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Dark Sector Review

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Developer: Digital Extremes Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: March 25, 2008 Also On: PS3 and Xbox 360

It’s been a long time coming, but Dark Sector is finally out. This is the first officially unveiled next-gen console game. You may remember four years ago, in 2004, when the game was showed off. It featured a space suit (which oddly looks a lot like a Marine from StarCraft) and the main character, Hayden. That was the last we would hear of Dark Sector for quite some time. Although the game was never officially canceled, it obviously underwent a major overhaul.

Just to prove how big of a change of direction Dark Sector underwent, consider that the setting went from taking place in outerspace to taking place in the USSR. Big difference, eh? The game still kept intact the sort of organic shield that you develop over the course of the game. But I digress. Dark Sector is not a game that you will care much about the plot. It involves a government agent sent to retrieve a virus (think Resident Evil), killing the bad guy responsible for its outbreak which caused everyone to turn into zombies (think Resident Evil) and get infected yourself (think… well, nevermind).

The reference to Resident Evil 4 should not be lost. Dark Sector is an unashamed ripoff of Capcom’s third person horror game. It’s over the shoulder, controls much like Resident Evil 4, aims almost exactly like it and even has the button sequences that Resident Evil 4 had. Everything from your knife attack to the button layout is just like it. Even the main bad guy looks eerily similar to Mendez (the guy with the beard from Resident Evil 4). The difference? Dark Sector gives your main character a glaive and super powers.

That said, being a blatant ripoff is nothing new. Indeed, games like Saint’s Row and others have basically lifted the concept of Grand Theft Auto directly off its foundation and reused it to much success. The problem is the game feels far too generic and often monotonous. Oddly enough, you will find yourself using your glaive a majority of the time instead of handguns. An “after touch” allows you to go into slow motion while throwing the glaive in order to be more precise. This results in the decapitation of your targets and could kill multiple enemies. Furthermore, the glaive is used in solving puzzles, as it can act as an elemental magnet, turning to ice, fire and electricity.

For whatever reason, the developers hate guns. Dark Sector is a game that actually will penalize you for using an enemy’s gun by having it blow up in your hand after a few seconds of use. The idea is that you use your glaive and upgrade your personal weapons (while conserving ammo), as opposed to collecting enemy weapons. This can lead to frustrating situations where you are out of ammo, or nearly out, and have several enemies that need taken care of. For a third person shooter, I think it is a bit odd that you probably only spend 80-90% of the game shooting, since you will be constantly using the glaive.

To add to my confusion even further, there is an upgrade system involved with the weapons in the game. Of course, the store is like Resident Evil 4 as well, except with an extremely limited selection. I half expected the guy to say the obligatory, “Welcome” while opening his coat for the goods. They only give you between five or six choices of guns to buy (a pistol, shotgun and few others), but you can not carry them all (only a pistol and one shotgun/rifle at a time), ammo is limited and the upgrades involved are often not very useful. You will find that the money you collect throughout the game may lead to you purchasing two, maybe three of the game’s weapons. If you want something powerful, you better save up and not waste your money as it gets expensive.

I can’t finish my review of Dark Sector without mentioning the super powers that Hayden will develop throughout the game. Most of it involves the glaive as I have mentioned already: the after touch and elemental aspects such as using electricity to power doors or fire to catch enemies on fire. After touch is without a doubt the most satisfying part of the game. I would dare say Dark Sector is worth renting just to knock a few heads off, but it will undoubtedly wear off after a while. Other than that, Hayden will also develop a shield ability and the ability to turn invisible.

For what is the first next-gen game to be unveiled, Dark Sector has been a long-time coming. It’s now 2008, we are a good two years into this generation and yet this game seems a little late to the show. Maybe I would have been a little more impressed in 2006, but even then, Resident Evil 4 is a superior game in nearly every way. With such a crowded field of good games, it is hard to see why Dark Sector deserves much attention. Some of the ideas are neat, the glaive being the only one that stands out clearly, but much of the rest of the game is nothing new. Get rid of the glaive and Dark Sector is an average Resident Evil 4 wanna-be four years after the main event.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7
Written by Kyle Review Guide