Darksiders – Fun with Jump Canceling!

Darksiders is probably in my top 5 X Box 360 games of all time. It’s got a solid story, incredible voice acting, and some of the most awesome aesthetics I’ve ever seen courtesy of the inimitable Joe Madureira, who happens to be my favorite comic book artist. Sure it might feel a little derivative, it’s nothing if not an homage to the Zelda, God of War, and Devil May Cry games among others, but once you really dig in you’ll find it’s very much its own monster. Well what’s all this about jump canceling you wonder? Well let’s talk about combat for a second.

The combat system in Darksiders is relatively simple on the surface. You attack your enemies with different weapons until they’re dead. Easy. If you’re looking for a little more flare you can switch between weapons during the fight to extend your combos and do more damage. However there is another way to rack up massive amounts of damage without much effort, effectively turning every hit you land into a touch of death combo for your enemy. The trick is understanding how to jump cancel.

This is easiest to see while you’re using War’s sword. Hit the attack button and then as War’s going through his sword slice animation hit jump. You’ll notice that War immediately transitions from the sword slice to a jump. This is what is known as a jump cancel. Normally jump canceling a move negates its recovery, making it less punishable by sending you airborne. In this case, at least while using the sword and Tremor Gauntlet, you can jump cancel the start-up, animation, and recovery of nearly any attack in War’s combos.

However the weapon that benefits the most from jump canceling is The Harvester, the scythe War’s got on loan from Death. Unlike with the sword and gauntlet, it is only possible to jump cancel the scythe’s recovery frames. At first this might seem like a disadvantage, like “You can only jump cancel recovery frames? Lame.” But check out the video below and you’ll see why the scythe is by far the best weapon in the game.

See how simple that is? Did you notice how quickly, how easily I cut down those fools? Now when you jump cancel the sword you get horizontal slashes that don’t hit smaller enemies. The jumping scythe attack hits almost any size enemy, the spiders in the Iron Canopy are a little tricky, covers 360 degrees around War, comes out the second you leave the ground if you time it right, think instant overhead, and keep enemies in perpetual hit stun leading to touch of death combos on nearly every War-sized foe in the game. The sword and gauntlet simply pale in comparison.

That’s not all folks! Jump canceling can also be used to increase War’s movement speed. I’ve included a video of jump canceling the dash scythe attack, but it works even better with the Tremor Gauntlet. Using the gauntlet you can actually have the attack come out but jump cancel the entire animation, causing damage without actually performing the dash attack! Check out what I do with the Harvester below –

So there you go! The notation for the jump canceled dash movement looks a little something like this: RB+Y, A, RB, RB+Y, A, RB, rinse and repeat. Just running with War can be incredibly tedious, especially in the later stages of the game if you’re trying to collect wrath and life shards and you can’t use Ruin. This method helps to speed up all that meandering while keeping your fingers engaged. It’s not necessary in the least, but holy gosh is it more fun than just chugging through some of those dungeons.

So there you go! That’s jump canceling in Darksiders. I’m really hoping to dig into the combat system in Darksiders II. I’m assuming they didn’t rebuild it from the ground up so if we’re lucky we’ll have this sort of stuff in the new game as well. I hope you guys enjoyed this little bit and if you haven’t played Darksiders, well what are you waiting for? Let me know what you think and if you thought this was cool at all, I’m always looking for feedback.