Continuing to sporadically play Darksiders III.
Before a game’s release, designers and PR can make a number of claims and excuses that just cannot be verified. It feels like only the major stuff gets called out post-release, and then it is often predicated by upset players. I wish game sites would hold designers to task for the minor stuff. I don’t mean stirring up a mob, just tracking the person down and pointing out their original answer doesn’t hold water.
The reason for this is remember that previously mentioned senior designer’s excuse for not having a map in Darksiders III, when he was trying to come up with some reason other than just blindly copying what Dark Souls did. One of his claims was that Darksiders III’s world was designed so that you could navigate by landmarks, specifically the giant tree in Haven.
As you might guess, that claim doesn’t hold water. The maps of Darksiders III aren’t large open affairs like the overworld of Darksiders II; they are enclosed and winding affairs. Most areas have no such visible landmarks. Even if such landmarks were present, they’d be nearly useless for navigation because meaningful locations are connected by twisting and winding paths. Even if you see that you need to go “forward”, the path you can actually take to get there probably is more like going to the side, then the other side, then back, then crawling through a curving tunnel, then taking a winding path up, then slow curving to the side before doubling back, and after you’ve lost all sense of direction you emerge at your destination.
Also on the subject of level design, I’ve noticed another issue where the game’s design kind of clashes with the established Darksiders formula. Once you get certain abilities, you can open up optional shortcuts between previously explored locations. This does show off how the world is interconnected. It is also fairly pointless in a game that has a fairly user-friendly fast travel system (the Serpent Holes available through Vulgrim). The times that you do legitimately want to travel through previously explored locations, it is either to go through previously blocked paths or to grind the enemies that respawn after you die, both of which are easier to do if you don’t take previously explored shortcuts.