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.
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.
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.