Published on February 25th, 2020 | by Paul Stuart
Darksiders Genesis Nintendo Switch Review
Summary: A potentially good game, but almost unplayable on the Switch. Try it on another platform.
The problem with being a Switch owner, is there far too many would-be-solid titles ruined by limitations of the platform. To explain and more often than it should occur, publishers mindlessly port PC/PS4/XBOX ONE titles onto the Switch sans any thought on playability. In doing so, they’re in seemingly complete denial on: a) resolution challenges when docked, b) miniscule text and characters in handheld, finally c) processing shortcomings via either mode. Sadly, Darksiders Genesis offends mightily in all three areas.
Darksiders Genesis should be good, and seemingly is based on reviews for other platforms. To begin, the Genesis premise is typical Darksiders cool. War and new horseman Strife are tasked by the ominous Charred Council to overthrow a plot by Lucifer to upset all of creation. To do so, Lucifer grants enormous power to an array of powerful master demons throughout hell. War and Strife are tasked with finding and eliminating these demons, also get to the bottom of the plot of which they’re executing at Lucifer…or someone worse’s…behest.
From a timeline perspective, Darksiders Genesis serves as a prequel to the Darksiders (I-III) series, offering some nice new wrinkles in character development for both the Council and horsemen. Akin to its predecessors, Genesis sports a solid (aforementioned) story, terrific music and sound effects, also excellent voice acting and cut scenes. Unlike prior Darksiders games, however, Genesis adopts a literal new perspective, a top down isometric one best compared to Diablo. The Darksiders Genesis power up system is also a nice twist for the series, now achieved by placing particular elements in character slots (versus buying any/everything from Vulgrim).
Back to Diablo. The thing is, Darksiders Genesis on the Switch is everything that Diablo isn’t…in a bad way. Despite a compelling storyline and intent, combat is boring (not enough variety between War and Strife), levels poorly laid out (non-sensical in many instances), and there little incentive to proceed to the next plot reveal (checkpoints are everything). There’s also far too much jumping required, which becomes hair pulling frustrating due to poor left stick precision and a wonky camera height. I won’t lie; it felt like drudgery sloshing through levels. Attack, attack, wander a plenty, jump/die…rinse, wash, repeat. Diablo, this isn’t.
Most offensive are under-the-hood mechanics. Echoed earlier, graphics are decent but squint worthy in handheld mode. When docked, things are a little easier to discern but also very muddy in texture. Expect pop-in environments aplenty, many lazily executed via blob versus solid when revealed. Forget reading text and map elements; it’s a lesson in complete frustration due to pixel size. Last, co-op is sprinkled throughout but don’t bother: split screen is borderline laughable with all of these visual shortcomings.
The saddest reality of this review is this would likely be a completely different review if on any other console or platform. It’s very hard to sing praises for something’s potential when current execution state is sorely lacking. While remastered versions of earliest Darksiders title successfully made the leap to Switch, the new camera angle and requirements inherent in Genesis do not offer this possibility.
If you’re a Darksiders diehard, consider picking up Daksiders Genesis on a different platform. It’s near unplayable on the Switch, but has the seeming makings of a better outcome, elsewhere.