I am always game for something unique and different. Far too often in the video game industry we find that games are looking more and more alike, so when I see something that looks different, even if it’s just small changes, I am still more interested to see how the game turns out. Today we are checking out Dark Sector for the Xbox 360, a rather straight forward action game that uses both guns and a pretty sweet metal nun-chuck like arm that we will talk about more in the review. Does this added sci-fi twist bring enough change to make this a worthwhile game? Read our full review to find out.
Many have probably heard the comparisons of Dark Sector to Gears of War, and although they are both third person action games the comparisons aren’t necessarily all that accurate. You will have a lot of the game where you will duck and cover, but I would say that the story and some of the gameplay differs enough to not make Dark Sector feel like a Gears of War rip off.
The story really was going to be the big challenge coming into this game. If you just glanced at the box of Dark Sector, you’re instantly going to expect there to be a pretty deep and rich backstory. Hayden Tenno is the character you play as, a CIA operative sent to Russia to take out Menzer. You basically get infected with some disease and out comes this huge metal thing that attaches to your arm that you can throw at enemies. It’s a pretty interesting start to the game, but the story pulls so far out of being interesting that towards the end of the game it becomes downright dreadful.
You can tell too while playing the game that the developers really wanted the game to be story driven, similar to what we saw in Gears of War or many other action titles. However that just didn’t happen with Dark Sector. Here you are constantly wanting just to get through the story to get to the game. So let’s talk about the gameplay, which is a bit of a mixed bag as well. I couldn’t help but want to enjoy this experience throughout. It’s the type of game that while playing it you think that around the bend the game will pick up and turn into a fantastic experience, but that turn in the game doesn’t happen.
What really irritated me in the game was that it was far too slow for what should have been a great action and intense experience. The Gears of War comparisons are in my mind the quintessential reason why this game struggles to be good. I wanted to just throw my glove aimlessly at enemies and shoot off the rest, but the game so badly wants you to stop and take cover that this action frenzy is almost never possible.
One of the other issues I had with the game was the fact that the lighting in the experience can be dreadful. They allow you to mess around with brightness, and that is almost required to see what in bloody heck is going on. This can make for a lot of unnecessary deaths, another annoyance that I felt throughout the game.
Even with these problems, there is still an underlying good experience to be had in the single player portion of the game. The boss battles, although not all that difficult, are still quite entertaining and somewhat memorable. The multiplayer portion of this game seems so thrown on top and not necessarily even worthwhile to speak about - it’s just that bland. I have to say that even with the problems the underlying game is still good. It is just when you can see a great game underneath a lot of problems, the issues seem to shine brighter.
Dark Sector does one thing right, and that is the visual quality that went into this experience. There is no doubt in my mind that Dark Sector from day one was out to be among the best looking games out there, and in that regard they succeeded. The amount of detail found in the game environment is quite impressive, and the character models too hold there own quite nicely as well. The only visual issue was that I think the developers took things a few steps darker then they needed to, which I believe covered some of the beauty of the games visuals.
This was a tough game for me to review, because on one hand there was a lot of things I liked about the game. For one, the combination of having both guns and his arm to throw and slice up enemies was a fantastic blend. But on the other hand the slowed down pace and lighting issues for me really made the experience far less enjoyable. However this was one of those games that I still wanted to keep moving through even if I had my problems with it because the game had the different aspect to it that made it interesting. What ends up happening however though is that interest wears off about half way through, and then you’re left wishing for a better experience.
I would not shy anyone away from giving Dark Sector a chance, especially those who like the duck and cover style gameplay. The story is terrible, the gameplay works, but the experience doesn’t want to let you leave it. It’s a good game, riddled with a few issues, but overall if you are looking for an action game, giving this one a rent would not be a bad idea.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.