Thanks to EvolvePR for providing GWW with a review build.
Darksiders: Genesis (“Genesis”) is more than a Diablo-like. In fact, it has more in common with Darksiders I and II than Diablo. Genesis is an action-adventure game with an isometric camera and light RPG functions. It has gorgeous vistas, varied environments, and a total disregard for enemy variety, which fits in well with its fast-paced action.
First, the official premise from darksiders.com, which I totally skipped in the game because I just wanted to hack and slash some demons: Still reeling from the events on Eden, War and Strife have been given a new assignment — Lucifer, the enigmatic and deceptive demon king, has been plotting to upset the Balance by granting power to master demons throughout Hell. War and Strife must hunt down these masters, gather information, and ultimately fight their way through a tangled, demonic conspiracy that threatens to forever upset the Balance and unravel all of creation.
Fortunately, players get to play as either War or Strife at any time with a simple keystroke or button combo on a controller. The two play much differently as Strife is a more ranged character and War is best for melee combat. The character swap happens quickly so you can do this during battle, but I didn’t find the combat challenging enough to warrant that. Rather, I would quickly access the scenario before diving into battle and choose the character I felt would be best suited for it.
Genesis has a lot going for it. The game looks amazing and runs at over 75 FPS, at max graphic settings over 1080p, on my GTX 1070-Max Q GPU. The environments themselves are well detailed and varied, which makes the overall performance even better. Within these environments are mindless bad guys and tons of barrels and chests that feel great to destroy. There is an oversupply of health and collectibles readily available within these containers as well as a result of killing bad guys. Not all collectibles are so easy to find. There are boatman coins hidden throughout the game and finding them is rewarding.
The variety of collectibles, moves, power-ups and bartering currency can be overwhelming at first. Genesis has a pretty confusing start as well where the first 30-45 minutes are spent in an open area that is not similar to how the rest of the game is setup. The gameplay loop is actually much easier to follow once you leave that initial area.
There is one issue I have with Genesis: the camera. On the one hand, I am attracted to the game because of the isometric camera as it gives the series a whole new approach to puzzles and exploration. On the other hand, the camera is fixed. When either Strife or War go behind a hill or building, their silhouettes will light up. But this is not true of bad guys or objects, such as collectibles. What’s more, you can easily find yourself on the wrong side of a cliff while you’re searching for collectibles that you think maybe behind a hill. Sometimes you are correct and, fortunately, the punishment for falling is not severe.
Darksiders: Genesis is an absolutely blast. The game is mostly well polished and the combat has plenty of variety. As for comparisons to Diablo, this is a way more contained, linear adventure, which means it’s easier to follow and provides a different type of enjoyment.