Reviewed: May 8, 2008
Released: March 25, 2008
When I first saw the preview for this game I was hooked. I waited months for this game to hit the market and let me be the first to tell you D3 still blew me away with their final copy of Dark Sector. You get to play as Hayden Tenno, a cover up artist with a little bit of a mental history. You are assigned the job of cleaning up an incident in Russia and taking out the bad guy, who is known as Mezner. The twist is Mezner has gotten his hands on an infection that turns ordinary people into metallic or decomposing zombies.
This is a game where you have a background story of a Resident Evil, game play controls of a Gears of War, and having to incorporate the stealth of a game like Splitter Cell. The best thing about this game though has to be the weapons. You get to use all new never before seen weapons and techniques to perform killing blows to any of your opponents as your work your way through the town in your quest to stop Mezner from infecting the entire world and ruling everyone.
Dark Sector is played from the third person perspective. For those of you who donít know what that means, it means that Hayden spends most of his time in the left side of your screen. This game has a Gears of War meets Uncharted feel to it. You get the zoom in screen when you are sprinting from one area to the next with a sort of shaky camera view to help simulate you moving faster. There is also an adventure meets shoot and slash them up like Uncharted.
The biggest thing about this game has to be the weapons. You are fitted with a pistol from the beginning of the game all the way through if you want to keep it. You also have the opportunities to buy bigger and better weapons. When you buy them you can also use some upgrades that you pick up along your journey. Another great feature is that if you just happen to run out of bullets you can use the guns of the foes you killed along the way.
The catch is that when you are infected you can only use the gun for 10-15 seconds before it is disabled. None of these weapons compares to your glaive. This weapon is spawned from your metallic arm and is a spiked boomerang. The further you get into the game the more leather this weapon becomes. You gain the power of guiding it through the air to help decapitate enemies, gain the power to control and contain fire, ice, and electricity. You will need to master your glaive not only to vanquish foes but to get through some of the puzzles this game has in store for you.
While playing the game you are able to hold your pistol and glaive at the same time but are still able to change weapons to a shot gun or assault rifle. You are also equipped with grenades that can be thrown to draw out hidden enemies or to take out multiple ones at one time. The final touch that makes this game really stand out other than these great features is that when you play through the game and pick up bullets you donít just pick up bullets for the weapons you are holding but for all the weapons available to pick from.
One problem that I had with fighting was with your melee attacks. Even though you are striking the opponent with your bladed glaive you really donít do a lot of damage. Sometimes you can stun an enemy with one or two blows, even the more powerful ones, and kill them fairly quickly and then there are other times when it takes forever to stun them and you get surrounded and you are killed. A way the creators hide this and make you want to fight hand to hand is by producing some of the coolest kill moves. Some moves show you cutting off the enemiesí arms and beat them with the weapon the arm was holding, others show you cutting through the entire body, and others show you stabbing the head and cutting it off.
The boss fights were really cool but a little bit on the easy side. The powers the bossís posses and use to fight you are unique and really keep you involved and focus during the fight. It is not that they are too easy, it is that once you figure out the fight pattern there is nothing really to it. You just have to wait your turn to strike and then you have them. I will admit that is was really cool that when you beat them you gained their powers. These powers help you advance through the next levels and become stealthier. Aside from the boss fights you have some really new and intuitive fighting sequences. You can take over enemy tanks known as Jackels and walk through the grounds and shoot everything up with missiles. If you are fired upon you can shoot up counter missiles to direct the enemiesí fire away so you can find and fire at them.
For those of you who like to play online you will not be disappointed with this game. There are two games to be played while online; Infection and Epidemic. Infection is when one player gets to play as Hayden and everyone else tries to kill that one player. The lucky person who does kill him gets to play as Hayden the next round.
After playing the two games I would have to go with Epidemic as being the more interactive and more fun to play. In this game you are broken into teams with every team having a Hayden. Now you are playing more of a cat and mouse game. You job is to protect your Hayden and kill every other teams Hayden. Both games allow you to play with up to 10 players.
I would have given this a perfect ten if not for two things. One, the PS3 is suppose to have a blu-ray reader in it to do true high def right? Then why is this game only running at 720p, unlike its counterpart XBOX360 which runs at full 1080p. Two, how can you have cut scenes that look so computerized after you have some of the best game play graphics out there right now. I was really disappointed with the cut scene graphics. I saw better cut scene graphics on God of War for the PS2.
With all that said this game is still amazing when it comes to the overall looks. The attention to detail was flawless. During the second chapter you could really see this in full force. When the rain was coming down you could see Haydenís infected arm glisten to reflect the little bit of light and rain that was running down it. Lighting was the best I have seen. You get a great experience with this when you are in the basement for the first time and you come into a room full of howlers. The only light you have is from a desk lap that has fallen to the floor. It creates an even more eerie feel to the game. Finally, you see rubble being blown off anything that takes a huge hit during combat. When Haydenís glaive takes on powers of fire, ice, and electricity you could notice the minor details of the element and when they started to disappear you would see the elements either get sucked into the glaive or just fall off.
Where this game truly shines is with Hayden. As you continue to advance throughout the game your infection evolves and changes the look of Haydenís arm. With these changes come more subtle details with lighting and reflections. The more metallic your arm becomes the more you see the reflections of your surrounding and elements from your glaive.
The characters where done pretty well. There are minor details that show the difference between the enemies but you can tell that most of the time on the development of the character was spent on Hayden which I am not going to complain about because he is who you see the whole time. The big flaw I have with enemies is when you perform finishing blows though, you can notice the lack of detail in texture and it makes them look dull and not made for next gen.
By far the best background music I have ever heard in a game. The reason I give this a perfect ten is due to the fact that Dark Sector is not the same game when you turn the sound off. You have all the dark creepy music. Then you have all of the chilling groans, howls, and screeching that will make you not want to look around the corner and cause the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up. You have all the creepy basement noises turned up like; dripping water, swirling winds, and creaky walls. I canít believe how much attentions was spent on sound and I am so glad they did because this game would not have the same great feel that it does.
This game is a great length. You have 10 Chapters to complete that range in size. As an average gamer you should be able to finish this game anywhere between 9 to 15 hours. Now if you want to find all the rubles to buy the latest and greatest or get every ammo box out there you could play a little bit longer.
The difficulty level isnít bad at all. Except for a few elite troopers and the final boss you can handle everything in one or two attempts. I also noticed that after you die in a heavy fight sequence you donít have to fight all the previous monsters or infected creatures. The ones that you kill do not return. I will tell you that after you beat the game you unlock the brutal mode which makes it a little harder to kill the infected and you will have less ammo pickups along the way. With all this said I really donít think you will want to continue playing this game after you beat it the first time.
All I have to say is HOLLY S**T!! This game was amazing. You have the coolest weapon to date in the glaive. When you incorporate the music, graphics, and game play style it is really hard not to get into this game and want to keep playing even if you canít handle horror games, although I think of this game more as creepy than horror.
Now I will tell you that when it comes to scary and creepy games I definitely canít handle them. I played BioShock for about 10 minutes and I wanted to quit because I was freaked out and really couldnít get into that game. When I found out that Dark Sector was going to have a horror twist to it I got a little worried. All of that was quickly dismissed when I started to play it. Dark Sector has some of creepiest music and level designs out there but I couldnít help but want to keep playing. If I can do it trust me you can make it through too. D3 did a masterful job of getting you all freaked out in the underground levels but then reeling you right back in by bringing you back up to the surface and allowing you to relax for a little bit and get you wanting more and more.