0
Review

Darksiders Genesis (Switch) Review

Darksiders is a series that often changes things up a bit to suit each of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first entry replicated a lot of what makes The Legend of Zelda’s dungeon design so successful, Darksiders II presented more of an open world dynamic that included looting mechanics, and Darksiders III came as a linear adventure that felt more in line with the likes of Bloodborne and Dark Souls. Darksiders Genesis is the first title to stray away from the 3rd person perspective and changes things up in the series more than any title before it.

“Why hasn’t this happened earlier?” I thought to myself the moment I saw the initial trailer for Genesis. Introducing Strife and bringing Darksiders into an isometric adventure representative of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance simply seems like a no-brainer. The trouble is, the game itself has some issues that keep it from being great.

As the title suggests, Genesis is a prequel that explains the relationship between the Horsemen (War and Strife in particular) and the Charred Council. The story begins with Lucifer granting powers to a variety of Master Demons in hell. Fearing that this will upset “The Balance” of all existence, the Council tasks both War and Strife to hunt down the masters in order to put a stop to Lucifer’s plans. It’s a basic story that follows a similar formula to previous entries in the series, but it serves as enough motivation to play through the game despite its flaws.

At its very core, Genesis remains true to the series’ roots. The developers have done a fantastic job of creating the feel of playing a Darksiders title despite the drastic change in perspective. Aspects of the original games have also transitioned to the new perspective quite well. The air currents War used in the original game make a return and assist War and Strife to reach higher ground, War’s swordplay also feels warmly familiar to players that have stayed with the games for so long now.

The RPG-lite elements also feel very “Darksiders-ey”. Character upgrades are done by killing and looting enemies for creature cores. These cores can then be slotted into various character slots and allows for bonuses such as additional damage or defence. This can be continually customised throughout the game so it’s worth looting as many enemies as possible to suit your own play style.

As mentioned earlier, there are flaws that prevent the gameplay from reaching its potential. Where the perspective change fails the game is the inability to change the camera perspective. Even in the early levels, I found myself wondering where I needed to go next frequently. For the most part, I found that I needed to go all the way to the edge of a cliff or bottomless pit to find an air current just barely within my view.

The camera itself also feels too far back at times, especially when playing in handheld mode. Many objects on the screen are difficult to make out, enemies and objects included. What can make the game frustrating at times is the fact that important objects can be obscured by the environment. I understand that some items are intended to be hidden, but there’s no real easy way to know that you have found objects until you stumble into them.

The level design, unfortunately,, feels like it could do with some more polish to find that perfect viewpoint. Obviously, being closer to the action would make it even harder to find off-screen objects and pathways. Perhaps something simple such as a zoom or a rotate option could alleviate these issues. On that note, I do understand that it would require a lot of work to implement, and feels like a decision that was made early on in development.

The level design and ease of getting lost aren’t helped whatsoever by what is possibly one of the worst maps I’ve seen in a game. Not only does the map vaguely represent the level itself, it only highlights the area you’re in. This means that your location isn’t represented on the map at all, making it even harder to figure out where to go next or where treasures are in relation to you.

Neither of these is complete dealbreakers, as the game itself is still a treat to play in general (especially on TV mode). Most of the flaws I’ve mentioned became something I grew accustomed to the longer I played (though not the map), and eventually, they weren’t a problem anymore as I learned to play to the way the game was designed.

Strife being introduced as a new character in what is essentially a spin-off prequel was an odd decision, and I wondered whether a top-down right stick shooter was the only way the developers felt they could introduce him to the series in lieu of a Darksiders IV. Strife is the sarcastic wisecracker of the Horsemen, and fits in well against his brother and straightman, War. Each character is unique not only in personality but in the way they play as well.

Playing as Strife makes the game feel like a twin-stick shooter, as guns are his weapon of choice. Using the right stick shows a red beam that helps with targeting your enemies. War plays more like an old Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance character, with mostly melee attacks available. Playing as both of them throughout the game helps maintain some variety in gameplay which is always welcome. It’s also a great way to play co-op, especially if both parties prefer a different gameplay style.


Darksiders Genesis has its flaws for sure. It is still a lot of fun to play and it remains a solid entry in the Darksiders series. I would only recommend playing it in TV mode. With that being said, it might be hard to recommend the Switch version itself if other versions of the game are available, as I suspect the higher resolution may make certain objects easier to spot within the game. If you are a fan of Darksiders though, I can’t recommend this enough. There is a lot here that adds to the overall backstory of the Four Horsemen and the Charred Council.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Good

+ Strife and War both add their own variety to gameplay
+ Slick Darksiders style combat
+ Co-op is fantastic

The Bad

- Shocking map
- Yes, the map is this bad
- Also it’s hard to keep track of the game in handheld

Our Verdict
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Overall
Final Thoughts

Darksiders Genesis has its flaws for sure. It is still a lot of fun to play and it remains a solid entry in the Darksiders series. I would only recommend playing it in TV mode. With that being said, it might be hard to recommend the Switch version itself if other versions of the game are available, as I suspect the higher resolution may make certain objects easier to spot within the game. If you are a fan of Darksiders though, I can’t recommend this enough. There is a lot here that adds to the overall backstory of the Four Horsemen and the Charred Council.

Our Rating
User Rating
5 ratings
You have rated this
What's your reaction?
Awesome
33%
Oh wow!
0%
Great
33%
Fresh
0%
Hmm
33%
Disappointing!
0%
Grrrr
0%
About The Author
Brad Long
I yell about pro wrestling, ice hockey and rugby league directly into the internet.

You must log in to post a comment