Darksiders Genesis looks like a Diablo-style dungeon crawler, but it plays like a Darksiders-style action game. If you’ve battled as a horseman before, this will feel familiar.
The change in perspective is just the beginning. In Polygon’s Darksiders Genesis beginner’s guide, we’ve corralled our best tips to help you, Strife, and War get better faster.
Use Strife from afar and War up close
Darksiders Genesis has two playable characters — Strife and War — and they approach combat very differently. Play to their strengths, which you can intuit from their weapons.
Use Strife for ranged combat. Create space between Strife and his enemies using Dash. Fire his guns from a distance. Strife can fight up close, but it’s not his specialty. Keep your distance.
War plays as he did in the original Darksiders: like a tank wielding an enormous sword. Stay close to enemies and swing his sword. War is also much better at dealing with crowds than Strife, so if you’re ever surrounded by large groups of enemies, call in War.
Use Execution to gain Health and Wrath Orbs
The way that you kill an enemy has an effect on the glowing orbs that fly out of the dead. Here’s how we decide between regular killing and Executions.
When an enemy’s health is low, you can press B to perform an Execution, which looks cool, but also has two advantages: You’re invincible during the animation, and Executions produce (green) Health and (yellow) Wrath Orbs from enemies (and sometimes even [blue] Souls.)
The inverse implication is also true: Don’t perform an Execution if you really want (blue) Souls, Darksiders Genesis’ currency.
Explore every corner of every level for collectibles
Darksiders Genesis is littered with collectible items, treasure chests, keys, and special locked doors. Exploration is essential for upgrading, making money, and ultimately unlocking Strife and War’s full potential.
When you enter a new area for the first time, you’ll have access to a sparse map that grows as you explore. You won’t find any special features like treasure chest locations on the map unless and until you’ve approached them (knowingly or not). Items like Small Chests, Item Chests, Limbo Chests, and Summoning Stones are the easiest things to find on your first trips — but you don’t have to rely solely on observation to clear a level.
Each area has a Treasure Map hidden somewhere. Find it, and you’ll add the location of collectible objects like Boatman’s Coins and Trickster Keys to your map. (You can see Treasure Map location for the first level, Dethroned, above.) You’re free to explore before you find the map — and you really should, because you’ll almost always find something — but collecting everything is easier after you find the Treasure Map.
You can collect almost everything you find during your first trip through the first few levels. A few items are out of reach behind locked doors or later-game upgrades for Strife and War. If you’re having trouble finding or reaching an item, consider returning later when you have the appropriate gear.
Complete quests and side missions
Quests are one of the most lucrative systems in Darksiders Genesis. Completing them grants great gifts like hundreds of Souls or bundles of Boatman’s Coins.
You’ll find a comprehensive list of quests in the appropriately named Quests button on the main menu.
Some quests are broad. Take Mint I, for example. Find 50 Boatman’s Coins, and you can claim 1,000 Souls as a reward.
Other quests apply to specific missions and maps, and they also appear under the Side Mission menu on the left side of your map screen. During the game’s first mission, there’s a side mission called Back to Work that says to “defeat the fleabags shirking their duty in Dethroned.” If you find and kill them all, you’ll get some additional Creature Cores. (More on those in the next section.)
Look at the Side Mission menu when you enter a new level and commit to being a thorough explorer.
Don’t forget to assign your Creature Cores
Creature Cores are special items that you collect when defeating enemies or purchase from Vulgram. Slot them into the nodes the Creature Cores menu (pictured below), and you’ll make Strife and War more powerful in a variety of ways. (This menu won’t be available early in the game.)
Darksiders Genesis won’t pester you about applying Creature Cores, so they’re easy to forget about. Don’t let them languish in your inventory.
Whenever you pick up a new Creature Core, open the Creature Cores menu. You can slot and rearrange them at any point.
Replay levels for bonus rewards
Replay is built into Darksiders Genesis.
Certain enemies show up more prominently in some levels than others, and the more you kill, the more Creature Cores you’ll get. If you’re looking to upgrade your Armored Flea Minor Creature Core, consider replaying the first level, Dethroned. The same goes for upgrading powerful Major Creature Cores, which you get from bosses like the Hollow Fiend.
It’s also worth noting that old chests sitting in the world and those from objectives you’ve already completed contain Souls when you play a level again.
If you’re stuck on a level or close to an upgrade you really want, consider going back and playing something you’re already familiar with — and cranking up the difficulty for extra rewards.