The Darksiders series has always been underrated ever since the first game in the series came out for last generation hardware back in 2010. After ten years, we now have three main games plus a spinoff called Darksiders Genesis. The latter game is now out this year for consoles, but is it a worthy addition to the franchise? Let’s find out in our Darksiders Genesis (Xbox One) review.
The first three games in the franchise were all pretty good as they were all third-person action RPGs. The first game was cool because it was all about action, while the second game in the franchise remains to be my favorite one to date. This is because the second game was pretty much a Zelda clone as it featured horse riding and lots of dungeon exploring.
The third game eventually came out after the original THQ company closed down, although it was a much different experience compared to the first two games. The third game took lots of inspiration from the popular Dark Souls series and featured combat-heavy gameplay. Not to mention it was also the hardest game released to date up to that point.
Now a fourth game has been released published by THQ Nordic and developed by a new studio called Airship Syndicate. Though Darksiders Genesis is still a hack and slash style of action games, the game is played through an isometric top-down camera viewpoint. If you have played any of the Diablo games before, you should already be used to this particular camera style.
Despite the game being played from a top-down view, Darksiders Genesis still retains many of the elements that made the other games so great. However, there are some new features added to this fourth game in order to separate it from the rest.
Before I begin talking about the gameplay, let’s talk about the plot. Darksiders Genesis is actually a prequel that takes place several years before the events of the first game. In this game, the main heroes are War and Strife with the latter making his playable debut in this game. The pair has to save the world from certain destruction from an evil being called Lucifer. Lucifer isn’t easy to find as the pair will have a hard journey trying to save the world!
The thing I like most about the gameplay is that there are now two playable heroes and each of them plays differently from one another. War is pretty much the heavy melee guy and he plays just like he did in the first game that came out ten years ago. As for Strife, he’s more into guns as you can mow down enemy hordes from afar using lots of different bullets that he can attain in his journey.
If you are playing the game in solo mode, you can change between the two characters at any time which I thought is a neat feature. Each character has their own health bars and skill trees and it pays to play as both of them. I actually preferred playing as War most of the time, although I found Strife to be really helpful decreasing the health bars of the many bosses that you have to face. As you gradually progress further into the game, new skills and abilities get unlocked to help further your journey. This includes a pretty cool boomerang-like weapon for War that also can be used to solve puzzles. As for Strife, he has a special portal bomb that is super helpful whenever you get stuck in a certain dungeon.
Both characters can also upgrade their attacks as well. War has many cool looking combos he can dish out while Strife has access to different varieties of ammo. Some ammo can weaken certain enemy types so it pays to play around to see which one is most effective in combat. That said, special ammo is not unlimited like Strife’s default gun so you will need to use it when you really need it.
Visually, Darksiders Genesis looks great even from a top-down view. The levels are not linear because they are very large and you can even explore different areas while riding on a horse. There are also lots of jumping puzzles and other things you have to figure out as not every path is already unlocked for you. The puzzles are actually quite clever as the dungeons are similar to the ones featured in the previous games.
However, there are times that the top-down camera viewpoint can be a pain in the neck. Sometimes during boss battles, some enemies can be hidden from view. Not to mention the view is very limited if you’re playing the game in split-screen co-op. I also encountered some bugs where the main character will get stuck inside the environment for some reason!
Another issue I had with the game is the unhelpful map. It rarely tells you where you need to exactly go and sometimes I’d get lost in the shuffle. I wish the waypoints would have been more helpful because there were too many times I did not know where to go next.
Some other players might also think the game is quite difficult. Sure you can pick up health every time you kill enemies, but the bosses can be a very tough challenge. The game is slightly easier if you play with a real person, although this will depend on how skilled your partner really is.
Darksiders Genesis Review – Verdict
Despite some minor issues with the map and camera, Darksiders Genesis still felt like a proper Darksiders game even though this is technically a spinoff. The gameplay is top-notch thanks to the fact that you can play as more than one character. It might be a challenge for some gamers, although it’s still fun to play if you have another person helping you out.
[Editor’s Note: Darksiders Genesis was reviewed on the Xbox One platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]