Genre: Action Adventure Hack and Slash
Developer: Airship Syndicate
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: December 14th, 2020
Edited by DarkLunarDude
So another Darksiders has been released to ravage the gaming world with Darksiders Genesis. With each Darksiders game, you play a different horsemen of the apocalypse and with this one is no different. With this release, you play as Strife the cowboy-esque gunslinger of the four horsemen as well with War the heavily armored and great sword wielder is coming back from the first Darksiders. Developed by Airship Syndicate Entertainment, the company decided to do something different with the series and made it into a twin-stick shooter with hack and slash like properties. At first, I was skeptical at the major change as I saw the top-down perspective that has been presented to me. Though Darksiders are known to change up the formula with each rendition of the series this was more than just changing a few aspects of the game, this was a whole redesign of the mechanics at first glance. At the beginning of the game, you see this beautifully styled cutscene in the form of a comic book strip of Strife walking into a grand hall full of demons with a greater demon with three heads towering over him as if he was trying to portray his insignificance. As the demon threatens him Strife shrugs off the threats as the demon gets close to him counting down from three to get Strife to run, the three-headed demon didn’t even get to two as Strife blows off each of the heads exclaiming “Two…One… I got bored….” giving off a vibe of how the horseman carries himself and his personality.
After the initial cutscene to get to the main menu the player has the choice of making his game public so others can join in as War, or they can make it private so players can grab their friend and join in on the carnage, or if you don’t have the internet or a PS subscription to play online it can be put into an offline mode where the player can switch from Strife to War at will. Summoned by the Charred Council, War and Strife have been given an assignment after what happened to Eden to investigate the king of lies and deception Lucifer that has been suspected of upsetting the balance. After the cutscene, you are instantly on horseback on his horse named Mayhem (which given his name makes complete sense of course) as you ride into the dusty hell shooting little demons on horseback that gives you a major advantage at the beginning because of the mobility that the horse gives you but after the first obstacle the player must get off of his horse to traverse the mountainous terrain. After getting on foot the controls for the horsemen are just as you would imagine for the genre that it is, use the right-hand stick for aiming and use the left-hand stick for movement while you use the right trigger to fire Strifes dual pistols, whereas in for War you use a giant shuriken later in the game and are more melee heavy than his brother.
With the game catering to more run and gun tactics, Strife has a beginning ability that is passive called rampage mode as you shoot your enemies a bar grows until it is filled and when it is filled Strifes damage output increases exponentially for a while and depending on the ammo that is chosen it could even change the ammo itself. Speaking of which, Strife gets different ammo types as the player progress the game and can get up to 8 different ammo types that have special effects with each of them although getting into the end of the game I found myself only using half of them if that because either they did minuscule damage or were outright useless for at least a single-player experience. The other abilities that Strife and War get come from their wrath bar that the player gets from either hitting an enemy or when a player kills an enemy its possible to get a yellow lurcher that gives the player a boost of wrath. Each horseman gets three abilities in although only one of the abilities will be received by doing the main quests as the others are either obtained by searching for them in stages and they can be cleverly hidden by obstacles that are buried within them.
Speaking of which, every horseman gets three skills within their playthrough to navigate through puzzles though the player will have those obstacles early in the game to tempt them to go back and explore the level again which in turn the player can get more lurchers to spend on getting more skills and power-ups from everyone’s favorite capitalist demon Vulgrum! The player can use those lurchers to purchase trickster keys, health increase pieces, and special cores that you can’t acquire anywhere else. Although later in the game the player will get another merchant to buy other things like skills, ability increases, and new combos for both Strife and War. The unfortunate part for some players a lot of their purchases require more than lurchers to buy power-ups but also need a currency that is spread out among levels called boatman coins that can be obtained one of two ways.
The first way is to find them across the stage that is hidden within the level or behind various barriers that require the skills for later in the game, the other way would be completing challenges that every level has that are unique to that level such as kill X special enemy in that area or do not kill X enemy when fighting a boss. But the real upgrades are not just from the health boosts and gaining more skills to help you with combos but from the cores that were mentioned beforehand, with each creature that is defeated it has a chance to leave its core behind that you can slot in a grid-like menu that will increase either your life, attack, or your wrath, though others can add special effects when performing special actions or even increase the number of lurchers you get from kills. To make most of these cores your grid has one of three symbols on them and are separated into major and minor cores, each of the symbols represents the three of the stats that can be boosted but does not mean it will directly affect that stat, for example, a core that can summon a hell hound but it only appears a % amount of time after a kill When you match the core with the symbol on your grid the effects of the core are increased thereby making the player much more powerful.
After the first level is completed the player will have a “Hub” that they will return to after the player has finished with the level that they played the void. Fortunately, when the player uses the serpent hole to choose the stage they want to enter the game will show the player how many power-ups, boatman coins, trickster keys, and trickster doors that the stage has and how many the player has obtained in the level. This is a great boon to a completionist that wishes to get 100% of the game so the player doesn’t have to aimlessly search every level for that last upgrade. Unfortunately, the only map that you have to find these items is the menu map that will is quite irritating to navigate, I feel that could help the player immensely for map navigation to find these items would be a mini-map on a corner so you wouldn’t have to go back and forth to the map to find little things that can be a pain to find. Although getting power-ups and getting every little bonus can be hard to find getting from point to point for the main storyline is relatively easy to go through and that is easy to follow, though there are points in the game where the player can find a silhouette of both War and Strife that glows yellow that will initiate a conversation between the two horsemen that will give some insight of the personality and thoughts of their past and of course their mission, although it felt like War was only added into the game to just make the game two players because of the genre of the game this is geared towards to run and gun tactics. Still, story-wise the writers did give a valid reason why War is joining his brother on his quest that is a relief from a narrative perspective.
The game has also added an arena mode after you get to a certain point in the game where the player gets put into a giant circle and the game spawns specific enemies and a specific number of them each wave until wave 10 where it ends. After the carnage is done the player will earn arena points where if enough is earned the player can claim anything from more lurcher souls, boatman tokens, health/wrath power-ups, and more. After a few arena stages, I felt like this was just filler content or just farming to get more powerful in which can be a good thing for higher difficulties but it is just that… its filler content to get stronger for the next stage. After the main storyline of the game is finished the player can unlock infinite mode where the player kills waves of demons and angels until the player runs out of life or the life of both the horsemen if played on a single player.
One particular does come into mind when you play this game for fans that all of the original voice actors from the previous games are in this game which gives this game a sense of depth and familiarity that a lot of sequels tend to lose over their series so it is much appreciated; however when the player is in their void which is their base of operations everything will echo, especially when the characters talk which ruins the voice acting in the long run since there is quite a bit of conversation that happens there. Regrettably, there are more annoyances beyond that area that include the animations breaking when you go to execute an enemy that has less than 20% of their life, seeing the enemy go through the floor as I shoot the ground at nothing overwhelms me with disappointment on how epic it could have looked. And the worst of all are the areas that the player can get stuck in between rocks, locking the player into place until the game detects you being out of bounds and respawns the player and gives me flashbacks of the times in The Elders scrolls trying to climb mountains and getting stuck in those games.
Overall though I did enjoy the game as a whole even though twin-stick shooters are not my cup of tea though I am slightly disappointed on how many bugs that can be seen throughout the game, the irritation of a constant echo within your base, and the query of why is war even in the game other than making the game cooperative.
- Original voice actors from the previous games.
- Fast pace run and gun shooting will leave you on the edge of your seat.
- Well done comic like cinematics.
- The narrative is consistent with the Darksiders universe that fits perfectly.
- Obvious bugs that some can be humorous at times but a lot can be frustrating.
- The lack of a mini-map will make the player check the menu map constantly for power-ups.
- Strife feels within his element with the game type but playing as War can feel awkward.
AlexKnight2005 gives Darksiders: Genesis a Drastik Measure of 7.5 out of 10 (75)
Darksiders: Genesis has been released since February 14th and can be purchased for the PS4 for $39.99 or on Steam for $29.99. I have to give the developer some credit for doing something different with the series but the series has always had something special with each release but I feel like they made too much of a change within the series. The developer could have done a Devil May Cry style with Strife and feel like that would have worked better. Another word of advice as well, if you are ever going to do an echo effect do it in an area that is unique and isn’t visited often, you will get the impact that you’re looking for but will not be common enough to get in the way of the story. The most disappointing thing that I’ve mentioned time and time again though is the animation glitches that needed to be worked on before launch, I can understand having glitches that happen but for common actions that happen regularly just looks bad overall. So for the fans of the series, this would be good for another story to learn about Strife and a bit for War and even then I would wait to get a good sale and for those who are looking for a good twin-stick shooter this would be a decent one to get into with good story but still would wait for this game to go on sale.