Darksiders Genesis is a brand new entry in a much-beloved franchise that centers on takin on angels and demons after the apocalypse wasn’t canceled. Normally these are done from a 3rd person perspective with your one lone horsemen, so what happens when we shift the camera to an isometric point of view and give you two horsemen? You get this prequel of course. This is our Darksiders Genesis review for PC.
First thing I want to say right off the bat to all the Darksiders fans out there if you are worried that this game is Diablo in a Darksiders skin you have nothing to worry about. In truth, this plays exactly how you would expect a new entry too. Puzzle-solving, exploration, combo attacks and sweet visceral killing moves when your opponent’s health gets low, oh yes my friends this is indeed Darksiders. In fact, I often ended up getting hit by enemies rainbow projectiles simply because it really wasn’t Diablo, all that muscle memory was not helpful here.
When playing as War any veteran of the franchise will feel right at home, he’s a large beefy tank that can send smaller enemies flying across the screen regardless of if he’s on horseback or not. He is the guy you want when enemies are pouring in on top of you and you need to absorb some damage while firing off crowd clearing wrath attacks. Yes, both horsemen have Wrath attacks which are like special moves that you gain charges for by killing certain enemies and losing them as you use abilities. War also has a rangers blade attack that can be changed as the game goes on to tailor it to specific situations.
Strife, on the other hand, is the newcomer to the show and he brings a totally new angle to the formula. Guns. Playing as Strife the new camera angle allows you to think of it as a twin-stick shooter. Aiming with the right analog stick while still moving with the left is an effortless joy as you mow down hapless demons before they get anywhere near you. Should you need to engage in melee though Strife does still know how to party, he sports two smaller blades that he dual wields and can help finish off opponents or be used creatively to escape and evade as needed. Guns also have two different slots that can be customized with ammo types, ammo is not unlimited (save for the regular bullets) so unlocking and finding new ammo types is going to help you immensely as the game progresses.
As you may have noticed, this duo compliments each other perfectly. One loves to be up close and the other excels at ranged combat. Both horsemen can also mount their trusty steeds and you will need to do this in order to traverse the game’s levels, they are vast and windy. As I said exploration is both encouraged and rewarded. Several times I found myself unsure where to go as multiple paths all seemed as viable as each other, I was never disappointed whenever I went off the beaten path.
In single-player you get control of both horsemen and can swap between them at will, as you acclimate yourself to the flow of combat and learn your various combos you’ll start to realize you can actually combo with your partner character. I suspect that in CoOp play you are able to combo moves together via teamwork but alone you can chain attacks together after swapping to keep dealing the pain. In fact, the game’s ability to adapt certain elements depending on if you are in CoOp or not is a really nice touch. Puzzles and interactive elements that are clearly designed for two players to work in tandem alter themselves so you can complete solo. It’s a little touch, but one I appreciated.
Working through the game you’ll gain upgrades. Upgrades come in all sorts of flavors, most of which you can buy but a few items are discovered during the course of the game such as War’s trusty Crossblade. This allows you to access parts of the game world and solve puzzles you wouldn’t be able too or haven’t been able up until that point without them. This is a big plus as the game splits its time between combat, exploration, and puzzles very well. Having new challenges being introduced keeps these segments from getting repetitive or uninteresting.
Alongside this is also another system known as Creature Cores, this is slightly different to how upgrades word. These cores are an item that you collect from enemies you’ve slain in battle. They come in various different types and levels. The screen is broken up into minor and major cores that you then slot you’re discovered cores into. These can give you various bonuses which can also be increased if the core you put into a slot matches the type of slot you put the core into. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t when you put into practice.
Major cores are orange and you can’t slot them till you have several minor cores. See the layout of the core menu isn’t just for show. You start in the center and then as you fill it out it unlocks the slots nearby or “powers” them as the game states. This also presents an interesting problem later in the game as in order to take cores out you may have to depower a slot you already have cores into. In the harder difficulties, cores become essential as leveling them up and increasing the bonuses they give you is the only thing that allows you to survive long enough to attempt winning.
Combat at times can feel a little monotonous once you really get into the swing of it however there are so many different enemy types that no matter how many enemies I vanquished I was more than happy to take on a few dozen more. The same can’t be said of the bosses though.
Bosses are a real threat especially on the higher difficulties, mixing both your horseman skills is often the key here. While certain bosses you may realize are weak to either Strife or War respectively the vast majority will throw everything they have at you and it’s great fun. Instead of feeling like you’ve been cheated out of a tough boss fight because you melted him in a few seconds as other game comparisons may suffer from. Genesis really does deliver in this aspect.
My only real complaint about this game is sadly that of a technical nature, there is a serious problem with collision detecting in this game. More often than not I’d find myself slipping and sliding around for reasons that were nothing to do with me. Sometimes I got stuck in walls, suspended over a deadly drop with no way to get back or held for eternity inside the loot chest I just opened. I could forgive some of this except trying to get to hard to reach places is a good portion of this game and when you are afraid to try some difficult jumps because you don’t want to be absorbed or repulsed by the wall, that’s a problem.
Other than that though I really must say that the game is stellar. I haven’t mentioned the story much because in all honesty there isn’t much to write home about there, it’s really more of an excuse to check Strife and War together and have them go an adventure together. If you’ve played the series previously however you may notice some references and nods that you’ll appreciate. It’s certainly good enough to enjoy but by no means is it the main focus, though when Strife and War take a minute to have a chat during the game and it’s important the game pulls out and gives you a cool stylized comic book look.
This PC review was accomplished using a key provided by the developers.