It’s tempting to think of Darksiders: Genesis as Darksiders does Diablo but, while they may look very much alike at first glance, the comparison is actually some way wide of the mark. An isometric view is about as deep as the similarities go – the intention in developing Darksiders: Genesis, Airship Syndicate CEO Joe Madureira told me at E3, was to make a true Darksiders game despite the new camera angle.
So while you might have been expecting sedate, meditative auto-attacks as per Blizzard’s dungeon crawler, Genesis offers the exact same mix of hack-and-slash attacks and special abilities you’ll remember from the core series; just, again, with a different camera angle. This was certainly born out in the combat but, more interestingly, in an ambitious platforming section that did some interesting things in terms of level traversal. There’s always been more than a touch of The Legend of Zelda to Darksiders, in my opinion, and I’m pleased to say that same spark is very much a part of the experience here.
Genesis offers both single-player and split-screen coop and so, as you might expect, comes packing two protagonists. War, franchise favourite, is joined by Strife, who makes his first appearance as a playable character in a Darksiders game. Packing his trademark twin revolvers and seven different types of ammunition, Strife is very much a ranged character, whereas War is every bit the melee focused brute you’ll remember from the first Darksiders. In co-op, each player controls one horseman throughout, but in single-player you’re free to swap between the two at will.
War and Strife complement one another not just on the battlefield, but in the game’s dialogue. Their different approaches to life and the struggles they face lead to a cooky odd couple dynamic that’s a lot lighter in tone than we’ve seen from the series before. Given the different feel to this entry over all, I think it’s a smart choice.
All in all then, I found Darksiders: Genesis quite appealing. While I admit I’ve grown a little fatigued by the main Darksiders series, I think I’ve got time for a more whimsical take on the same franchise. Genesis is to Darksiders what Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light was to Tomb Raider, and that’s an idea I can easily get behind.