After the somewhat lukewarm reception to Darksiders III (which was better than many of the reviews would have you believe), the Darksiders really needed a shot in the arm to reinvigorate the franchise and prove that there’s still some life left in the old girl. This comes in the form of Darksiders Genesis, which isn’t a direct sequel but rather a side project/prequel starring old favourite War and horseman-we-haven’t-played-as-yet Strife. And the result? You know what, it’s actually pretty good!
Visually, Darksiders Genesis looks a lot like Diablo III. Isometric, top down view, colourful characters, vibrant spells and attacks plus chests to unlock. Although it has the aesthetic trappings of a looter shooter, it’s much more like a regular Darksiders game, with large explorable areas, powers to attain, bosses to battle and locations that become explorable after newer skills are learned. You can switch between War and Strife on the fly, but Strife is easily the most fun of the two. With his customisable guns, snappy one-liners and slick agility, Strife makes crossing large areas fun and can reduce hordes of enemies to twitching meat with much alacrity. War, on the other hand, is a slower, beefier bloke who can use his massive sword to deliver bulk damage but isn’t quite as nimble. Switching between the pair on the fly is a joy, particularly during some of the nastier boss fights, and adds an element of strategy to the proceedings.
Darksiders Genesis looks modestly gorgeous and plays well, but it’s clearly a lower budgeted entry. Cut scenes are mainly stills or motion comics and the game itself lasts 10-15 hours (compared to the main series games reaching 30+). The thing is, it’s a fun ten hours, replete with clever mechanics, superior level design and some cool-looking monsters. It’s a good time, not a long time, and paired with a co-op partner either locally or online, Darksiders Genesis is a colourful, violent hoot.