Darksiders Genesis review (PS4)

Released first on PC a few months ago, Darksiders Genesis is now available for consoles as well. Was it worth the wait?

These days it’s pretty rare for a big title to be exclusive to the PC first and get a console release later, but my guess is that it was the only way in which developer Airship Syndicate could get the game out before the holidays. Since then, they’ve been putting the finishing touches on versions for the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, all of which have now been released.

When THQ scooped up the Darksiders license, it was only a matter of time before Darksiders 3 was going to be announced. That was never much of a surprise, but Darksiders Genesis kind of was. A slightly smaller production, one released without too much fanfare, our first chance to play with the fourth horseman (Strife), but most importantly: a different approach to the gameplay.

darksiders genesis2

While the first three Darksiders games were excellent single player adventures, Genesis was developed with cooperative multiplayer in mind. You can still play it as a single player endeavour, but play it in co-op and a jump back to single player will feel like an experience where you’re missing something. Even the narrative is built around have two players, as you take control of War and Strife and they play off each other in their interactions.

The focus on cooperative play isn’t the only big novelty here though – you’ll immediately notice a change in perspective as well, because Darksiders Genesis is no longer a third person action adventure but uses an isometric perspective instead. Somewhat reminiscent of two isometric Tomb Raider games, Genesis retains the look and feel of a darksiders games despite the obvious changes on the surface. Underneath, you’ll encounter a lot of the same combat – and it’s especially familiar if you play with War (who starred in the first game). Playing as Strife is different, as he prefers gunplay over the melee action that War uses, but you can switch in real-time if you’re playing in single player mode.

darksiders genesis

More powerful attacks have to be charged up, and character-specific abilities are required to get past certain puzzles. There’s a fair bit of platforming as well, some of which can feel finicky due to the isometric perspective that causes you to mis-judge jumps or fall of ledges. This is never too much of an issue though, since Genesis is built around smaller levels rather than a big game world in which you backtrack through familiar environments once you unlock new abilities and/or objectives (as is the case in other Darksiders games). Here, backtracking is optional, and only really needed if you’re a completionist.

Despite being a ‘smaller’ game in scope, Darksiders Genesis is still a meaty game with plenty of content. I didn’t go for many of the optional objectives or collectibles and it still took me over 12 hours to complete the game, so there’s more than that to enjoy should you choose to go back more often. One reason for doing so could be the options to unlock abilities in your skill tree and craft your character(s) and their fighting styles.

I had fun with Darksiders Genesis, especially in co-op mode, but couldn’t escape the feeling that it felt more like a sidestep rather than a bold new direction. The game takes a few pages from the playbook of the isometric Lara Croft games, but while those were excellent that also means that things haven’t changed much in the past ten years or so. I’m okay with that, but it does mean you shouldn’t expect anything groundbreaking.

Score: 7.5/10

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