Change is a process that involves each of us, many times for good and other times for bad. Undressing of certain cloths is something that can happen for the most varied reasons, and really in any context. However, there are cases where, on the other hand, it is possible to transform into something different while maintaining our essential, canonical and distinctive features. And that's exactly what Airship Syndicate's guys managed to do with Darksiders Genesis. The title was already released on December 5 for PC, and is now on its way to PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on February 14. It is a spin-off prequel of the main chapters of the series, so you can safely approach the game despite never having played in previous episodes. Unlike the others, however, this presents an isometric view, legacy of games of the caliber of Diablo, for example.
The balance of angels and demons
In Darksiders Genesis, set before the events of the main series, we witness the events of conflict e War, two of the four Knights belonging to theArso Council. This is an organ whose main task is to ensure balance and impartiality in the fight between Hell and Heaven, intervening against the excesses of both sides. Our primary objective is therefore to try to stop Lucifer, intent on acquiring more and more power through different alliances with the demonic hosts. It must be said, it is certainly not a particularly original plot, and the narration seems to follow rather predefined, banal and linear canons.
Despite this, the story is pleasantly followed, although it does not remain impressed for who knows what depth. The constant exchanges of jokes between Conflict and War contribute, in this sense, to making a narrative more fluid that certainly does not stand out for its originality and freshness.
Between shots and slashes
The substantial change that characterizes Darksiders Genesis concerns the formula behind the title. We are, in fact, no longer in front of a open-world action but to what could be called a Hack 'n Slash diablo-like. The combat system, even for players not experienced in the genre, is dynamic, satisfactory and, more importantly, damn funny. We can launch different types of attacks or use particular gadgets, such as the Ghost hook, to solve environmental puzzles or attract different enemies to us. We then have several skills available, which vary depending on the character we are using. Conflict and War are indeed interchangeable at any time, and also differ in terms of fighting style.
While Conflict is devoted more to agility and to ranged combat with firearms, Guerra is specialized in hand-to-hand combat and can count on light and loaded slits. In addition, Conflict can equip several bullet categories such as those charged or electrified, just to name a few. Guerra, for its part, owns upgrades what further moves that can prove useful in many different situations. He soon became familiar with the use of the two Knights, and although it is natural to prefer one of the two, it is necessary resort to both to progress in the game. Everyone is in fact able to obtain exclusive gadgets and features, which prove to be fundamental for solving certain puzzles within the different levels. Concatenating combo is on balance a real pleasure, and once you take your hand it's hard to let go of it.
Grow by fighting
The real strength of Darksiders Genesis is without a shadow of a doubt the system of progression and enhancement. The developers have given up the best of them and they certainly did not spare themselves, creating such a system wide, varied and diverse that we players are spoiled for choice. First, by advancing in the game you can get gods Nuclei of creatures.
These are divided into secondary, which can be obtained by defeating normal creatures, and main, which are instead dropped by various bosses and that provide significantly more improvements. The cores are then divided into three main categories: Health, Attack and Anger, and must be allocated in slots divided according to the same criteria. By setting a core in the slot of the same category (for example, Attack core on Attack slot), we get a bonus proficiency additional than normal to statistics. It goes without saying that it is the player who freely chooses which combinations to adopt from time to time, giving free rein to his creative vein and above all tactics.
Also, to further improve Conflict and War you need to travel to Vulgrim in a place called Void, which effectively represents the central hub of the game. This eccentric demon, in exchange for souls and ferryman coins obtainable by defeating enemies, is able to really provide us many upgrades. We can indeed purchase further uses for Potions or fragments of Health and Wrath Stones, which increase the respective characteristics. Without forgetting new types of ammunition for Conflict and new upgrades for War. We have then Dis, another entity that always in exchange for souls manages to expand our moveset, providing the two protagonists with more moves to show off during the combos. In short, these are advancement mechanisms extremely satisfying that certainly encourage you to continue the adventure and to experiment with different combinations that best suit the nature of the player.
The difficulty is not everything, but almost
A constant is the background to the various missions that can be selected from a special portal in the Void feeling of challenge. However, it is further characterized by the fact of being really well calibrated. The difficulty level of a certain level, although selectable before starting it, always manages to keep the player's attention threshold high, called to develop his or her reflexes in the best way, especially in difficulty Pandemonium. The possibility of replaying the stages already faced at a difficulty different from the previous one, moreover, represents a great point in favor of the replayability of Darksiders Genesis, which thus acquires a longevity really remarkable. I can assure you that wanting to do "always better" becomes almost natural, also thanks to a game structure devoted to a challenge healthy and reasoned, without ever ending up in frustrating ideas that often put the player's nerves to the test.
A map to explore ...
Great praise goes to the Airship Syndicate guys for knowing how to achieve a decidedly level design surprising. All game settings are indeed pleasant to explore, both from the aesthetic point of view and from mere gameplay. There are also many collectables to collect and secrets to discover through solving environmental puzzles and puzzles. Each level is significantly different from the previous one and, in the midst of the large amount of objects and treasure chests contained within them, it often happens to forget "something on the street". Nothing particularly serious since, as already mentioned, it is possible to replay any internship whenever you wish. Of course, going back in many titles could be boring, but this is certainly not the case with Darksiders Genesis. The backtracking in fact, this is almost never tedious, and finding a road that we had not noticed before or a passage that we had missed gives us a sense of satisfaction really not bad.
... with a little annoyance
It must be said, however, that Darksiders Genesis is certainly not without flaws. These are found mainly during the exploration and combat phases. The title, tested on PS4, stands at 30 FPS which, however, does not always manage to keep stable, struggling in more than a situation. It can also happen that our character hang at certain times within some texture of the scenario, forcing us to switchare to the other Knight to solve the problem. Added to this is a camera not really collaborative, which sometimes does not make it particularly easy to understand what is happening on the screen. We are not talking about serious shortcomings, but surely these are gaps that undermine the overall gaming experience. Furthermore, the settings, although stylistically cured, are not very inspired and personally in this respect it would have been reasonable to expect something more.
Change in the right way
In short, Darksiders Genesis, net of the doubts and shortcomings mentioned above, is however an experience not to be missed. In essence, it represents the proof that a change of formula is not necessarily an indication of something negative, but rather it can lead to results more than positive. It also shows that it is possible to maintain the spirit and validity of a series while presenting it in a completely different guise. The quality of the work signed Airship Syndicate is undeniable, and deserves to be appreciated in every single aspect. Even if you are not a lover of games with an isometric view, Darksiders Genesis is definitely able to get closer to the genre, the commitment and dedication of the developers is palpable. After a third chapter not exactly exciting and that had received several criticisms, the series then raises its head with an episode that surprise e fun. Fans of the saga, but also novices: the latest effort of Airship Syndicate certainly manages to agree and conquer both. The events of Conflict and War manage to involve, without pretensions but with real many satisfactions.