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Darksiders Genesis takes on Diablo in a new direction for the series

Darksiders Genesis takes on Diablo in a new direction for the series

The horsemen of the apocalypse are back, and this time they’ve brought a new and exciting perspective to the demonic series we know and love. Developed by Airship Syndicate, Darksiders Genesis is still a hack-and-slash RPG, but this time things have all gone a bit Diablo with an overhead camera and multiplayer for its dungeon-crawling action.

A new dimension of hell

For the Darksiders lore fans of the world (do you guys and gals actually exist?), the plot sees us sent us back to the start of the series, ready to uncover the events that led to War’s imprisonment and the early onset of the apocalypse on Earth. There’s a lot of Council grumbling once more, but this is a fine excuse to introduce the last member of the horsemen, Strife, to the series. He and his brother War are sent to uncover what Lucifer, Lord of Hell is planning and put a stop to it, which means slicing and shooting through hundreds of demons as you carve a path through Hell. 


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Thankfully, the often grandiose overarching story of the Darksiders gives way here to a fun back and forth between the two leads, with Strife a comical, sharp-witted counterpart to War’s brooding bluntness. These attitudes are reflected in their movesets, with War delivering heavy, impactful strikes while the lithe Strife dodges his way around arenas, unloading various types of ammunition from his twin guns. Build up enough damage with either horseman and you’ll be able to unleash their Wrath abilities that overcharge their abilities, letting them unleash a range of deadly attacks for a short duration.

Those who’ve played the original Darksiders will feel right at home controlling War as his moveset has been faithfully recreated from the first game, though there are plenty of new strikes to learn as well. You’re able to swap between the two horsemen at will, or bring both into battle by playing the entire game in co-op. And yes, you can play with a buddy on the couch beside you. It’s not often these days that a game supports local co-op, which makes it all the more welcome in Darksiders Genesis.

There’s plenty of room for customization during battle too, which should help to keep the combat feeling fresh from start to finish. You’ll unlock key powers as you progress and explore through the game, but Darksiders Genesis also implements a Creature Core system that lets you embed upgrades into slots for each character. These modify their abilities and overall power to your tastes, enhancing your attacks with extra effects. The bonuses can be as simple as a health boost, or as odd as having a percentage chance to summon a friendly minion with each hit. It’s safe so say that tinkerers will find plenty to enjoy here as they craft the perfect builds for both War and Strife.

Darksiders, not Diablo

If this is the first you’ve heard of Darksiders Genesis, the camera perspective and a quick glance at combat may have you tricked into thinking that Airship Syndicate has conjured up a Diablo clone before lazily slapping another license on top. But this is still very much a Darksiders game, right down to the terrain exploration, brutal finishing moves and various puzzles you’ll encounter while forging a path through your foes. These latter tests start off simple — throwing balls onto buttons and so forth — but ramp up in fun and ingenuity as you unlock each Character’s powers. Strife is able to toss portals about, while War can hurl his vorpal blade to ricochet between points. Both open up fun opportunities to take a break from combat and test that gray matter instead. 

The Darksiders series has never particularly been known for its originality. There wasn’t much new in the hack and slash romp of the original, or the Zelda-like dungeon exploration of its sequel, yet somehow the series pulled it off enough to make for a thoroughly enjoyable time. The slip into mediocracy with Darksiders 3 had us worried that the series might finally have had its day, but thankfully Genesis has reminded us just how fun Darksiders can be. 

Darksiders Genesis is available now on Steam or – if you’re one of the few to have picked it up – Google Stadia. Xbox One and PS4 players, we’re sorry, but you’ll need to wait until February 2020 to get your hands on this adventure.


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