Dark Sector ReviewJason Leyanna
The game starts off as your typical shooter although you are seeing pretty much in black and white, which makes for an interesting mood. You are Hayden Tenno, a black-ops agent in an unfamiliar city. Soon after arrival, Hayden gets infected and color bleeds back into the game. Dark Sector still retains a dark and gritty atmosphere even after that point of no return. This infection allows you to become the ultimate weapon, similar to BioShock, though you do have a potential death sentence. There are, potentially, booster shots to counter the infection, but you’ll have to play to find out.
The weapon that is now part of Hayden’s arm, the Glaive, reminds me of Xena’s weapon (Xena: Warrior Princess – TV show) in how it can be thrown except that it is made up of three angled blades instead of a circle. Overall the game is reminiscent of that in addition to BioShock and Resident Evil. The development team, Digital Extremes, should be given some credit for trying something a bit different, as this isn’t a typical first-person shooter. Actually, it isn’t an FPS at all as it is in the 3rd person.
The weapon can be charged with electricity or fire or be shot out with four times the force if you get your timing right. You can hold the weapon, Glaive, and also a one-handed gun. So technically you could be taking out two enemies simultaneously. If you hit an enemy with the Glaive severely you will usually hear a bloodcurdling scream as he falls to the ground. For two-handed weapons you can only hold on to them for a limited period of time. The Glaive does take some getting used to, a learning curve if you will, but it isn’t too hard to get the hang of it. There is a limited amount of ammo, so it’s good to pick up that of the enemies. If you are out of ammo or at close range, there are melee attacks you can use. Be careful though… if they get too close they might be able to kill Hayden instead.
The setting is in Lasris, an Eastern European city in shambles where there is a Cold War secret hidden. This city is an eerie backdrop for the mission. Beams of sunlight filter through windows adding to this peculiar feel. Bullets whiz by and may graze you in the process. Some excellent environmental effects include loud claps of thunder following lightning in the sky with tattered flags waving. The rain also pours down and creates a gleaming surface where you can see reflections. Be alert for shiny objects that are littered in the playfield, which generally contain useful items such as ammo.
There will be some times when you need to utilize stealth in your operation to take out enemies and keep progressing. The A button can be used to stay behind a wall or other object in a fashion such as in Perfect Dark Zero while you sporadically shoot at the enemies. The barrel roll can be used as well to dodge enemy fire. At certain times you can vault over cement barriers and go after the enemies in the foreground. The camera angle can be adjusted with the right control stick allowing you to get a different angle on things when the auto-adjusting is ineffective.
I noticed a couple of glitches in the game, one where the head of the protagonist went partially through a cabinet. Something else strange happened; one of the gigantic monsters that was after me was practically right on top of me, towering above, and no damage seemed to occur.
An aspect that sets Dark Sector apart from typical shooters is the lack of a heads-up display. While this might dishearten some, it actually works quite well as the screen will start to turn red. Hayden will slow down and his heart will be racing as if he was really getting injured. He will gradually recover his health, and the screen will go back to normal if he is does not succumb to his injuries first.
The game is generally quite linear, though there can be more than one way to get through some areas. Unfortunately some puzzles can be a bit challenging as it can be hard to notice what to do to get to where you need to be. This causes some frustration.
Dark Sector is a game that gets some major things right and attempts to break new ground. It is quite satisfying for the majority of the time but does have its occasional aggravations. If you’re tired of the same old first-person shooter give Dark Sector a shot. (Pun intended)
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.