Don’t let the top-down perspective of Darksiders Genesis distract you into thinking that the newest entry in the beloved franchise has deviated too far from the series’ roots. This is a Darksiders title through and through, and the new look is just a slightly different coat of paint on a game that plays almost exactly like previous entries in the franchise.
To start with, combat in Darksiders Genesis is extremely satisfying. Each of the two playable characters in the game, War and Strife, have their own unique fighting styles, Melee and Ranged respectively, and they both feel really good to play as.
War, the protagonist of the very first Darksiders game, is back in full form here and he plays exactly as he did all those years ago. He retains his original melee moveset, with a few new additions, and it translates really well with this new perspective. His attacks feel very weighty and powerful, with a large arc that’s excellent for decimating multiple enemies at the same time.
This is the first we’ve seen of Strife however, and he makes his debut with a playstyle that is focused on ranged attacks that make use of 7 different types of ammunition for his guns. These range from simple ammo types like the Charged Shot, to the Beam Shot, which is essentially a laser, all the way to the Gravity Shot which creates a singularity that pulls enemies towards it. Strife can have any two of these equipped at the same time, and he also has access to a fairly rudimentary melee combo for very close quarters situations.
Strife also has access to the HOTSTREAK, which is a meter that fills up as you kill enemies. This automatically activates when the meter is full, and while active it both increases the damage different ammunition types do as well as visibly change their appearance. So for example: the Lava Shot transforms from a singular fire bullet into a flamethrower during HOTSTREAK.
Players can seamlessly switch between War and Strife during single player, and each of them comes in handy during different situations. The game is best enjoyed however in co-op, where two players can each take control of one of the Horsemen, and endlessly slaughter hordes of demons together. I never thought I’d say that I preferred playing a Darksiders game in co-op, but here we are.
Also new to Darksiders Genesis is the Core system, which allows you to upgrade your Health, Attack and Wrath by equipping different Cores that occasionally drop from both regular and boss enemies. You match different types of Cores to their corresponding slots, and It’s a bit complicated to explain but the game rewards you for grinding a bit and upgrading these cores, and in turn you get massive bonuses to your stats.
The game also brings with it the series trademark puzzle platforming sections that require making use of different tools, abilities and quick thinking. These are still fun, but they don’t translate nearly as well to this new top-down perspective as the combat.
The lack of a movable camera here means that a lot of the perspectives are a bit too rigid, and it results in situations where you’re missing simple jumps, falling off of narrow pathways and just generally missing grabbing on to ledges. It’s frustrating, but not a deal breaker in any way.
Now as far as the story goes, the Darksiders games have had some fairly straightforward plots that are nestled on top of a deep and complex lore, and the same is true for Darksiders Genesis. The events of this game unfold even before the first Darksiders game, and follow the two brothers War and Strife as they begin the hunt for the demon king Lucifer, who plans to upset the balance maintained by The Charred Council.
War is still his same old grumpy self here, but Strife is the complete opposite with is playful and aloof demeanor. The two horsemen play off each other brilliantly, and apart from the laughs, there are genuinely heartfelt moments in the story as the brothers try to come to terms with their role in the massacre of the Nephilim on Eden.
In conclusion, Darksiders Genesis is a fantastic new entry into the Darksiders franchise. The combat is fast and weighty, Strife is a welcome new protagonist, and the game just works really well in this new perspective. The platforming can be a bit frustrating at times however, but it’s still a very small price to pay for this fantastic game.
Darksiders Genesis is out now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and the PC. It was developed by Airship Syndicate and published by THQ Nordic. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The review code was provided by the publisher.
Darksiders Genesis Review
Darksiders Genesis is a fantastic entry in the franchise that manages to retain what makes Darksiders so special while also introducing a completely new perspective. If you’re a fan of previous entries in the series, do yourself a favor and play this game.