War and Strife star in this new buddy comedy, coming to a theater near you…

I’ll bet you weren’t expecting a new Darksiders game to be a Diablo-style, isometric-camera action-RPG, were you? I was pretty surprised myself. But the fact that Airship Syndicate, not Gunfire Games, is the developer of Darksiders Genesis, it makes a bit more sense – particularly when you find out that Airship employs original Darksiders comic book creator Joe Madureira.

I played a small slice of Genesis, and I was impressed at how well it translated to the Diablo formula. Being able to switch on the fly between the ranged attacks of Strife and the melee focus of War seems like a smart design decision; the two complement each other nicely, and if you’re not playing solo, you’re able to roll through this campaign in two-player co-op. Both characters can build up a special attack meter that, when activated, temporarily turns them into the same giant fire monster capable of wreaking significant havoc.

I encountered a couple of environmental puzzles along the way – platforming puzzles, really – and that’s where Genesis feels roughest around the edges at this early stage of development. Mantling and jumping, which you’ll need to do a decent bit of, are a bit annoying, but hopefully both will be tuned for the better before it ships. I finished my demo with a bruising boss battle against an absolute damage sponge of a creature. The endlessly spawning waves of support enemies didn’t help me, and I eventually perished before defeating the giant foe. But that’s OK; it’s nice to have a big challenge to overcome in a game like this so that you’ve got something that will not only test your skills but also force you to use all of your abilities.

Darksiders Genesis wouldn’t be the first series to make the leap from one genre to another, but from what I’ve played, it’s got an excellent chance of being on the shorter list of franchises that have made that jump successfully.

Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.

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