The video game industry is rife with franchises that aren’t necessarily the biggest, most revered thing on Earth but aren’t all that small either. Back in the day these games used to be referred to as being of “Double-A” quality, commonly referencing titles that shot for the moon quality-wise yet never quite reached the heights of, say, the Call of Dutys or Assassin’s Creeds of the world. A great example of this is Darksiders, an action-adventure series with strong hack-and-slash elements that was once thought to be lost when publisher THQ went under in 2013. It came back in a big way with Darksiders 3 in 2018, but now will do so again when Darksiders Genesis comes to consoles on Feb 14th.
Whereas other entries in the Darksiders series served as sidequels with narratives that ran parallel to the events of the first game, Genesis takes a different tact and winds the clock back to serve as a true prequel. It once again sees the return of the horseman War as a main protagonist for the first time since the original game, joined alongside his brother Strife who makes his series debut here. Darksiders Genesis actually already released in December of last year for PC, but needless to say the wait will have been worth it for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4 players. There are several ways Genesis differs from the games that came before, and here we’ll run through just how.
The first major shakeup Darksiders Genesis introduces is an entirely new gameplay perspective. You see, Darksiders 1 through 3 all tweaked their combat mechanics to offer players something unique each time, but they all primarily played out from a traditional third-person perspective. Darksiders Genesis, however, has been worked out by a much smaller team who have wisely chosen to swap this viewpoint to a top-down angle you might expect to see from something like Diablo.
Despite this significant change fans of the series should rest easy, knowing that Genesis is still very much a Darksiders game in the traditional sense, tasking you to hack and slash your way through hordes of angelic and hellish enemies while exploring secret-laden levels and solving environmental puzzles. One huge benefit of this top-down view is that you’re much more likely to see what each level you enter has to offer; whereas before rooms and bonus items might be hidden from you, in Genesis you maintain a good perspective of the map the whole time.
Darksiders Genesis is a great example of a developer, in this case Airship Syndicate, not biting off more than it can chew, flipping the viewpoint while retaining all the hallmarks long-time fans expect to appeal to veterans and newcomers alike. Better yet, as mentioned earlier, the story takes place entirely before the events of the first game, so Genesis can function perfectly as anyone’s first Darksiders game.
The end of the first Darksiders promised us a game where horsemen would finally fight side-by-side. Who knew that it would actually take close to 10 years and four games to get us here. That’s because Darksiders Genesis no longer focusses on just one playable character, but two. The first is a familiar face in War, the protagonist of the first game who focusses on up-close melee combat thanks to his mastery of the hulking Chaoseater sword. However, players that prefer dealing death to enemies from afar will absolutely want to play as Strife.
Genesis marks the first time we’ve been able to play as this mysterious fourth horsemen, with Strife only appearing briefly via extended cameos before. He plays entirely differently to his brothers and sisters due to his preference of pistols rather than melee weapons. Taking control of Strife, therefore, sees Darksiders Genesis play a lot more like a traditional twin-stick shooter as a result. He can even acquire different ammo types as the game progresses, adding a nice extra sense of depth.
Together, War and Strife make for a good team when playing through Genesis’ story. And while the entire game can be played solo with you switching between the two depending on preference, Darksiders Genesis fully supports two-player co-operative play – a first for this Hellish series!
One of the franchise’s necessary evils, the demon market-seller Vulgrim returns for Darksiders Genesis. He’s here in between missions as usual to sell you all manner of weapon upgrades and temporary buffs, but he also plays into a mechanic that ties into the game’s new progression system: Creature Cores. These slot into three of stat trees unique to Strife and War, giving you the choice to improve their Health, Attack and Wrath powers. You acquire these creature cores by killing new enemy types, with unique ones dropping from end-level bosses.
If you like the sound of Darksiders Genesis and don’t need to wait for our official review, why not take a look at the lowest price for the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. It officially releases on Valentine’s Day, so don’t deny yourself this new take on the cult classic series:
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