BY DEAN MOSES
Game: Darksiders Genesis
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Rating: M for Mature
I arrived late to the Darksiders series bandwagon, but when I finally picked up the first game, I fell in love. Its unique blend of action, Zelda-esque puzzle solving, and hellish plot captured my imagination. Now, with a new spinoff, we are taken back to the beginning with Darksiders Genesis. However, things are not quite the same as before.
The Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Darksiders follows the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Death, Fury, and Strife, all playable characters in the previous outings aside from the latter, who makes his debut here. Strife teams up with his brother War, making it the first game in the franchise to allow character switching and co-op play. The narrative incorporates both the pairs’ constant banter and witty remarks as they battle demons and monsters—Strife is brimming with clever jokes while War is stone-faced and matter of fact. This is by far is the most entertaining aspect of the game in terms of the writing. Yes, the story is engrossing, yet developer Airship Syndicate opted to replace transitional cut scenes with comic panels. Although some may like the graphic novel aesthetic, to me it feels somewhat cheap and lazy.
Takes Two to Tango
The biggest change Genesis makes is with its camera placement. We are given a bird’s eye view of the action, akin to that of Diablo or Titan Quest. Incredibly though, the programmers have somehow managed to keep the basic game play intact. War plays like War, keeping his entire move set. You can use his gigantic sword to skewer enemies, not to mention the ability to call upon his horse and trample foes. This brings us to Strife. If War is the tank of the team then Strife is the zooming motorcycle. His moves are faster albeit weaker. He is equipped with two pistols, which can be upgraded with various ammo types, such as rapid shots that can be charged before being unleashed to cause heavy damage.
This game’s most alluring feature could well be the option to play cooperatively with a friend, and in my mind, this is the best way to experience it. Impressively, when playing split screen, you are not tethered to your ally, you can venture off exploring and collecting up-grades to enhance your abilities while your partner does away with a throng of bad guys.
Where’s the Textures?
We reviewed this title on the Nintendo Switch. Of course, this console is not as powerful as its contemporaries, yet with that being said this little handheld home system hybrid has been capable of producing some impressive ports over the years, one only has to see Doom or Wolfenstein to be reminded of this. It is disappointing that the
Darksiders Genesis’ visuals are strikingly barren on floors and walls. I found myself believing the game hadn’t loaded all of its assets at certain points, so I waited and waited to no success. Character models retain their charm and appear well rendered, despite the zoomed-out viewpoint.
Despite its new take, Darksiders Genesis fits well into the established universe and lore. Undoubtedly, there will be those who won’t care for the spinoff’s isometric view and role-playing elements. With all of this out in the open, if you have the patience to sit down and try something new, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with just how much fun can be had here.