are Nephilim who, according to religious lore, were the children of Angels and Humans and in Darksiders are children of the Creator meant to guard the humans when they were first created. Where the demons come from isn't clear but it seems to be that the Creator races all share vaguely humanoid appearances which makes sense if they were made in His image.
Slightly changed in Darksiders II, where the opening reveals that the Nephilim are the children of angels and demons instead of children of the creator or children of angels and humans.
Genius Bruiser: Let's just say Ulthane is a lot smarter than he looks. He's an Ultimate Blacksmith and is one of the three conspirators behind the plan to trigger the premature Apocalypse in a bid to destroy the forces of Hell.
Genre Savvy: War is sharp enough to realize it would not be a good idea to reveal the secret he is given in a vision from the Tree of Knowledge - that the Charred Council set up part of War's quest of revenge in order to force you to hunt down those responsible for breaking the truce - specifically not to the one person that has the power to kill him on a whim, The Watcher.
A God Am I Abbadon makes several claims to such to both Azrael and the player. Not surprising seeing as who he's named after.
After War gives him all 4 Chosen's Hearts, Samael says to War that his restored powers make him "like unto a god".
Gold and White Are Divine: This is the color scheme of most of the angels and their angelic gryphon mount that the protagonist steals from them.
Gondor Calls for Aid: War enlists the help of disgruntled former employees of the Destroyer. The games ends with War summoning the other three Horsemen to sort out the Charred Council it appears.
Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Abyssal Chain can pull War to climbable surfaces and let him swing from certain points. It also can be used to pull small enemies to War, or him to larger ones. Very useful against those sword-wielding daemonettes, which it knocks off their feet.
High-Pressure Blood: Averted for most of the demons, but with higher level skill boosters, played hilariously straight with the weakest enemies, zombies: they erupt in a fountain of blood after one hit.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Subverted with Straga at the end of the Apocalypse. You're very much expected to beat him, but War ends up losing to him anyway due to having his powers sapped.
Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The main character is one of them. The others are coming in the next game. Two of the traditional Horsemen have been replaced: Strife replaces Conquest and Fury replaces Famine. Word of God is that they were thinking in terms of the War, Death, Pestilence, and Famine set, and they didn't think Pestilence and Famine were suitably militant and dynamic for an action game series.
Hulk Speak: Straga talk like this. Straga like to say own name.
Humans Are Special: Not only was the birth of our race part of the reason why the Charred Council forced a cold war between Heaven and Hell (so that we could become powerful enough to take on both), but apparently there was something about us that earned us Earth's title of "The Third Kingdom". And our extinction in the beginning of the story is one of the major reasons why the Charred Council is pissed at War. We're physically weak in comparison to other races, but for some reason we're important.
Infinity+1 Sword / Sword of Plot Advancement: The Armageddon Blade, the only weapon capable of harming The Destroyer. It's stupidly powerful but you can't attach enhancements to it, and it replaces the Chaoseater for the rest of the game once you obtain it.
Improvised Weapon: Don't let being a Horseman of the Apocalypse stop you from swinging telephone poles, parking meters, cars, chairs and pianos at flaming demons. In fact, there's an Achievement for killing 150 enemies this way, known as "Improvised Kills".
King Mook: The second boss fight, the Phantom Guard General, looks like a bigger version of the wussy Phantom Guard Soldiers you've been slaughtering - and summons several of them throughout the fight.
Last of His Kind: The Horsemen are the last survivors of their ancient race (the Nephilim). The rest were killed off in the war that consumed their kind. The Charred Council took in the four and charged them with enforcing the Balance.
Retconned in Darksiders II, where not only the Nephilim are the offspring of angels and demons (and therefore, not exactly as ancient as Heaven and Hell), but the Horsemen themselves (with some help from Heaven) killed off their own race as their first mission from the Charred Council.
Justified Trope: Considering that said Nephilim were going on a mass world-destroying spree that would have destroyed the Balance and humanity was next on the list of their victims.
Lost Forever: Subverted. Despite Azrael's words to the contrary, you can go back to Lost Eden at any time after your first visit.
Love Makes You Crazy: Uriel blames War for Abaddon's death and insists on hunting him down despite his protests that he was summoned, which he was sorta. And only after swearing a death oath and being soundly defeated by you does she finally listen to reason.
Meaningful Name: Knowing what title is usually tacked on to the end of Abaddon's name (or, alternately, what it means in Hebrew) ends up revealing a major plot point long before the plot brings it up. This may have been intentional given how much the game is based on the actual biblical Apocalypse.
"Uriel" means "God is my light/God is my fire". And in tradition, Uriel was the angel that cast man out of Eden and also holds the keys to the gates of Hell. Pretty snappy for the commander of the Hellguard.
Missing Secret: Due to a bug, one of the chests in Drowned Pass never registers as opened. When a player returns there with an upgrade that reveals all collectibles on map, they will see a chest that's nowhere to be found. And since there are chests that appear only when you do some totally unrelated action, like destroying all hydrants, cue players doing things like killing all the monsters three times over (since there are no destructibles on that map).
Money Grinding: If you want these shiny weapon techniques or fury techniques, you'll have to do quite some.
Just one enemy type averts this: a subspecies of flying stirge which generates electrical fields which can shock you coming out of the killing animation. Given that they're one of the weak species which exist to be killed en masse to heal you (and produce currency instead if not killed by Action Command), finding this out can be unpleasant.
A Mythology Is True: Judeo-Christian book of revelations type stuff is very real, and will probably kill you.
Mysterious Backer: Sammael is an archdemon from hell so powerful that the destroyer had him imprisoned and reduced to an extra. He uses what power he does have left to help War, the protagonist, so that War will help him get his powers back.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Watcher ends up severely pissing off War when he finally tries to kill him. This ends up not being a bright idea since if he didn't want to try to destroy the Charred Council before he sure does now. Also, once he had the Seventh Seal, he should've performed a Villain Exit Stage Left and let Uriel deal with War instead of just hanging around to gloat. What does he get for his trouble instead, you ask? Just a really bad case of death.
Nigh Invulnerable: In the comic, the Horseman Death. He once shrugged off being impaled by War's Chaoseater. Ironically, the sequel made him much less durable but more mobile than War.
Noble Demon: War, with his code of honour, can classify.
Samael ends up as one as he fulfills his end of the bargain.
Ranged Emergency Weapon: War gets a gun and a boomerang for long-range work, but there's no question that he's a melee character; neither of them can do much of any damage, but there are a few situations where you're forced to use them on enemies you either can't reach, or don't want to be standing next to.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: You engage in one of these in an attempt to clear your name and regain your rightful place as an enforcer for the Charred Council. The games ends with a sequel hook where War summons the other three Horsemen so, it appears, they can shows the Council what's what.
Having an angel named Abaddon being killed by a being called "The Destroyer" is funny on multiple levels, considering Abaddon is Hebrew for "the destroyer" or "the place of destruction" and is actually supposed to be a demon. Averted, since Abaddon is the Destroyer after all, and he ends up being so after his "fall".
The most well known interpretation of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are that of Conquest, War, Famine, and Death; Pestilence replaces Conquest in some versions. However none of the names of the horsemen are explicitly stated in Bible except for Death. The names Conquest (or Pestilence), War, and Famine are taken from popular interpretations of how they're described in the Bible. Granted, they are very famous interpretations but none the less the source remains open to new definitions. Thus, it could be argued that having the white Rider as Strife and the Black Rider as Fury is in fact as valid as any other rendition making this anotheraversion of the trope.
Sand Worm: They happen to live in a desert created from the ashes of all humanity (or perhaps, from all living things in the planet, possibly including all fauna and flora).
Scary Impractical Armor: Considering everyone present in this game is a superhuman at least, the armor they wear isn't impractical as such, but still fits the spirit of the trope.
Scenery Porn: Eden definitely qualifies. Anvil's Ford is quite pretty too.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Samael. An unusual use of this trope, since you have to free him and restore his full powers to continue your quest against the Destroyer.
Sequel Hook: The game ends with War killing The Watcher and destroying the Seventh Seal thus freeing him and the other Horsemen to give the Charred Council what's coming to them. However, the hook seems to be for the third game, not the second.
Shout-Out: Many possible shoutouts in the items (Do the Crossblade and Abyssal Chain remind you of anything?), but one particularly obvious one. Late in the game, you get the Void Walker item. It creates one pair of portals at a time (though only at specific locations), through which you can jump. The first portal you fire is orange. The second is blue. Sound familiar?
Oh, it doesn't stop there. There's the Empty Vessel, which you can fill with souls of enemies so you can use it later (Empty Bottle). There's the Hoardseeker, which reveals the location of all the treasure chests in a dungeon (Compass). There's the Mask of Shadows, which lets you see hidden objects (Lens of Truth). And... You have to collect shards of the Armageddon Blade before you can fight the final boss (The Triforce shards)
And after the aforementioned reunion with your horse, the demons watching you fight off their buddies in a gladiatorial arena decide to all just attack. The Watcher has this to say:
Wakeup Call Boss: It's not too difficult to figure out how to defeat Tiamat. Actually doing it, on the other hand, can prove extremely troublesome if you haven't stocked up on healing items beforehand.
Using the Crossblade the entire time? Death of a Thousand Cuts actually works, and is somewhat practical if you charge it up first. Hardly took a scratch.
You can defeat her conventional way without taking any damage. This requires good reaction with dodge and familiarity with her arsenal, but absolutely nothing different from any other bosses or even tough mooks.
We Can Rule Together: Abaddon makes this offer to War with the same deal that he accepted to become the Destroyer. War's response?
War: I choose what once... a coward did not.
Who Dares?: One of the reactions that ice knights give when the player approaches them is a snarly "Who daresssss?"
Worthy Opponent: War considers Uriel one of these. So much so that he refrains from finishing her off after defeating her in a sacred duel to the death because he doesn't want the last of Heaven's honor to die with her.