Darksiders: Genesis – Game Pass Spotlight

When THQ shuttered in 2013, the world lost yet another video game company to the HD-era of gaming—And with said closure my hopes for a sequel to Darksiders II were dashed. But with a bit of time, THQ Nordic has brought back the series with Darksiders III and Darksiders: Genesis, the former I have mixed feeling about and the latter I am currently enjoying quite a bit and encourage you, the reader, to play, especially as it’s now on Game Pass for consoles!

If you don’t know, Darksiders is a series of games that spans the stories of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the fall of humanity that has seemingly occurred at the hands of War, one of the Horsemen. Each game was supposed to introduce a Horseman (War, Death, Fury, and Strife) to the player, filling in the gaps of the overarching story that is taking place. Unfortunately, when THQ shuttered, the future of the series was murky for quite a while but returned just in time for two new games that finally give us control of all four of the Horsemen.

War rips and tears in Darksiders: Genesis.
Getting surrounded is a frequent occurrence in this game. Thankfully you’re a few X presses away from claustrophobia. (Genghis H./THQ Nordic | Airship Syndicate)

In this game, you take control of War and Strife as they tear through Hell to stop Lucifer from wreaking havoc. Each character has their talents: War loves up-close and personal brute force solutions to problems and Strife shoots anything that moves (even from afar!). Of course both characters also have solutions for their obvious weaknesses as well, so playing either never feels like a chore. Some of the best bits of gameplay I’ve enjoyed is testing out different combos with War or simply lighting up a level with Strife with his ability to use different ammo types.

Besides the basic gameplay mechanics, each character has a unique set of tools at their disposal that the player can use to their advantage. You can also unlock new moves by purchasing them with collected souls (dropped by defeated enemies) and ‘Boatman’ coins that are found by exploring nooks and crannies each level. Personally speaking, I’m not too fond of having to have two currencies to purchase gameplay unlocks, but thankfully getting either currency isn’t too challenging.

You'll find yourself platforming quite a bit in Darksiders: Genesis.
The levels of this game are quite nice to look at, especially if you’re a fan of Warcraft. (Genghis H./THQ Nordic | Airship Syndicate)

Throughout the story, you’ll be expected to platform through various challenges and some rather annoying jumps that the camera frequently doesn’t do a good job of displaying. Thankfully, falling down only means a bit of health lost (easily recovered by beating up a few baddies). Level design isn’t particularly notable, but the game’s art style definitely makes many areas a visual treat. Darksiders: Genesis also has a great score composed by Gareth Coker (the composer behind the Ori game series) as well as fantastic animation work. Watching War and Strife rip ‘n tear never gets old!

There is no traditional leveling system. Instead, a system of cores dropped by enemy mobs is present. Putting these cores in particular order boosts the power level of either War or Strife (it can be both with the right tinkering!). I enjoyed this system because the game lets me switch out these cores at anytime, so I don’t ever have to worry about whether or not I’m upgrading the right stat.

Now if you’ve found this very enticing, I should warn you that the game is best played locally or alone. Online cooperative play is broken and nigh unplayable. Unfortunately, playing locally means one player will be unlocking achievements, as the game only recognizes one active profile at a time and will only reward unlocks to said profile.

On top of this, getting a second player to join in requires the first player to find an ‘obelisk’ of sorts and in many cases these can be far away from where the player is at. Also there are some visual glitches that sadly haven’t seemed to be patched since launch, which can make playing the game a little frustrating.

But with that said, if you have nothing better to play this week, I encourage you to play Darksiders: Genesis! The world of Darksiders is really unique and something I think you’ll enjoy, too.

Click here to go-to the Microsoft Store page for Darksiders: Genesis.

Genghis "Solidus Kraken" Husameddin

I like video games, both old and new. Nice 'ta meetcha!

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  1. I’ve played a bit of Darksiders 3 and was wondering what your opinion of it was? You said you have mixed feelings about it and I’m intrigued to get your opinion 😀 Also you’ve made me want to pick up this game! I’m so jazzed to play it.

    1. Hey Mclen! So the thing with Darksiders is that the first two games are very much Zelda-like. If you’ve played Ocarina of Time or any 3D Zelda adventure, you’ll find yourself at home with the first game. The second one improves that formula and makes for an even better game that stands on its own two legs.

      Now I mention this because the way enemy encounters, level traversal, and gameplay mechanics work in the first two games is completely different in the third game, which opts for a much slower, Dark Souls-like experience. Gone is the fast and frantic action of Darksiders I and II and in comes a much slower game that tries to be Dark Souls but then implements Soulsbourne mechanics in such a mundane, uninteresting way. I could on and on, but if you play the Darksiders I or II for even an hour and jump into III, you’ll see the difference and if you’re like me and you don’t like Souls games, you won’t like Darksiders III much.

      Which is a shame! Because Fury is an awesome character and Strife (the new Deadpool-looking guy in this game) pales in comparison to the rest of the Horsemen and I’d rather play Death, War, and Fury.

      I’m glad I convinced you to pick up the game! Just make sure to play the game over local coop, trust me the online functions are completely broken and I don’t think they’ll ever be fixed. Oh, and check out the first two games as well!

      1. I’m curious, did you play Darksiders 3 before or after they altered the combat? I only played it after, and I immediately switched to the more classic combat which, while still slower than 1 & 2, was much better than that of Dark Souls (this coming from someone that also don’t care for the Souls games).

      2. Chyld, sorry for the late reply! I have tried the option they’ve added to make the game play closer to Darksiders II, so I believe that was a post-launch patch addition. It helped just a bit, but unfortunetly the differences between II and III are far greater than just character controls. Enemy encounter and level design are simply much too narrow compared to the vastness of the second game, for example.

        I likely brought it upon myself, I went into III expecting it to play like the first two games. I will give Darksiders III another chance someday. But for now, I’ll simply replay the second and first.

      3. Oh that makes so much sense now! Yeah I never knew why they chose to go for a more slow paced dark souls combat style, I think for me personally because I played darksiders 1 & 2 when they first released going into darksiders 3 didn’t feel as bad, especially because I’d just finished a dark souls game haha. But I completely understand what you’re saying!

  2. There are eight player statistics, including a character class level that increases at various experience levels. Each new level gives the player a skill point that can be used in a skill tree that contains new abilities. Other statistics can be increased by equipping items, with each item having various stat-altering characteristics. The player’s inventory contains seven different pages of equipment classes (primary and secondary weapon, shoulder, armor, glove, boot, and talisman, with an additional page for quest items). New equipment can be acquired via enemy drops, looting chests, or purchasing from vendor characters. New combo moves can also be purchased from “Trainer” characters.

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