It's been a decade and we at last get to play as Strife, the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse so let's see how much heat he's packing.
Darksiders Genesis is a significant departure for the series. The first game was a wonderful action-packed adventure while the second focused more on the adventure side of the equation. Then, Darksiders III tried to go back to the franchise's roots yet it also took a few too many steps back. Finally, this latest apocalyptic journey features a bird's-eye view camera, twin-stick shooting gameplay, and the ability to play cooperatively with a pal either locally or online. When I first started it, I was impressed at its tight gameplay and the new perspective really clicked with me as I'm a big fan of similar games such as Nine Parchments. However, I was kind of disappointed in Strife's personality as he's nothing more than a stereotypical snarky comic book character. Seeing as his brothers and sister are serious in their own unique ways, this left a bad first impression for me and unfortunately, I never felt like Strife's personality redeemed itself.
When it comes to gameplay, Darksiders Genesis poses a classic blend of combat, puzzles, and platforming which will feel right at home for fans of the series. At first, I relished the gameplay and looked forward to experiencing all sorts of new challenges as the campaign progressed. With that in mind, allow me to say that after a few hours, it became apparent that everything is rather homogenized in that you'll be going through the same motions over and over again. Heck, even the combat doesn't feel particularly consequential as all you need to do is dodge while unleashing a barrage of attacks whenever you have an opening. Other Darksiders games feature enemies and bosses that force you to consistently change up your strategy and use different tools to take them down. Here, there's little variation. The same can be said about the puzzles which are mostly simple and frankly, some can be downright tedious.
Although I find Darksiders Genesis' gameplay to be somewhat disappointing, it's by no means bad. In fact, it can be highly enjoyable and it's best suited for short play sessions as you gradually chip away at the chapter-based campaign so that it doesn't get stale. Speaking of which, it'll take over a dozen hours to complete the main story and about 30 to master everything. Specifically, there's a lot of collectibles to be found in missions that you can revisit with newfound equipment which may allow you to explore previously inaccessible areas. There's also an expansive arena mode where you can fight some dangerous foes as well as a nifty level-up system where you assign creature cores to slots in order to provide boosts. Collecting and maxing out all of those will take a very long time on its own.
Last but not least, you can play Darksiders Genesis cooperatively with a pal as one player controls Strife and the other controls War from the first Darksiders game. Both characters play similarly although Strife excels in ranged combat and War has a vast array of melee abilities and attacks. These differences make co-op all the more rewarding as you'll find yourself taking out enemies in ways that your pal cannot which mixes up the gameplay substantially. This is especially true after you collect a wealth of upgrades and additional abilities as that makes each character stand out even more distinctly from the other. Needless to say, I recommend playing it cooperatively.
Even though I'm a tad disappointed with Darksiders Genesis, there's no denying how solid of a game it is. Plus, it's fantastic that its cooperative component is handled as well as it is because playing it with a chum is definitely the way to go.
- + Tight controls with a lengthy campaign and a nifty new bird's-eye view perspective
- + Substantial amount of extras to master
- + Can be a lot of fun in co-op
- - Combat isn't as visceral as it was in previous Darksiders games
- - Puzzles are easy and can be tedious
- - Gameplay gets repetitive a few hours in