Saturday, 16 May 2020


After Darksiders developer Vigil Games disbanded in 2013 due to THQ's bankruptcy, the future of the hitherto successful franchise was uncertain. Publishing rights eventually fell to the new THQ Nordic, which finally launched Darksiders 3 last year. Unfortunately, due to mixed reviews and mediocre sales of this third installment, the franchise's return also seemed to be the end. However, THQ Nordic still has faith in the series and now comes with Darksiders Genesis. This spin-off game may not be the sequel fans were hoping for, but it does have potential to breathe new life into the franchise.


Where the events of the previous three Darksiders games were still parallel to each other, the story of Darksiders Genesis takes place before these events - the Biblical word 'Genesis' also means 'origin'. Again, the story revolves around the horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are tasked by the Council to maintain the balance between heaven and hell. Strife is introduced as the fourth rider, after we were introduced to War, Death and Fury in earlier parts.

Strife is portrayed as the most uninhibited and comical of the four horsemen, using two revolvers as his main weapons. Unlike the other riders, Strife does not always take everything seriously and his personality is suspiciously reminiscent of Deadpool, Cayde-6 from Destiny or many other happy notes at often inappropriate times. That stereotype seems a little forced at times, but overall, Strife is a refreshing character in the hellish Darksiders universe.

A difference from the previous games is that Strife is not the only rider players can get started with in Darksiders Genesis. War, the main character from the first Darksiders game, is also playable. The two are commissioned by the Council to find the demon king Lucifer, who tries to upset the balance between heaven and hell by giving his power to some powerful demons in hell. During this adventure, the conflicting personalities of War and Strife regularly provide entertaining dialogues.

The biggest change in Darksiders Genesis is the position of the camera. Where previous parts were played from the third person perspective, the perspective in Genesis has been moved to an isometric perspective from above. Hence, at first glance, the game looks a lot like dungeon crawlers like Diablo, but that's not the case. Instead, Genesis stays true to the old-fashioned hack 'n slash gameplay with platform and puzzle elements we've come to expect from previous Darksiders games.

Genesis consists of sixteen chapters that provide approximately fifteen hours of content and, apart from a few boss fights, are designed as elaborate, semi-linear dungeons. The dungeons can often be completed in multiple ways and, in addition to the main mission and bosses, also contain secrets to discover. There are various objects to collect and secret safes that can only be opened with so-called Trickster keys.

Since previous levels cannot be completed 100 percent until players unlock a certain skill later in the game, they are encouraged to complete the different chapters several times. For players who like to get the most out of the game and want to find all the hidden routes and treasures, this is definitely worth it, but the average player will probably skip this part.

The fact that the dungeons are so extensive is partly due to their verticality. Having multiple levels may provide more room for exploration, but in combination with the isometric camera angle, the controls sometimes seem to work against you. For example, we have fallen into the abyss more often than we dare to admit when making a simple-looking jump and maneuvering from beam to beam while hanging is sometimes unnecessarily difficult.

SHOOTING FROM A DISTANCEDuring gameplay, you can switch between Strife and War anytime to play with a simple button combination, allowing combat to be approached in different ways. Where Strife can target enemies from a distance with different types of ammunition, War serves as the tank that smashes demons up close with his trusty Chaos Eater sword. Especially in the earlier chapters, however, there is little reason to switch to War, because it is simply easier to shoot safely from a distance with Strife without taking any damage. The different playing styles of the characters are well matched in the co-op mode of Genesis, in which two players each control one of the riders.

The various skills of War and Strife, unlocked one at a time during gameplay, can be enhanced through Creature Cores. Enemies sometimes drop these Cores and can be used in the skill tree. This should take into account three possible categories of the Cores: Attack, Wrath and Health.

A Core that matches the available place in the skill tree gives the most optimal upgrade in the relevant category to be able to deal more damage, to activate an extra effect on a skill or to take more hits. Although upgrading the characters does not offer difficult choices and does not change the way of playing, players who want to finish the game on the highest levels of difficulty will have to puzzle with this system for a chance against the then brutal demons.

For a game like Darksiders Genesis, it might be good that the average player doesn't have to think long about complicated upgrade systems, but just old fashioned hack can slash and slam demons. Still, the game with the collectible log, secret Trickster vaults, and hidden treasure chests certainly offers enough content for completionists. In addition, players who want to get the most out of the game and achieve the game on the apocalyptic difficulty level will be forced to grind Creature Cores into previous dungeons and play around with the upgrade system.

No comments:

Post a Comment