Darksiders Genesis (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 24.02.2020 2

Review for Darksiders Genesis on Nintendo Switch

Few franchises in video game history have been as schizophrenic as the Darksiders series. Every entry boasts unique gameplay and mechanics, but remarkably, the overall tone of each has remained consistent. Darksiders is, in many ways, an exercise in developmental risk-taking that more or less pays off; an exercise that has amassed a significant cult following. With Darksiders Genesis, the formula is flipped on its head once more. Now, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are rendered from an isometric viewpoint for the first time. This style smacks of Diablo and is a never-before-seen take on the conflict between Heaven and Hell that Darksiders has centred on since its inception.

Darksiders Genesis may look like Diablo at first glance, but for all intents and purposes, it's still very much Darksiders. For the first time in the series there are two playable characters, War and Strife; the latter of whom is playable for the first time. It's a shame, then, that nimbly dashing through hordes of enemies as the twin-gunned Strife doesn't feel as intimate as the other three Horsemen have felt in their designated games. This is largely due to the zoomed-out camera angle.

The isometric viewpoint in Genesis unfortunately feels gimmicky, as the scale of the combat encounters hardly justifies the broader perspective. When you think of isometric action games, you naturally think of grand battles with large swathes of enemies in which strategy is married to thinking on the fly to survive each encounter. While Genesis does present some delightful sweaty-palmed moments of hack 'n' slash action that the series does so well, it simply isn't done on a grand enough scale to truly make use of the broader camera angle.

Screenshot for Darksiders Genesis on Nintendo Switch

This isn't to say that the action is not fun - on the contrary, it's often very enjoyable, particularly in the generous smattering of boss battles scattered across Genesis's 16 content-filled levels, all of which are beautifully designed and packed full of things to do. Exploration and traversal are rewarding, with every venture off the beaten path resulting in a new collectible or reward. The combat is fast and smooth and runs with only a few stutters on the system.

War and Strife can be switched between at any time if playing solo, and both characters bring something unique to the table. War is the same heavy-hitting beast he was in the original Darksiders, while Strife is a major threat from range thanks to his arsenal of ammo types he can use with his dual pistols. The move lists for both characters are robust and versatile, with new moves available for purchase in the Void between missions. The Void is the ethereal plane that is home to Vulgrim, the demon shopkeeper who is a mainstay in the series' diverse cast.

Screenshot for Darksiders Genesis on Nintendo Switch

Plotwise, Genesis occurs before the events of 2010's Darksiders, and sees War and Strife paired up by the Charred Council to foil Lucifer's attempts at upsetting the balance between Good and Evil. It certainly isn't the deepest tale inspired by Christendom, but it makes a passable effort at deepening the bond shared between War and Strife, who play well off each other thanks to their polar personalities and some good voice acting.

The story is set up to perfectly compliment the cooperative component, which allows online matchmaking as well as couch coop, and sees both players take control of either Strife or War. What is most praiseworthy is the fact that Darksiders Genesis feels incredibly satisfying to play both solo and together with another player. The gameplay is ideally optimised in order for both to be enjoyable.

Screenshot for Darksiders Genesis on Nintendo Switch

The Switch version is undoubtedly the inferior of all the versions, however. The game suffers from a hefty graphical downgrade to get it to run smoothly on the system, resulting in blurry textures and some frame-rate dips in handheld mode. Nevertheless, it's a mostly smooth experience and it needs to be; the fast-paced action will not allow for anything less than relative stability. More generally speaking, there are some minor irritations elsewhere: while the omission of a minimap is forgivable, the poor design of the full map in the menu is not.

Moreover, there's no character marker on the map, meaning you must guess each time as to War's or Strife's exact position within the level - a nightmare when attempting to locate chests and secrets. All things considered, Darksiders Genesis is an enjoyable addition to the Darksiders lore. The scale may not be as grand, and the story not as focused as any of the other entries, but it nevertheless scratches that Darksiders itch by staying true to itself despite the many changes that Airship Syndicate has wrought on this diverse and intriguing franchise.

Screenshot for Darksiders Genesis on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Technical foibles aside, Darksiders Genesis provides yet another fresh take on everyone's favourite Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The isometric viewpoint is an interesting new direction and one that isn't quite justified by the familiar hack 'n' slash action, but this is nevertheless a fun and well-designed experience that stays true to its roots despite its diminished scale. Fans of Darksiders will surely find a lot to enjoy here.

Developer

Airship Syndicate

Publisher

THQ Nordic

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Did you know they call it Darksiders Megadrive in Europe?

I had to read that twice before getting it Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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