Darksiders Genesis Review — Back to Where it All Began
With its engaging combat and entertaining characters, Darksiders Genesis offers a fresh twist to the series that shouldn't be missed.
Xbox One, Switch, PC
Review copy provided by the publisher
From its debut in 2010, the Darksiders series has continued to reinvent itself. With Darksiders Genesis, it comes out the gate as a Diablo-esque hack-and-slash with dungeons galore. For a series that has mainly been built on third-person action, the idea of mixing things up this much might turn some people off. Thankfully, developer Airship Syndicate delivers a breath of fresh air for the franchise with Genesis thanks to the game’s fun combat, clever puzzle design, and addictive leveling system.
“Airship Syndicate delivers a breath of fresh air for the franchise with Genesis thanks to the game’s fun combat, clever puzzle design, and addictive leveling system.”
Darksiders Genesis serves as a prequel to the first Darksiders. Genesis‘ story follows Strife and War, two horsemen of the apocalypse that are sent on a series of missions which have them fighting massive demons gifted with immense power from Lucifer. One of the main highlights of the game is seeing Strife and War interact. They serve as foils for each other, with War being tough and gritty while Strife is more fun and is constantly cracking jokes. Their interactions are always entertaining, if not funny at times.
In addition to our two protagonists, we’re introduced to several supporting characters that give tasks and sell items you can buy with souls, the in-game currency you obtain throughout the story. Items you can buy include upgrades, ammo, new moves, and potions among other things. There’s no shortage of souls to collect and you’re bound to have plenty to spare after certain missions.
Along with the entertaining protagonists, Darksiders Genesis provides a fun combat system and gameplay. Players can choose between War and Strife, the latter of which is playable for the first time in the series. Rather than being a third-person action game like other games in the series, Genesis takes a Diablo-like approach with its isometric view. While this may turn some fans off, this new perspective works and offers something fresh for the series and makes it more fun to play. War and Strife have their own playstyles and abilities for players to utilize. War is a heavier character with his sword while Strife is quicker with his blades and gun. For Strife’s gun, there are different ammo types you can unlock. Each enemy encounter I found to be fun and frantic and each battle is different from the next. You can also switch back and forth between War and Strife which helps prevent scenarios from getting stale.
Like the Diablo series, players go from one area to the next, solving puzzles, entering dungeons, and finding a ton of loot. The environments you traverse are varied with plenty of space to explore and chests to find. Hidden within each world are massive doors that can be opened with Trickster Keys which can be purchased from the game’s hub area or in a chest. Once you open it, you can explore a new area and collect special loot. It can be easy to spend so much time exploring everything and earning all the collectibles.
As you progress through Darksiders Genesis, you earn new items and abilities for both characters that aid you both in battle and during puzzle sequences. For War, one of the items you’ll receive is the Vorpal Blade, a weapon that can lock onto multiple enemies at a time. This weapon is also used during puzzle sequences and can lock onto a brazier to light it up. As for Strife, one item he gets is a void bomb which activates portals. Some puzzles may have you using void bombs to grab a bomb, throw it through the portal, and it’ll explode. These items and more are earned throughout the campaign and they’re utilized for puzzles that can be challenging and clever. Additionally, items like the Vorpal Blade can be used in combat. There are also abilities you can earn as you explore each level which adds another combat option.
If new items and abilities weren’t enough, players also can earn items called Creature Cores throughout the story. These items offer upgrades to War and Strife such as increased strength and health. In order to get from one mission to the next, the game suggests you have a certain power level. You earn these through purchasing them in-game and from defeating enemies. Additionally, these can also be upgraded by defeating certain enemy types. It’s an addictive system that makes you want to earn more Cores and level them up.
In terms of negatives, there were several times where Darksiders Genesis would slow down and the frame rate would drop. Environmental textures also popped in from time to time. Besides technical problems, there were also times where it was hard to keep track of where I was when there were several enemies on the map. Additionally, the game’s camera also has issues with it being hard to see where you’re at sometimes. There would be moments where I was fighting an enemy or opening a chest and the camera would get obscured by a wall or something else.
“Regardless of if you’ve played every Darksiders game or this is your first one,Darksiders Genesis is worth playing.”
Even after the game’s 15-hour campaign wraps up, there’s more to do. You can replay story chapters to earn more loot and collectibles. There’s also an arena mode which has you fighting waves of enemies with a boss battle coming about at the end. A harder difficulty is also unlocked which tests your skills. Additionally, you can play the game both online and through split screen co-op. That being said, you can also play it solo and switch back and forth between War and Strife freely.
Regardless of if you’ve played every Darksiders game or this is your first one, Darksiders Genesis is worth playing. The characters and combat remain fun and exciting to play even after the credits roll. While some enemies can be annoying, combat never gets dull and new items you earn along the way always make encounters fresh. Amongst the other big titles launching this spring, Darksiders Genesis is one that shouldn’t be missed.