Game: "Dark Sector"
System: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Other

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 11/9/2008

Review: Remember Krull? Remember how the hero in that movie had a magic glaive? Well Dark Sector is your chance to try your hand at a little glaive work of your own.

Therein, you play Hayden Tenno, a guy with some kind of covert ops background who, after being drummed out of service for some reason, is drawn back in by equally murky circumstances to stop a madman and his virus in fictional Soviet bloc country. There’s more to the story later in the game, but with no prologue in the game and no story in the manual, that’s about all you get in the way of exposition. Anyway, as you see on the cover, Hayden gets infected with a disease that gives him a wicked glaive and gradually chrome plates his entire body. Vengeance to follow.

The glaive itself is a fun weapon to use. Enemies are subject to location-sensitive damage, so a good glaive hit to the extremities will result in dismemberment with an appropriate amount of screaming. Later, you’ll gain the ability to give the glaive a much harder throw, resulting in decapitations and enemies chopped in half. Later still, you’ll gain the ability to guide the glaive via slow motion camera. And if you see a fire, or a sparking transformer, or some other such thing, you can capture that element to give your glaive tossing a little something extra. Indeed, you’ll really enjoy using the glaive in combination with a handful of other conventional guns to mow down the opposition. Or at least, you’ll enjoy it for a while.

The problem is that each of the game’s ten chapters tends to play out the same way: Hayden moves into a cover-filled area for a firefight, he slowly dispatches all the enemies by shooting or glaiving them when they pop up from behind their own cover, then he moves onto the next firefight area for more of the same. In between, and during the occasional boss battle, Hayden may be called upon to mix in some elemental damage, but even this change of pace is at best dull.

The game’s environments do little to stop the malaise from washing over you. The first chapter, for example, is grayscale. It may have been meant to be some kind of artsy “before” type shot, but it winds up being foreshadowing for the rest of the game. The following levels don’t get to be quite as bad as that, but in trying to establish a bleak tone for the game, you’re going to see a noticeable dip in the color variation. By the fourth chapter, the whole thing was starting to look like a big gray-brown smear.

Speaking of environments, the game is billed as horror-themed, and to that end, several horror mainstays have been cleverly worked into the game. The local population has been infected by the same virus as our hero, but instead of getting cool powerups, they’ve merely turned into greasy zombie-like creatures. That said, doesn’t it seem natural to have Hayden skulk through a graveyard where these “infected” pop up out of the ground? Doesn’t it also make sense to have him sneak through a decrepit mansion haunted filled with more “infected”? No, not really. Is it that scary when you can simply grab an Infected in a headlock and break their backs by simply hitting them once and then moving behind them? Again, not really.

Still, the game’s attempts to be in all sorts of different genres do prevent the game from slipping out of “mediocre” territory and into just plain “bad”. Combat is somewhat enjoyable, and boy is there a lot of it, but all the horrific elements the game throws at you (huge piles of body bags, pitch black zombie raids, etc) because, well, you’ve got a giant razor-sharp throwing start coming out of your hand. If one of the infected comes at you with an axe, you can simply chop off their axe arm and smash them in the face with their own weapon. It doesn’t help that the details of Hayden’s story remain unknown for such a long period of time, but as with graphics, a game’s story should always be considered after the actual gameplay. It’s too bad there isn’t a sufficient amount of good gameplay to distract you from all the crummy elements.

Overall rating: WholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Nov 10th, 2008, 07:12 AM
Weird is to know that neither the game or the manual offer some story to give more detail.
Nov 10th, 2008, 01:43 PM
The writers must have been out to lunch.
Can't touch this
Nov 10th, 2008, 04:59 PM
Perhaps because the story sucks, so the longer you play the 'not-bad' game the less disappointed you'll be when you discover the sucky storyline?
drifting in the void
Nov 11th, 2008, 05:30 AM
I actually liked this game enough to play through it 3 times in a row. Okay, I didn´t pay the full price for it but still, it´s a nice little mediocre 3rd-Person Shooter. And when did someone care about a storyline in shooters? All I remember from Dark Sector´s Story is something like this:

"*mumblemumbleINFECTEDmumbleMUTANTScoughwheezeGLAI VE*" Does it for me, don´t need to know more.
Space Cowboy
Nov 11th, 2008, 05:37 AM
I really enjoyed this game. The gore level was pretty high, which led me to lots of exultant shouts of "oh my god, did you see that? I just cut his arm off while he was throwing a grenade from behind cover!" and the like. Granted, the storyline was pretty terrible, but the boss fights were pretty fun.

My only gripe was the online play. The online mode where one player is Hayden and the rest are faceless Russians is a good idea in theory, but in practice it seemed that every time I played it, someone lagged so horribly that I would get stabbed by someone who was literally half the screen away on my TV.
Funky Dynamite
Nov 11th, 2008, 08:12 PM
Originally Posted by OxBlood View Post
And when did someone care about a storyline in shooters?
I don't mind if the story is silly or cheesy, but when it's taking place and you aren't told anything about it, you feel like you walked in late on the game. Like everyone's in on what's going on except you. You see stuff like this all the time in games where the main character has amnesia, but even then, you are told that that's what happened to him/her.

The gore level was pretty high, which led me to lots of exultant shouts of "oh my god, did you see that? I just cut his arm off while he was throwing a grenade from behind cover!" and the like.
Eh. You see outrageous stuff like that all the time in games, but even when it gets that kind of reaction from you, it still wears out after the first couple times. There was one sequence where zombies kept coming at me, so I would punch them, walk behind them, and break their backs. When you do that at least half a dozen times in a row, even the most brutal finisher starts to seem pretty dull.
Retardedly Handsome
Nov 12th, 2008, 12:21 PM
If the changed the name to Krull: Dark Sector I'd probably buy it.
Big Red Cat
Nov 15th, 2008, 09:09 PM
I think it's inexcusable how little effort so many "bigtime" shooter, stategy, and adventure games have such weak stories. Don't get me wrong, I know there is a large number of gamers out there who would rather drink bleach from a dead hobo's ass than watch a video game cutscene, and to each his/her own. But for my $60, and the developers' months (if not years) of creation, why is it that they couldn't put more than 15 minutes of thought and effort into creating a good, fully-realized, original story?
Forum Virgin
Jun 1st, 2009, 05:31 PM
Perhaps I am a little biased by the fact that I found this game for 4.98 at Target (weird right?!), but I got a lot more out of this game than Dead Space. Sure, the controls are a little too sensitive at first, but once the Glaive comes into play, the game shines. I played through twice, trying different weapon combos and what not, and found it to be pretty enjoyable.

The game does fall short in numerous areas, especially the ridiculous "linear" level layout. I was also peeved at the odd placement of "money"; some levels have numerous briefcases scattered throughout, while others literally have nothing. This was extremely frustrating, as I am the gamer who picks through each level with a fine-tooth comb. I did find an incredible number of upgrades, which can be traded for cash, but I didn't pick up on that until play-through #2.

Definitely worthy of the pickle score.
frappez le cochon rouge
Jun 1st, 2009, 05:51 PM
I had loads of fun with this game. I thought it was very very pretty and the sound direction was coo.