Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dark Void for the PS3 and 360 review




I will not beat around the bush with what I am about to say. Making video games is HARD. Making video games into reality is even harder. There is so much that goes into planning a game and making it reality. There is also the chance that the game will not turn out well at all, even after 2 years of development or so. A good example of this is Dark Void for the Playstation 3 and Xbox360. After its release, it has gotten mixed, but mostly negative reviews. Most of the time, most gamers in my opinion don’t know how hard it is to make a full game. I took two semesters of game-related classes, and I even typed up my own game design document, and it was a lot of hard work. It’s still sad though, when a game has a lot of hype and then disappoints in the end. Since I mentioned Dark Void, how about we make that the next review?

The main story of Dark Void takes place in the 1940’s during WWII. The story settles around a cargo pilot named William Gray. He is accompanied by an ex girlfriend as they make a delivery to who knows where. They then fly through the Bermuda Triangle, and stuff goes crazy. It’s not like we haven’t seen that before when someone goes through the Bermuda Triangle. The two then crash-land somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, only to find out that cooler-looking terminators have taken over the area, mostly killing anyone or enslaving them. It is up to Will, with the help of Nikola Tesla, to help the freedom fighters that are there to destroy the aliens and get out of the Bermuda Triangle. Is it just me, or does this sound like some kind of sci-fi film that would star Bruce Campbell or Brad Pitt?

The game play featured in Dark Void is a mix between a third-person-shooter and a strategy fighter of some sorts. You take control of our main hero Will, as he now wears a cool helmet and jet pack, which looks pretty cool, you have to admit, as you run and fly around, shooting aliens that are actually slugs and lizards in metal suits. The terminator thing was just a joke. You have your basic armory, like a machine gun, shotgun, and the bare essentials. Will can also use alien weaponry, like a lightning gun, which reminds me of a gun from Killzone 2 and a gravity gun. Though you will mostly care about what you can do with the jetpack. You can, of course, fly around like you’re Iron Man, but you can also hover around and use the little machine guns that are on your jetpack to shoot down enemy airships. You can hang from ledges and do some vertical third-person-shooting, which is a cool idea, in my opinion. You can also do a melee attack that will quickly finish off weaker enemies. When you’re in the air, you can hijack enemy planes, which changes the game play a little, but I think I would rather fly around in a jet pack.

The graphics in the game are nice, but they don’t do anything special, like Uncharted 2 or God of War 3 has done, though I will make the argument that they are A LOT better than the graphics in Haze. The voice work is well done, with Will voiced by Nolan North, who is famous for doing the voice of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, Elliot Salem from Army of Two: the 40th day, and Desmond Miles from the Assassin’s Creed series. The script is not the best, but is something you would expect from a sci-fi flick. I still like the design of the helmet and the jet pack, because of how it reminds me of movies like The Rocketeer and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

However, there are a lot of rough edges with this game that give it its low scores from over the world. The game is rather short, and can be beaten in a day or two. There also happens to be a lot of things that remind me of other games. The one I think that stands out the most is where Will is inside a pod-like thing, getting taken around the alien’s base. Doesn’t anyone see that it looks like a scene from Half-Life 2? That is just my thought. Actually, a lot of things remind me Half-Life 2, the gravity gun thing you get seems like it was a prototype of the gravity gun you can get in Half-Life 2. During the last part of the game, it seems like the story kind of fell flat and burned out, even before the game ended. In the end, I felt cheated, and I think it’s because they just ran out of time down at Airtight Games which is known for Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. That is what this whole game seems like, they just ran out of time. The enemy variety is just small. Melee attacks and blind shooting seems WAY too effective. It gets repetitious, and they didn’t have time to make the script not sound like a movie you see on the sci-fi channel.

Dark Void, in the end, falls short and is maybe the worst of the games that were released in January, but it is worth at least one rental. I have to admit it’s a very cool idea, but it just wasn’t executed well. If they do make a sequel, I hope they do a good job of it. Like I said, it’s a cool idea, just not done well.

This game gets a 6.7 out of 10

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