Darksiders is a shape-shifting franchise. The unique sport provided a enjoyable mixture of fight and puzzle dungeons, like a fusion of God of Battle and The Legend of Zelda. Darksiders II added Diablo-inspired loot into that equation. When Darksiders III launched in 2018, it included parts of From Software program’s Souls video games. Darksiders’ experimentation continues with Genesis, a co-op pleasant, top-down motion sport. For this prequel, Developer Airship Syndicate repackages a lot of Darksiders’ signature features into a brand new container simply in time for the vacations, however this supply is stuffed with extra packing peanuts than presents.
From the beginning, Genesis permits as much as two gamers to regulate Strife and Battle (solo gamers can freely swap between the 2). Every character feels impressively distinctive in fight. Battle is a slow-moving, close-quarters tank, with many sword combos harking back to his talents from the unique Darksiders. In distinction, Strife darts across the battlefield and rains fireplace from the barrels of his twin pistols. I take pleasure in the combination of talents that each horsemen present, and Genesis usually succeeds at emulating Darksiders’ fast-paced motion from a new digital camera perspective.
The thrill of fight shortly flip to anguish as the problem escalates. Battle and Strife degree up by equipping creature cores, which increase your horsemens’ power and well being swimming pools. Cores additionally supply different added bonuses, reminiscent of giving your assaults an opportunity to revive your well being. Sadly, these enemy cores drop randomly, which suggests you possibly can combat complete enemy hordes and not using a assured reward. The issues with this method are exacerbated when it’s good to grind for cores – and you have to to grind. Every degree has a advisable energy rank, and people necessities shortly outpaced my horsemens’ talents. This compelled me to return to outdated ranges (or a repeatable fight space) to tear by limitless fodder within the hopes of discovering extra cores – an extremely soul-sucking course of.
Genesis provides some respite with a handful of environmental puzzles. In co-op, these puzzles ask Battle and Strife to work collectively to throw a sequence of switches, or use their distinctive expertise to ship electrical orbs throughout the room to energy historic artifacts. In single-player, these puzzles require slightly extra legwork, since you need to use bombs to set off a number of timed switches or make use of different environmental tips to navigate an area. Whether or not solo or with a pal, Genesis’ puzzles are by no means mentally taxing, however I used to be often grateful for a break within the motion.
The most important shift for Darksiders Genesis is its mounted overhead digital camera. The view makes it simpler for pals to play collectively, nevertheless it additionally means the motion feels distant and fewer intense. Extra importantly, massive setting objects (like bushes and cliffs partitions) can come between you and the digital camera, obscuring your view of the motion. The setting itself can be a ache to navigate, since few onscreen markers level you ahead, and the map doesn’t show your actual place. At instances, I used to be confused about the place to go, and after I turned to the map to achieve my bearings, I solely felt extra misplaced.
Genesis’ narrative additionally left me disoriented. A lot of the occasions of the Darksiders sequence have revolved across the struggle between the kingdoms of heaven and hell, which finally lay waste to the planet Earth. Nonetheless, Genesis is ready earlier than the occasions of the earlier video games and offers primarily with the political affairs between the horsemen and some demonic figures, which finally provides little to the Darksiders universe. This lackluster story appears like a missed alternative, particularly because it’s the primary probability followers have needed to management the horseman Strife. Sadly, Strife’s always jokey demeanor is off-putting, and the dialogue between him and the stoic Battle feels compelled.
General, Darksiders Genesis fails to reap the benefits of the sequence’ strengths. Since Darksiders’ inception, followers have imagined what it is perhaps wish to crew up because the completely different horsemen. Darksiders Genesis lastly provides a co-op expertise, however its offbeat design and forgettable story do not ship on the fantasy.