Gunfire Games has been pretty open about their desire to take their mammoth Darksiders’ franchise in multiple directions. They’ve done God of War/Devil May Cry, they’ve done The Legend of Zelda, they’ve done Dark Souls. Now Battle Chasers: Nightwar developers Airship Syndicate are taking the reigns for the newest title in the series and this brings a lot of good news. Firstly, their debut title was most definitely a hit. Secondly, they were founded by the same two people who founded original Darksiders’ studio Vigil Games. Thirdly, they just seem like nice people. Check out their website, everyone is smiling!
What about the game though? Is it a Diablo clone, a Darksiders evolution or something entirely new?
All three. And more! From the start, the Diablo inspiration is clear; you’ll take control of your character, either War or Strife, and use a top down isometric view to play through the game’s chapters. You’ll have the opportunity for a friend to join you in two player co-op. Then you have that indisputable Darksiders feel. The combat has basically been lifted out of the Darksiders series and given a new camera angle here. Hacking and slashing your way through hordes of enemies and taking on mini bosses feels identical to doing the same tasks in third person in the rest of the series. That’s a total credit to Airship Syndicate; making combat feel as fluid and controllable as it does in a chaotic environment couldn’t have been an easy feat.
So how is it new? How can it be different? There’s no concrete answer. Basically it just is. There’s still a strong focus on story here, with colourful comic book style cutscenes. They’re quirky and bring a sense of levity to the story. War and Strife have a lot of personality on show in these scripted scenes as well as within interactions with enemies as you battle. As the story is a prequel there’s a lot of fan service here, Strife being playable for the first time is a fun addition that will likely make fans happy. There’s still puzzle elements, such as lighting War’s blade on fire in order to blow up a wall of rocks to cross a bridge, which definitely highlight the Darksiders’ connections.
The important information here is that the game is a blast to play. Mowing down enemies with War and his sword feels majorly satisfying. Activating skill moves to do some crowd control is fun and the payoff is seeing multiple enemies fly away from your circle of doom. Strife a very very different. He is a ranged fighter who uses crossbows and multiple different types of bolts to deal damage. An interesting aspect of the gameplay is the ability to switch between these two characters at the touch of a button (two buttons) allowing you to shake things up between each combat encounter.
One of the coolest things about combat is the chaos forms involvement. Suddenly turning massive and being able to deal devastating damage, whether as what is essentially a Balrog with War or a minigun toting monstrosity with Strife, these forms have the potentially to seriously affect any combat encounter. In the boss fight included in the EGX demo there is a point where you’ll face multiple intimidating foes. Being able to turn the tables is really handy.
Check our Darksiders 3 review here!
The demo featured two different sections; one level from the game and one boss fight. Both give a nice flavour of what Darksiders Genesis is all about. Yes, you’ll still have huge epic moments of combat which will require you to be on the ball and plan tactically but there’s also still a sense of exploration that you’ll cling on to. The addition of a jump button to an isometric dungeon crawler immediately adds a lot of elements. You’ll have to grapple across ravines, find little hidden passageways and more as you traverse the levels.
There’s a lot to be excited about here. The game played relatively well given that it isn’t releasing until next year. There’s a lot that still needs to be properly revealed, weapons can be enhanced using parts of creatures, you gain new skills and learn new abilities. If you’re a Darksiders fan you’ll be happy. If you’re a Diablo fan there’s something here for you too.
Keep an eye on this game when it launches 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.