Darksiders Genesis is continuing proof of the series’ tenacity and willingness to try new things. Set in a point in time before War’s fall from grace, War and Strife are sent on another mission to continue to protect the balance. The stoic War and the wise-cracking Strife set out on a hell of a good time to keep the balance. Darksiders‘ fourth outing is another excellent effort at expanding its lore and introducing us to the fourth and final horseman.
While previous entries have elements of other gaming greats (Zelda, Diablo, and God of War), this game is an attempt at a twin-stick shooter with melee combat thrown in. War is the same powerhouse he has always been. He is best on the frontlines taking on the hordes directly. His incredibly huge sword cuts through swathes, and he is capable of blocking most incoming attacks. Strife, on the other hand, is a gunslinger. His specialty is keeping back and blasting away, whether in single or through local and online co-op. When you venture solo, you switch back and forth between the two brothers and take advantage of their unique strengths. If one runs out of health, you turn to the other character. They will recover after a set time. While in co-op mode, each player plays as one of the brothers and can revive the other via button prompt.
The combat in this game has a delicate balance that’s easy to understand but also complex enough to keep the game from getting stale. The battle is a lot of fun. War’s sword swings are brutal, and comboing enemies into a finisher are natural to execute. Strife is a long rage gunslinger who excels at clearing the battlefield from afar. He can mix things up when up close with fast strikes, but he lacks power. When you can start changing the type of ammunition he uses, you can kill off your enemies in some pretty efficient ways. Strife also gets access to a mode called a Hot Streak where hitting enough enemies and filling up a gauge grants a super-powered version of your ammo. This is where Strife Shines for me. Simply because getting this during combat encounters elevates the enjoyment. I have found the difficulty level throughout was consistent. By exploring through the levels carefully, I found more than enough upgrades to keep the power scaling pace.
The story separates each stage as a different area of Hell. The brothers go to each one, slay their way through, and either collect artifacts or defeat a specific demon. The overall story is a bit conventional, but the dialogue between the brothers can be downright hilarious at points. Strife is funny on his own, but when his humor bounces (sometimes literally) off War and we get the benefits. Each new level is varied enough in locations. They surprisingly provides a lovely use of full-color palettes. The colors make Darksiders Genesis shine artistically. The only major gripe I have is when you get to the Boatman’s Void. All of the sound effects have a heavy echo that messes with the voice acting and various effects. You will spend a good amount of time here to find upgrades and collectibles throughout, so the echo starts to grate the nerves after a while.
Thankfully, when not in the void, all of the sound effects are punchy. They have the right amount of heft, crunch, or squish when appropriate. Darksiders has had consistent voice acting throughout the series, and Genesis, despite being a smaller scale game, is no different. The game does have a few technical issues during gameplay, such as subtitles not staying on screen long enough, occasional collision issues with platforms, and some very odd, blurry textures. Most of these oddities occur during local co-op play but do not break the game overall. Load times are relatively short, and the game keeps a mostly consistent frame rate.
Overall, Darksiders Genesis is another fun action-packed title in the series. Strife stands out from his siblings in the best way possible. The game is enjoyable in both solo and co-op and is something I can easily recommend as the campaign takes about 20-25 hours to complete.
Darksiders Genesis Review
Darksiders Genesis tries its hand at something new once more and finds more successes than fails. Strife is another great character for the series. Genesis has excellent art direction, varied enemies with fun combat in either solo or co-op play. Do not lose the balance by missing this title!