Review: Dark Void

Recently, GamingAngels has brought you both a video review of the Dark Void Demo on the Xbox 360 and a review of the PC Demo.  Now, Vespaa has a full review for the PS3 version of PS3.  Read on to find out what she thought of the game.

Developer: Airtight Games
Genre: Action, 3rd Person Shooter, Platform
ESRB: T (for Teen)
Number of players: 1
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: January 19th, 2010


Capcom has published many renowned games for decades now and has introduced us to countless successful game franchises. Mega-man, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, the list goes on. They’ve consistently had success in many different genres of gaming, and I’m sure they hoped their latest title, Dark Void would be as well received as the previously mentioned games. While I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a bad game, I don’t believe it’ll achieve this level of popularity for several reasons. This third person action/adventure shooter borrows too many ideas and concepts from other games in this genre to really standout on it’s own.

Dark Void opens with our protagonist Will Grey, a pilot, who’s plane goes off course and mysteriously crashes in the “Void.” The Void is another world parallel to our own, where The Watchers, a robotic alien like race are at war with the survivors, humans are have survived their onslaught. The prologue is set in 1938, and we learn that the Watchers have come to earth in search of a new home, as there’s was destroyed.You briefly start off with the full powered jet pack in during thefirst portion of the game, which is a brief glimpse into what will happen later into the story. While flying around and attempting to destroy Watcher air crafts, the controls tend to be rather capricious here, the camera working against you a bit. The environment is rendered really exceptionally, and the lighting and atmosphere is really enjoyable while flying around, the game mechanics were a little disorienting here. You are always propelled in one direction or another, and cannot stop flight in this section of the game, making it a bit reminiscent of rail shooters, but more expansive.

After taking down several Watcher air crafts with the assault gun attached to the jet pack, the story advances when a Scorpion Mech ambushes you and at the moment of impact, we are taken back to Will’splane crash at some point earlier on. Episode I opens with Will, and his love interest Chloe–I mean Ava lost in the jungle while searching for a village. Now, while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Dark Void takes this a bit too far in that the entire first chapter is like playing Uncharted. Right down to Will looking quite a bit like, and sharing a voice actor with Nathan Drake and Ava being aesthetically similar to Chloe. The atmosphere right down to the music, and the wayyou interact with it is extremely similar to Uncharted in this portionof the game. The control scheme fully adheres to this as well. If notfor the jet packs you and Ava are given and the fact that your enemies are Robotic Aliens, I would say Capcom may get slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit from Naughty Dog. It even includes the vertical cover system, along with vertical combat, which is battling enemies above and below you.

That being said, the game is actually decently fun. But the combat overall feels very “Been there, done that, and done it better” to anyone who’s played Uncharted. Yet it feels slightly less polished. Most Watchers you encounter are agile robotic soldiers with an interesting variety of advanced weapons that you can pick up and use. (With names like the Uberator, and the Oppressor which are pretty cool.) You can also upgrade these weapons via Weapon Lockers using Tech Points dropped from downed enemies.

You’ll find journal entries throughout the game which inform you more about the world of Dark Void and the game’s universe and time line. It even includes some historical references as well, like making allusion’s to Amelia Earheart’s plane also crashing into the Void. You also meet Nikola Tesla early into the game, who’ll give Will and Ava their first jet packs. The game is slightly linear, but with large environments that are fun to explore and navigate, especially with your jet pack. Shortly after finding a sect of primitive survivors (who abruptly tell you to leave) the village comes under attack by the Watchers, and they suddenly have a change of heart. The flight system in the game can be pretty fun, and will make players feel like there’s no where in the game, vertically or horizontally that they can’t explore. However, during airborne combat the frame rate gets a bit erratic, and some screen tearing is present.

After fighting off the Watchers and launching an attack on one of their home bases (Which is very similar stylistically to areas you may see in Halo) Will encounters one of our first bosses of the game. A very large Lizard like Watcher, which you must defeat before it reaches a certain point on the beach. After fighting the boss for a bit, you can initiate a quick time button sequence ala God of War to finish it off.

Overall, I thought Dark Void was a decent game. It’s real problem is that in a generation of gaming where shooters are being released in spades, Dark Void borrows too much from other games to really stand out. It just didn’t really feel unique, and a shooter with a lack of online multi-player just won’t offer much in the replay value department as well. The concept of flight in a third person shooter is a really bold idea, and can actually be pretty fun, but they could have executed it a bit better. It may appeal to some gamers, but it doesn’t warrant a buy in the face of other games in this genre.

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