I’m a bit of a tragic for the Darksiders games. Even now, the series uber-grimdark comics-inspired take on the book of revelation strikes a chord with me. Even as cringe as some of the writing in the last game was, it still appeals to my inner teenager in a big way.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the series’ unspoken promise to string together a series of compelling action-adventure games about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the formula became a little stale. What’s more, likely due to the franchises’ tumultuous relationship with publisher THQ, the ambitious and oft-teased cooperative-focused installment never materialised.
Pivoting away from the third-person action elements of the main games, Genesis skews the perspective towards top-down dungeon crawlers like Diablo. However, based on my hands on with the game at this year’s PAX, Darksiders Genesis isn’t really that at all. It feels like a natural evolution of the series’ trademark action, shown from a different perspective.
Despite being pitched as a spin-off, Darksiders: Genesis is close to being the game I’ve always wanted from the series.
The perspective is new but the movesets and combat all felt immediately familiar. Having played through first two Darksiders games numerous times, controlling War felt like old hat. Most of the core controls and even combos from earlier Darksiders games have been translated over. Jumping in and slaying hordes of demons was both incredibly easy and incredibly fun.
If you’re playing Genesis solo, you’ll be able to switch between the two horsemen at any time. Otherwise, each player is getting a pretty different combat experience.
My partner for the demo (David Smith from The AU Review) was playing as Strife - the one horsemen who has yet to have a proper Darksiders game. Strife’s gameplay seemed focused on ranged combat - which is a refreshing change-of-pace for the series.
Most of the previous playable characters have been melee focused. We’ll have to wait until the full game releases to really see if he lives up to the fun and depth offered by War, Death and Fury.
Though pitched as a hack and slash, loot didn’t appear to be a major focus in the build of Genesis I played at PAX. Enemies would infrequently drop special Cores that could be invested in a skill tree for either horsemen but there didn’t appear to be anything like the loot system in Darksiders 2.
My only complaint at this point, apart from the somewhat-muddy and murdky textures in the build we played, was that Darksiders Genesis will only support two-player co-op and only two of the four horsemen. It’s so close to being the thing that Darksiders always promised to deliver and yet so far.
Still, after all the ups and downs that this franchise has gone through, I’ll take it.
Darksiders Genesis is scheduled for release on PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2019.
Disclosure - Samsung covered the cost of our flights and accommodation for PAX Australia 2019.