The announcement of another Darksiders game so soon after Darksiders III was quite the surprise. Knowing now it's not Darksiders IV or something else in the mainline games, I was even more intrigued. Any time a game enters an establish series to shake it up a bit offers the opportunity for something interesting. In the case of Darksiders Genesis, it looks like it could be the best Darksiders yet.
Check out the below video where I spoke to Joe Madureira, who returns with his vision to Darksiders after skipping out on III, about Genesis and its new take on the franchise.
As the name suggests, Darksiders Genesis takes place before the first Darksiders. The four horseman are new to their roles and figuring out exactly what it means for them going forward. Genesis is the first time we get a real good look at Strife as a horseman as well, fleshing out his personality as one of the horseman.
War makes a return too to play as a sort of foil to Strife's personality. Where Strife is full of humor and doesn't seem to take many things too seriously, War is of course pretty dour and all business. That dynamic will definitely be used throughout the game and, while Strife is definitely the focus, we'll learn more about War, too.
War is there for more than just simply someone for Strife to bounce off of, however. In Genesis, you'll be able to swap between War and Strife on the fly in combat. Each have distinct playstyle with different strengths, so you can easily find yourself in a situation where Strife may become surrounded and War's big ol' sword may be the answer to succeed.
Where War has a big sword to rely on, Strife is mostly about his guns. With the isometric view, playing as Strife is more like a twin-stick shooter when you use his guns. He has various ammo types and powerups that affect them, and if needed he can whip out some daggers to quickly dispatch an enemy or two before backing off to start shooting again.
Swapping between War and Strife was always satisfying and very snappy. Picking off enemies as Strife may lead in to new ones coming in and surrounding him, so a quick switch to War and some wide sweeps of his sword fixed the situation. Sort of like a fighting game, War and Strife have their own health bars that portions of can recover when they're not out, so that becomes part of the strategy too.
Where War is definitely more suited for taking out a bunch of enemies at once, Strife's mobility and range makes him ideal for the bigger fights. I had the chance to take on a miniboss and the first real boss of the game, and both War and Strife had their uses, but Strife's ability to keep everything at a distance was amazingly helpful.
The boss fights were challenging, hectic fun, and not something you'll likely just steamroll through. The big boss was set up in phases, and each one added more mechanics to contend with as the fight progressed. Towards the end, you'd be swarmed by enemies, avoiding a giant smashing hammer, dodging spells flung your way, trying to figure out which illusion of the boss was the real one, and a few more things I can't quite remember. It was frantic and success felt like a real achievement.
One of the things the developers were quick to point out is that Darksiders Genesis is not Diablo. Aside from the isometric view, it really isn't. Darksiders Genesis is Darksiders just with a different point of view. You won't have an inventory to manage with loot like Diablo, nor do the characters you control handle the same. Genesis is an isometric hack and slash through and through.
Enemies still drop some useful things upon their death, however. War and Strife will still progress and upgrade themselves, the main way to customize the way you play will be through Creature Cores. Creature Cores were explained to me like Materia from Final Fantasy VII. They drop from enemies and through using them you'll level up whatever modifiers they have. The more you collect, the more variety to choose from you'll have.
Darksiders Genesis is not open world, either. It's level-based and at the end of each you're scored on your performance. Scoring high can net you some cool Creature Cores and other rewards, so replaying them will definitely be a viable option.
I walked away from Darksiders Genesis extremely impressed. The isometric view only seemed to enhance Darksiders' gameplay, from the combat to the platforming and puzzles. From just the one real boss I faced off, I can't wait to see the rest, as it was extremely engaging and fun. If you like Darksiders, or if you like some good hack and slash gameplay, you should keep an eye on Darksiders Genesis.
Darksiders Genesis releases later this year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Google Stadia, and Nintendo Switch.
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