Darksiders Genesis Gets Back to the Roots of the Series
If you're a Darksiders fan, Genesis is worth getting excited about.
As a longtime Darksiders fan, Darksiders III left me pretty disappointed. The third entry in the series wasn’t terrible by any means, but I wanted it to be so much more than what the final product was. Despite my disappointment at the time though, I was really hopeful that THQ Nordic would double down on this franchise and continue to give us more installments in the future.
Enter in Darksiders Genesis, which is the first spin-off entry in the series that is slated to arrive later this year. Genesis is a top-down action game that allows you to once again play as Darksiders 1’s protagonist War and, for the first time ever, Strife, the lone Horseman that has yet to have his own mainline entry. I was able to check out a portion of the latest installment in the series this week at E3 2019 and left very pleased by what I was shown.
Upon first looking at Darksiders Genesis, it’s easy to immediately draw comparisons to games like Diablo. With an isometric camera and combat that seems to be similar to the famous loot-based franchise, my own natural inclination was to expect Darksiders Genesis to fall in-line with games of this Diablo-style. Once I watched it played for a few minutes though, it became readily apparent that Genesis is a Darksiders game through and through just from a different point of view.
Darksiders Genesis plays like the first game in the series, especially when utilizing War. Many of War’s moves from the original game are back here in Genesis. As for Strife, he’s able to utilize both melee and long-range combat through the use of his guns. Shooting with Strife works in a twin-stick format and you’re able to cycle through different types of ammo to damage foes in various ways.
Level design also seems to be much more in-line with past Darksiders games than I expected at first, too. While there are areas where you’ll just beat up baddies before advancing onward, there are also sections that focus on platforming or traversing around the level in various ways. Speaking of levels, Genesis will be broken up into different levels with a single hub world uniting all of those different stages together. This is a first for the series, but it makes sense given the game’s smaller scale.
And even though I didn’t see a whole lot of it, I was told that most of the levels in Darksiders Genesis will contain secrets and other goodies that you’ll have to rummage around to find. Some of these hidden avenues will only be able to be accessed once you find specific gear in later stages. By obtaining these new items you’re then encouraged to go back and revisit older levels to find all of the secrets that they might contain.
The other major element of Darksiders Genesis is that of co-op. Yes, you and a buddy will be able to team up as War and Strife to work your way through the game. While this is a simple addition to the game at first glance, it’s the way in which cooperative play is being implemented that makes me pleased.
When joining a friend to play through Darksiders Genesis together, progress will carry over for both individuals in each of their respective playthroughs. Furthermore, one player who is further into the game and therefore might be more powerful won’t be limited from playing with someone who may have just started the game. And while you’ll be locked in to playing as War or Strife depending on who you or your co-op partner choose at the start of a level, there will be multiple checkpoints throughout larger stages that give you the opportunity to swap characters. It’s easy to get some aspects of co-op wrong in games like this but for the most part, Airship Syndicate seems to be doing things in the way that I hoped.
The demo that I saw at E3 today ended with one of the game’s boss fights and it looked like a ton of fun. The foe that War and Strife were taking on was like a demonic version of Scrooge McDuck. The entire fight took place on top of a money pit filled with gold coins and the enemy would frequently dive in and out of the coins before jumping out to attack. As the fight progressed, this demon began adding even more means of dealing out damage to the point where what was seen on the screen was chaotic.
I honestly had pretty reserved expectations before I saw Darksiders Genesis but now it has quickly become more on my radar. I’ve always had a soft spot for this series and while I didn’t think this spin-off would be able to match up to those of the numbered entries, what I’ve seen of Darksiders Genesis so far has shown that it has the potential to fill the void left by Darksiders III.
Darksiders Genesis is set to release at an undetermined date in 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Stadia.