Darksiders Genesis Preview – Darksiders Goes Diablo
At times, a franchise branching out into new areas comes as a bit of a surprise, but it also works. I would say that it helps if the franchise is already linked to that area in one way or another, such as The Witcher with Gwent, but it isn't really necessary. There are times it hasn't worked out though. Soulcalibur Legends can be best described as "a game" and Dirge of Cerberus was at least an interesting experiment for Final Fantasy. This brings me to Darksiders Genesis - THQ Nordic's move in bringing Darksiders to a new genre.
I suppose the one saving grace for Darksiders Genesis is that this move isn't actually too far away from what has already been. All that's really been added are more RPG elements, as well as a turn to the isometric. Will this turn work? Well, from what I've seen so far, yeah.
The immediate links are obvious. I made it in the header of this piece, so it's not exactly a secret. Darksiders Genesis is very much a game in the style of
Ace Attorney Torchlight and the many other Diablo-likes (ARPG/Hack & Slash/Dungeon Crawler) that have been around since. Here, for the very first time, you control Strife and War, set prior to the events of the first Darksiders. Will we see what exactly led to the events of the first game, to War being found guilty by the charred council of being a little premature? That's not something I actually know yet, come back later.
What I do know is that, from what little time I've spent with the game, the style of game suits Darksiders well. The game has always been about hacking away at hordes of demonic enemies, so nothing has changed there. What has changed is the perspective and seemingly a little more focus in developing your characters - not that the series has ever slouched in that area either. Indeed, the upgrade system you've seen in the core Darksiders titles also appears here in Darksiders Genesis.
What has changed is how exactly some of the extra means of upgrading. Here, enemies that you kill can drop 'creature cores' which can then be used to upgrade your skill tree, but specific cores have unique effects on these skills. Essentially, the way you upgrade using different cores will differentiate your character from that of another person, even if only in smaller ways. Though it seems with some skills, there will be huge differences, but that's to be expected in this style of game.
One thing that does make an appearance, a series veteran of sorts, is the use of chaos forms. These huge, overpowering forms, wreak havoc on anybody and anything stupid enough to stand in front of these two horsemen of the apocalypse. From what I've experienced so far, the combat here has that lovely mix of Darksiders fluidity, with the dungeon-crawler style of mowing through the weak, then facing challenging boss monsters that certainly look like they'll test your fortitude and abilities.
In a slight change to the norm of the series, but mostly in keeping with the change of style, Darksiders Genesis is no longer one large, interconnected world. The game takes place across a number of different and specifically designed (not procedurally generated) levels. You will have the ability to replay any of these levels as you please, with some areas of them only becoming accessible once you have obtained some items, abilities or skills later in the game. At least that has returned. With these hidden away areas containing anything from valuable items, to secret bosses.
It all looks and plays like you would expect an isometric Darksiders to play, to be frank. That's actually a decent amount of praise for Airship Syndicate because there are so many ways they could have taken the soul out of it, essentially making it 'not Darksiders'. While it is a slight change in style, Darksiders Genesis is, indeed, Darksiders. Including in the aesthetics, where the game has the same gothic-style design of Darksiders, though I can't exactly say it stands out compared to other titles. It does look good though, particularly when there's a lot of action.
Co-op is the only thing I haven't really touched on. So, Darksiders Genesis will be co-op. That makes sense, one as Strife with the other as War. What I do like is the fact that it's possible to jump in and out of a game, mid-mission, and playing the single-player will just let you swap between characters as you need. Also, all progress is maintained across both single and co-op, so you won't lose any progress at all. It genuinely doesn't look like it will penalise you for playing alone, which always works for me.
Darksiders Genesis is certainly not the first series to move from one genre to another, even if this isn't the biggest of leaps. What it could be is another in the list of successful leaps. A bigger bonus is the fact that I was told that this will be priced more as a mid-tier title, costing around $39.99, but I certainly believe the developers when they say that this has been designed to match $59.99 titles. Releasing sometime later this year, Darksiders Genesis is coming to the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia.