Jeffrey Markiewicz On April 23, 2008 at 7:03 am

Dark Sector is a new title from Digital Extremes, famous for co-developing the Unreal Tournament series. There recent titles have been Pariah and Warpath on the previous generation of systems but they failed to garner much critical acclaim. Now they are out to start things this generation on a high note with Dark Sector.

In the game you play a black-ops agent named Hayden Tenno, sent on an assassination mission and then all hell breaks loose and you have to be the hero and save the day. The single player will take about 8 hours. Early on you become infected with a virus which slowly starts taking you over but also gives you cool powers. The setup of the story sounds awfully generic but was well done, at least initially. Then this train derails into predictability and more importantly, just a poor storytelling. It’s better than some of games lately in the fact that a story actually exists but you will not be satisfied.

Luckily, the gameplay is better than the story, slightly. The gameplay centers around the powers you gain throughout the game from the viral infection. The basis of these powers is the glaive, a bladed boomerang which is used to cut your enemies to pieces. Sequences that focus on using the glaive are quite awesome but unfortunately they are few and far between. Mostly you’ll get into situations where you would love to use the glaive but the enemies are too far away which will force you to switch to a rifle. Picking one up off the ground only allows a couple seconds of usage before it disintegrates. Luckily plentiful throughout the game you’ll find sewers where you can buy guns that do not disintegrate. Also here you will be able to upgrade your weapons with upgrades you pick up throughout the levels. While these black markets are cool and add incentive to search for money and upgrades, you’ll rarely need to use them. It would have been nicer to have been able to purchase grenades, armor, or most importantly ammo from them. Certain parts of the game you will get really low on ammo and it would have been nice to be able to purchase some extra bullets. There are tons of guns lying on the floor but you cannot pick up ammo from those weapons, which is as unexplainable as not being able to indefinitely use the weapons. The controls are practically identical to Gears of War so most people should feel at home. Unfortunately sometimes they become unresponsive when using the glaive and will slightly frustrate you when you attempt to use one of your powers. The enemies you’ll be fighting range from soldiers to the infected, all of which are quite generic. The infected will remind you of the flood from Halo. One variant even looks and acts exactly like the Vortigaunts from Half-Life. The way health it dealt with is also similar to many games which is characterized by a regenerative health system. Overall the gameplay is most entertaining, awesome at a couple parts, but suffers from being fairly generic and a lack of polish.

This game features a multiplayer component. Regrettably it feels like an afterthought. It comes with two gametypes, infection and endemic. These feel more like variants of the same gametype. In infection, one person plays as a fully upgraded Hayden and everyone else are basic troopers. Kill Hayden, become Hayden and the former player gets downgraded to a regular trooper. Repeat. In endemic you have two teams, each team has a Hayden and the rest of the people are basic troopers. The goal once again is to kill Hayden. The team that kills the opposing teams Hayden wins and the person who killed that Hayden becomes him on their respective team. Basically it’s fun for about an hour or two, but then you have seen it all and will move on to something else.

The graphics are powered by the Unreal 3 engine, which means they are pretty good, from a technical standpoint. The levels are highly desaturated, void of any color like the current class of game titles. This effect is only heightened by the poor usage of lighting where in the same area you’ll have pitch black and 2 feet away you’ll have overwhelming brightness. In addition to this, there is copious amounts of blur which actually disorient at first but luckily you become desensitized to the effect. The models are pretty good, especially when you slice through them using the glaive. You can decapitate them, chop off their legs, or even just cut them in two. All of which looks awesome. Basically the graphics are good but marred by generic look and over usage of various graphical techniques.

The sound in the game is quite well done. Everything sounds great in 5.1. Really adds a decent amount of atmosphere to the scarier moments of the game. The biggest drawback is that there is no real music in the game, just bland ambient music. There isn’t even a theme to the game from what I can tell. The credits play the same music from the menu, which again is ambient music. Overall the lack of music doesn’t hugely hurt the game, but it would have been nice to have, plus the sound effects make up for it.

Overall this is a fun game. The story starts off pretty good but starts to fall apart after a couple hours into the game. The real main attraction of this show is the glaive, which when you’re allowed to use it, the game becomes quite fun. Unfortunately you get distracted from this by the generic and sometimes repetitive gameplay. The multiplayer’s fun dies out really quick, but worth playing a game or two online. The graphics are pretty good but over use of certain techniques and the desaturated world brings down its marks. The sound is good but there is no music, just some bland ambient music. Basically I would recommend either renting this title or beating it over a weekend or wait until it drops to $30, then the experience will be worth it.


Glaive is awesome but only in certain situations. Gameplay is really generic and repetitive. Story starts good but turns out to be very generic and predictable. Also some polishing issues also exist.


Graphics are good technically but there is no color in the world and some techniques are overused. Slicing up the enemies with the glaive looks really good.


Sound is pretty good. Unfortunately there is no real music in the game, just bland ambient tracks.


Entertaining but generic describes this game. The glaive is really cool though but it only works well in certain situations. Wait of a price drop or rent it.

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