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GILSSBPNW#306: Dark Sector

Aahhhhh, Dark Sector.  You came shambling into my heart like some kind of freakish spawn of RE4 and Krull, with maybe just a smattering of Guyver, and never really left. I was one of the two people that actually played you, and I still remember you…..sniff……I…..remember…sob…….you…..more sob….

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Well, an awful lot, actually. First off, the game was beautiful thanks to an all new, at the time, engine called Evolution. Digital Extremes built it from scratch for the game and it delivered great looking characters and environments while also keeping a rock solid frame rate.

The gameplay, however, was the real star of the show. No reviewer worth their salt could help but point out how much Dark Sector mirrored RE4 and Gears of War with it's 'stop and pop' gameplay, but what few bothered to point out was a very subtle but important difference. And no, I'm not talking about that sweetass glaive, which I'll get to in a moment. Nope, what I'm talking about is the relatively fast running speed.  Now, while he wasn't Vanquish fast, the fabulous Mr. Tenno was quite a bit nimbler than anybody you'd find in Delta Squad. The result, a much more aggressive play style that was actually a lot of fun when paired with the more defensive cover mechanic. When you paired this with the strategy of using the rumble to warn you when to use the super throw, as opposed to the not as reliable visual cue, it wasn't long before you'd feel like a somersaulting storm of death and dismemberment. I know this doesn't sound like much, but in going back to a lot of other third person shooters after playing Dark Sector, I couldn't help but feel like I was running through water.

There's really not much you can say about the glaive except that it's a giant three bladed boomerang of pain and just about the greatest thing ever. It's what Link would carry if he just didn't give a fuck.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Mostly, the story. While the story itself wasn't bad, the execution was. The whole thing gets off to a stylish start, what with the black and white opening, but soon gets uneven and choppy. Considering the length of the game, you end up going for long periods of time with no story progression. By the time the next cut scene comes up you've pretty much forgotten what's going on.

Speaking of length, a lot of people took issue with that as well. Considering that, in my old age, I've lost all patience for racist, homophobic twelve year olds yelling n00b at me, I tend to not spend too much time playing multiplayer anymore. I appreciate a lengthy single player, and Dark Sector delivers in spades.

The only other real knock against the game is a general lack of variety when it comes to enemies, but it's not a huge deal.

 

WHY THERE PROBABLY WON'T BE A SEQUEL: No big mystery here, the game just didn't sell all that well. The reviews just weren't that great, and a lot of people seemed to just ignore the game completely. What's so disappointing about this is that Dark Sector is the kind of game that deserves a sequel that could smooth out what few rough edges the original had. There's a ton of untapped potential here. Considering all the work that went into the game, not to mention the ending, it's pretty obvious that Digital Extremes meant Dark Sector to be the first in a series. Hopefully, one day they'll get to realize that series.

Until then, don't hesitate to run out and pick this game up. This is my number one suggestion to friends when they've run out of things to play, and every one of them has thanked me for it. What with the economy being what it is, you can get a great, lengthy overlooked gem of a game for about $10.

Not bad. Not bad at all.


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