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DARKSIDERS: GENESIS gives players their first look at the world of DARKSIDERS before the events of the original game. Furthermore, it introduces the fourth and last horseman STRIFE, as well as Co-op gameplay for the first time in the history of the franchise.

Publisher: THQ Nordic
Reviewed on: PC
Also available for:
Google Stadia
PS4 (Feburary, 2020), Xbox One (Feburary 2020), Nintendo Switch (2020)

Cast: Liam O,Brian, Chris Jai Cortland, Bernon Wells, Phil LaMarr, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Troy Baker

Developer: Airship Syndicate
Creative Director: Joe Madureira
Game Director: Ryan Stefanelli
Design Director: Steve Madureira
Writer: Frank Barbiere

The Darksiders franchise has done such a good job of making sequels all set before the first game that it would make Kingdom Hearts fans’ hearts melt. Darksiders: Genesis is the third sequel in the franchise and, again, it is set prior to the first game, this time, as the title implies, telling the genesis of the story we all know, namely the creation of the seven seals. 

Each sequel/prequel has served to introduce a new Horsemen of the Apocalypse and this game introduces us to the last one named Strife. He’s a wise-cracking lad voiced by Chris Jai Alex who’s a bigger fan of ranged combat than his brothers and sisters. Strife uses dual pistols and quick dashes to match his quick-to-joke attitude to take down foes. 

Unlike the first, second or third game, however, Darksiders: Genesis isn’t a third-person action game, it’s an isometric action game. It may remind you of Diablo when you first see it, but the game is low on loot and more focused on giving you a true Darksiders experience from a different view. 

Image captured by author on PC

Image captured by author on PC

Strife and the original game’s Horseman, War, team up in Genesis to complete a task for The Charred Council. This leads them on missions across different realms that always involve different degrees of demonic slaughter and a boss-fight at the end. And although I found the story mostly a bore outside some cameos by well-known characters, the banter between Strife and War was a lot of fun as the brooding War, who’s voiced by Liam O’Brian, bounces off the smart-ass comments from Strife.

Pressing B to do a finishing move on enemies never got boring as I played through Darksiders: Genesis‘ considerably large campaign that took me 12 hours to beat. War plays exactly how he does in the original game with heavy attacks and brute-force. He gets access to several new gadgets as you progress the game that is used for solving puzzles but can also be used as powerful tools in combat. Strife is a lot squishier but more nimble with his dashes and moves that allow him to back-away from close combat and take shots with his pistols from afar, before dashing in for the finishing attack. 

Switching between War and Strife is done by simply pressing two buttons and its the ease of switching between the two that makes the combat work so fluently. You’ll also automatically switch to the other character if you die as a twenty-second cool down appears before the other Horseman is ready for battle again. 

You can play Darksiders: Genesis in either split-screen or online co-op, however, I didn’t try either, but I also didn’t feel like I had a subpar experience playing solo.

Each level gives you rather large and varying locations to explore that you can beeline straight to the objective on, or complete various side quests for differing rewards. A lot of the game’s earlier levels will require you to come back with a new power you get later in the game to fully 100%, so the game is keeping its Zelda/Metroidvania inspirations in that way. The puzzles are mostly simple with the ones involving Strife’s Portal like power proving the most fun and mind-bending.

Although you don’t get different weapons and loot dropped from enemies, they will randomly drop cores which, as you collect more of the same, will make them stronger and you can equip to both War and Strife through a shared chart. Some cores will give you a health or attack stat benefits, others will give you new attacks or increased combo damage. It’s a simple RPG-lite system that rewards replaying levels and taking down the same enemy types to level up cores. 

Now that we’ve seen four games and met all the Horseman of the Apocalypse it has to be time to return to the original Darksiders ending and see what happens next. For now, Darksiders: Genesis is a lot of fun to smash demons around in and be introduced to Strife, officially. 


(Darksiders: Genesis code provided for review)