Connect with us
Darksiders Genesis game art Darksiders Genesis game art

E3 2019

Darksiders Genesis is Much More Than a Diablo Clone

Published

 on

The Darksiders franchise has been stuck in a rut since its inception. Many refer to the games as a hodgepodge of other genres, even if the series typically has strong art direction and story. The first Darksiders is seen as a Zelda—God of War hybrid while the second implements RPG and combat mechanics reminiscent of the Dark Souls titles. Those who have seen Darksiders Genesis’s gameplay reveal will notice the uncanny resemblance the game seems to have to Diablo. These preconceived opinions can be put to rest, as this Darksiders spin-off gives developer Airship Syndicate a chance to capitalize on the series’s untapped personality.

Right off the bat of the Darksiders Genesis E3 2019 demo, players are introduced to long-fabled series newcomer, Strife. Unlike the other horsemen who, in past games actively strive for drab, overly serious dialogue, Strife is funny, hot-headed, and quick-witted. The character’s gameplay melds so well with his loose-cannon personality, letting players know immediately that the game is a welcomed take on a franchise that was beginning to wear thin.

Better yet, War makes a playable appearance in the game, too. Where War would normally take situations too seriously in previous games, he now seems to joke with his brother. This evolution on War’s personality feels natural and reassuring of the direction Airship Syndicate is taking the series in.

Darksiders Genesis gameplay screenshot 1

What players, and especially fans, will notice after being greeted with this new tone is gameplay that feels perfectly familiar to the franchise. Though the top-down perspective certainly has players thinking differently about their actions, never once does the choice feel like a step back. War specifically controls just as he did in the first game, but some simplifying has helped clean up a move set that overcomplicated itself in previous titles. Strife too feels as a Darksiders, gun-toting horsemen should. Darksiders Genesis is undoubtedly more of itself than it is Diablo, even if the influences are still easy to see.

One of the best examples of a focus on being unabashedly Darksiders is the use of exploding spike-ball puzzles and platforming. Both puzzles and beam-jumping platforming sections found their way into the E3 demo and will likely only be expanded upon come release. These platforming sections provided solid breaks from the combat and the puzzles did the same. Again, more Darksiders love is present than one might expect at first glance.

Enemy types could do with some variation, though, as, for the most part, nothing comes close to being special. The game has three enemy types in the standard dungeon section demo that are worth mentioning: small, medium, and large. The Darksiders franchise has plenty of unique designs and enemy types to choose from, so why does the game have so little variation in nearly 20 minutes of gameplay? Of course, more unique enemies could appear down the line, but the taste given does not bode well.

Darksiders Genesis gameplay screenshot 2

Another issue that will likely see some brushing up by the time release rolls around is the semi-frequent glitches and bugs. Death does not seem to extract a heavy toll, but is an annoyance nonetheless. Clipping through a ledges gets old the first time it happens, so knowing the same could happen up to five times in a 20-minute demo is unnerving.

Something else that could easily see change before release is the lack of direction players are given in Darksiders Genesis. To be fair, a lack of direction is not always a bad thing. The double-edged sword of player freedom to learn could lead to frustration at the cost of learning to progress on one’s own. However, more often than not, Darksiders Genesis could possibly benefit from a minor amount of more direction.

The first ever Darksiders spin-off was only announced a few days ago and already the early build is shaping up to offer a completely new perspective on the Darksiders world. While some technical aspects need buffing out and more direction would not hurt, the foundation Airship Syndicate has built here is more than strong enough to warrant a full game. Now all fans can do is hope the team continues to push for fresh ideas and character decisions in a world that has already proven its staying power.

Continue Reading
Comments

E3 2019

The Outer Worlds is Proof of Obsidian’s Ability to Build a Universe

Published

 on

The Outer Worlds

Obsidian Entertainment has consistently put out stellar RPGs for the last decade, but all of its creative juices have been strained of originality. Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth, while loved by many, are not synonymous with the Obsidian name. Though the developer has taken a crack at its own IP before, The Outer Worlds looks like the world’s first real taste of an unhinged Obsidian. Bringing together everything fans love about Obsidian-led games with the production values of a AAA RPG, The Outer Worlds plans to show players what the team can do when given time and the right tools.

Thanks to Obsidian’s generosity, OnlySP was given the chance to check out a behind-closed-doors viewing of the game at E3 2019. Even though the footage was hands-off, what was shown was more than enough to justify high hopes.

Obsidian has worked up enough goodwill in the last decade to fill a wasteland. From the moment the demo started, The Outer Worlds proved that Obsidian deserves all of its praise. 

Falbrook, a town on the planet Monarch, was showcased in the demo’s early moments and looked to offer Rockstar Games-levels of character. Townsfolk were walking around, talking with each other as business carried on as usual. The western, sci-fi fusion felt lived-in and was a nice reminder that Obsidian can do more than just make gripping RPG gameplay.

From the streets of Falbrook, the player walked into a nearby bar area to talk with an NPC. Here, dialogue and the importance of choice was shown in full effect. Those familiar with Fallout: New Vegas will find similar NPC interactivity here, as dialogue options have varying paths to take. Of course, standard options can be chosen to progress the story or learn more about another character’s background. Again following the example of Fallout was how dialogue can change depending on how the player character is set up. Obsidian did not go into detail about how dynamic this feature can be but did give the example of unique dialogue options for players who choose to have a low-intelligence character.

A true Fallout: New Vegas spiritual successor needs more than the classic RPG developer’s advanced dialogue, though, and The Outer Worlds’s combat offered just that. Though appearing sluggish during the first encounter, combat can pick up quickly. For example, The Outer World’s has a slow-motion mechanic called Tactical Time Dilation, which can most easily be compared to Fallout’s V.A.T.S. mechanic. This spin on an ability familiar to both Obsidian and Fallout fans alike is a great example of the developer’s willingness to blend its past experience with new ideas. Similar mechanics have been a staple of modern games, though normally can only be found in arcade-like games. Seeing such an arcadey ability used in a proper RPG was refreshing and should offer some hope to those worried The Outer Worlds could be all bark and no bite.

Obsidian doubled down on the importance of choice shortly after the first encounter by stressing the choices players can make both outside and inside combat. Again, as seen in many modern games, The Outer Worlds promises the option to take a stealth approach when infiltrating enemy lines.

What was really stunning about everything shown in the demo was the world and universe building. Leaving the town of Falbrook, which was interesting in its own right, led to fungal treetops that towered over the landscape. Pollen and spores filled the air as the player progressed onward. Obsidian claims the game will remind players of the team’s dark sense of humor, and the creatures and environments are unique both in name and appearance. The Outer Worlds looks to be both lived-in and well-realized, thus justifying its existence in the process. The entire reason Obsidian, or any developer for that matter, needed to take a leap of faith with its own IP was to prove it can produce a world worth living in. Despite gameplay and RPG mechanics that may not be wholly unique, the game’s namesake is.

Obsidian is promising outer worlds that are brimming with character. The Outer Worlds, while not promising anything too outside of the box in terms of gameplay, looks to offer a world like no one has ever seen before. Expect a much more polished Fallout: New Vegas with environments built from the ground up when The Outer Worlds finally finds its way to shelves on October 25, 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. 

Continue Reading