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Dark Sector

I am back and this time we take a plunge into the blood bath that is Dark Sector recently released for the Xbox 360 and PS3. A third person shooter with a dark and eerie twist Dark Sector has the potential supply hours of on the edge of your seat fun. Published by D3 Publisher of America we will be evaluating the Xbox 360 version. Time to see if Dark Sector puts out!

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INTRODUCTION

I am back and this time we take a plunge into the blood bath that is Dark Sector, recently released for the Xbox 360 and PS3. A third person shooter with a dark and eerie twist, Dark Sector has the potential supply hours of on the edge of your seat fun. Published by D3 Publisher of America we will be evaluating the Xbox 360 version. Time to see if Dark Sector puts out!

 

D3 Publisher of America

 

D3Publisher of America, Inc. is a subsidiary of D3, Inc. with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. D3Publisher of America’s strategic focus is on licensed and original titles from leading third-party developers that appeal to mass-market consumers or gaming enthusiasts.

Based in Los Angeles, D3Publisher of America distributes and publishes software for personal computers, major console platforms and handheld systems including Wii™, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™ Game Boy® Advance, PlayStation® game console, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, the Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.


 

STORY

You are Hayden, an elite black-ops operative sent to assassinate a rouge scientist Dr. Mezner but it is not as easy as it may sound. Dr. Mezner is located in a Russian city cut off from the rest of the world due to an outbreak of an unknown virus. To make it even more fun you have only a few hours before you booster shot becomes ineffective leaving you vulnerable to the virus.  That is if it works at all.

With a broken neck here and a gun shot there, you slip into the city, stylishly eliminating any opposing forces and make your way to Dr. Mezner.  With the bad guy cornered it is time to finish your mission so you can get the hell out. Unfortunately Dr. Mezner is far from sane and to top it off he is accompanied by a body guard who is no ordinary mercenary for hire but some type of unknown mutated creature.
 
 
Severely wounded by the creature straight from a Steven King novel you barley make it out alive thus allowing Dr. Mezner to flee the scene. You now know of Mezners’ plans to unleash this mutating virus on humanity the only question is can you stave off your mutation long enough to stop him. Your right arm and shoulder have already shown signs of mutation and with your time obviously limited you had better get started.
 
Now that the story line is laid out we can take a second to evaluate it. The idea behind a mutating virus threatening civilization is not a new concept, but is interesting and usually entertaining enough. Dark Sector lays the way for a great story but falls short in the long run. The cut scenes do not do the original story line justice resulting in a weak delivery.

 

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

Visually Dark Sector is nothing to write home about but at the same time it has no real flaws either. I will say a great job was done allowing the environment to continually give you that creepy feeling. While using the flash light you can however get up close and see some detailed textures at times. The hard work put into the sound was noticeable especially in regards to using your weapons. Hayden’s unique glaive weapon and its special abilities really benefit from the sounds, particularly in the screams of enemy soldiers becoming dismembered.


Not all enemies are midless zombies

GAMEPLAY

The gameplay is similar to Gears of War in regards to seeking cover then exposing yourself only for a short time to fire back, move your position forward and repeat. A small array of guns will be at your disposal including an assault rifle, shotgun, handgun, sniper rifle and even a rocket launcher. 

What sets Dark Sector apart from many other third person shooters is your glaive. Your mutated right arm allows you to summon this almost supernatural weapon. In the beginning you can only aim and throw your three bladed beauty but as you progress in the game your glaive becomes more powerful and useful. One of my favorite abilities for the glaive is being able to control it after it has been thrown. A quick press of the right bumper slows down time and centers on the glaive in flight. Nothing like gliding the glaive over a wall and decapitating a deformed human!

As your journey takes you deeper into the cursed city you will be endowed with even more glaive abilities. By throwing your glaive thorough fires you can charge the glaive with that element. The same principle applies to electricity and ice as well each giving the glaive a different characteristic. Once imbued with these special powers your glaive will become far more deadly or if you wish you can discharge all the stored energy in the glaive to damage an entire group of enemies. Even an energy shield and the ability to shift or move around unseen are added to your arsenal.

Make sure you check every nook and cranny in each level because ammo for weapons is a little scarce. This was not a big deal for me as I preferred to use the glaive over the other weapons, but still noteworthy. Also keep an eye open for rubles the currency of choice for you local black market arms dealer. Should you spot ammo or rubles in a place that is hard to reach fear not as you glaive can also snatch up distant ammo, rubles and even weapons dropped by fallen enemies.

 

GAMEPLAY CONT.

Weapons can be upgraded and purchased at your local black market dealer. Oddly enough the black market dealer is located in the sewers (guess that is why I have never seen one) so keep that in mind if you come across a man-hole cover. Here you can not only retrofit you weapons via upgrades found but buy or sell weapons. There is even a locker so you can store a weapon for later use.

Hand-to-hand combat did not seem to be as fine tuned as using weapons or the glaive. If an enemy was damaged enough you could perform a gory finishing move which usually resulted in the enemy missing a limb but a fresh enemy up close could cause havoc. This results in you having to put a bit of space between yourself and your foe.

Overall gameplay is the key element for Dark Sector. I did come across a few glitches in later levels where enemies would slide across the ground instead of walking, but this only happened twice and happened very quickly. Controls were standard for most shooters which in my opinion is a good thing so there is little to get used to. AI for the most part displayed tactical approaches to engagements even taking cover while trying to flush you out of yours. If brutal enough you can hear them scream before a deadly blow is dealt…oh yeah who is your daddy now? Your ever evolving glaive teamed with finishing moves will keep you coming back for more. Factor in challenging puzzles and intriguing boss fights through out your journey and you can expect to be entertained as the campaign mode will take a few evenings of play to beat.

 

CONCLUSION

The story was weak the graphics seem to be main stream nothing at all ground breaking but I can not ignore the gameplay. Dark Sector does allow online play but like many games focused on the single player action the online play will just be another asset to keep you entertained a bit longer after you have finished campaign mode. I was a bit disappointed in the replay factor with Dark Sector. You spend much of your time scouring dark hallways and corners looking for rubles and upgrades but if you restart another campaign mode you do not get to keep your hard earned cash. Despite the very few hiccups I did encounter the gameplay was splendid and will give gamers many different, yet all bloody, approaches to match their gaming style. All in all Dark Sector will keep you entertained for some time with its unique and gruesome approach to break the third person shooter mold we have come to know.

How Dark Sector Scores:
 
Graphics - 7.5
Dark Sector will have it moments where everything looks great and detailed but as mentioned nothing ground breaking.
 
Sound - 7.5
Many games simply supply gallons of blood to create a horrific atmosphere but Dark Sector takes it a step further with sounds to match!
 
Gameplay - 8
Dark Sector excelled in regards to gameplay and areas of originality.
 
Replay Ability – 6
Online play was nothing special and the fact that when you start another campaign you loose what you worked so hard for I found discouraging.
 
Learning Curve - 7.5
Standard controls ensure you will not spend vast amounts of time just figuring out how to manipulate your character.
 
Story - 5.5
The story was not translated as well as it could have been from its creation on paper to the final product.
 
Overall 7 out of 10

 

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