Dark Sector

Dark Sector is one of those games that sneaks up on you – you look at the announcement trailer, give it a brief thought and then it’s forgotten until the week before launch – so I was certainly happy to find it’s one of the best third person shooters I’ve played in a long time. The game is divided into chapters, with the first one throwing you straight into a black and white prologue. With the gritty textures and atmospheric sound effects this is a game that instantly immerses you into a dark world of infection and military tactics.

The motion in the game is fluid with no slow down regardless of what you might find yourself doing, and with such a variety of skills and attacks you never know what you’ll be doing next! The game controls are easy to pick up with it feeling almost instinctual as you gather skills and use them in a variety of different ways. This brings us on to an unexpected plus side of the game. I usually find that when playing games that have aspects of many different genres in them you end up with nothing but disappointment. This game, however, takes snippets of the survival horror, puzzle and even the RPG and adds them to a solid shooter seamlessly. You will find yourself barely noticing that one minute you are gunning soldiers in a toned down version of Rainbow Six whilst the next minute you will be defending yourself from constantly spawning zombies in a dark sewer. The RPG and puzzle elements link in nicely as your main weapon (a glaive that appears on your mutated arm which can be thrown or used for melee) can be charged with ice, fire or electricity. Enemy weaknesses are easy to work out with a primitive knowledge of the rpg genre and many puzzles involve combining your elements with environmental items in order to get the element you require.

For die hard fans of all things shooter this game unfortunately may not be as satisfying. With the normal difficulty giving no real problems that can’t be solved by simple tactics and the brutal difficulty being only unlockable after game completion some people may find their expertise going to waste, but I hope with the range of skills, that remind me somewhat of a cross between Psi-Ops and The Darkness, there is enough to keep these people interested. The story may also not pull everyone in as much as hoped, with limited cut scenes you almost feel that you are missing out on the bigger picture – dark sector 2 up their sleeve maybe? But there’s enough to pique your interest.

The one area of combat that suffers is the melee aspect, which if you’re fortunate you shouldn’t have to use much as decapitation by throwing your glaive gives you a far more satisfying sense of achievement! It’s hard to lock on to an enemy with the melee attack and frankly you’d expect a slash to the head with a glaive to do much more damage than it actually does. The close up combat does win some kudos back, however, with a nice array of finishing moves to pull off on your enemies and on some bosses.

Dark Sector, whilst incredibly linear does break several conventions that you may not have realised were so ingrained in your head. For one thing, the chapters aren’t remotely evenly split. The chapters are as long (or short) as they need to be, which results in some taking ten minutes and some over an hour. Although this feels odd at first it provides the story with breaks in the correct place so you’ll soon forgive them. Another convention that’s out the window is the end of level boss – bosses can appear at any time and any where with some chapters ending quite peacefully so don’t go tricking yourself into thinking boss = end of chapter + achievement because in this game you never know what’s coming next.

With an 18 rating you know this game is going to have some brutality but it’s certainly not for the faint hearted. With the aftertouch skill you can slow down and control your throws of the glaive which enables you to dice your opponent whatever way you choose whilst some of the later finishers can become vicious enough that you wonder why the censors aren’t all over it a la Manhunt.

With those who are playing on the PS3 finding the glaive extremely easy to throw and direct to switches behind fences etc those of us lacking the six axis controller may find some glitches. There are a few spots when I had found what to do only to have my glaive fall through the landscape in the style of an olden time clipping error only to return to me seconds later, however, if you think you’ve got the right idea you probably have so keep trying because it’ll happen in a handful of attempts.







2 responses to “Dark Sector”

  1. Dave avatar

    I must admit that news of this game had passed me by but I think I might need to check it out.

  2. Martin avatar

    I got Condemned 2, didn’t like it ans swapped it for this. Dark Sector went right under my radar but I really like it, sure it may borrow from other games but it doesn’t make it any less a game. The Cathedral fight is a gaming highlight of the year. Multiplayer also works well if a tad simple. Miss this and miss a gem.

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