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Author Topic: Dark Sector- Why was this game overlooked?  (Read 1319 times)
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Dante Rising
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« on: January 13, 2009, 01:10:54 AM »

I just picked up Dark Sector for the 360 (for a whopping $9.99 at Newegg) and I'm surprised by how much better it is than I could have anticipated. It has some spectacular graphics, excellent physics and controls, and a setting and atmosphere that set it apart from your standard FPS. The glaive (3 bladed boomerang) is a very cool weapon, and the ability to enhance it with things like fire and electricity are an added bonus. Nothing better than slicing off arms and heads from a distance!

Plus the developer took the extra step to add in a Russian Black Market that allows you to buy extra weapons and upgrade them with enhancements like increased stopping power, knockback, added accuracy, enhanced bullet spray, etc. The game also features a "sprint-cam" ala Gears of War, and a cover system that is actually slightly more intuitive than Gears. Add in a dash of mechs, a rampant virus outbreak, the infected, and a few monsters that would be at home in Resident Evil, and you have a definite winner.

Just about everything comes together in a very highly polished package. The only real negative is the rather sparse storyline, but even that is better than the last few FPS I've played.

This game is MUCH better than the demo, and for $10 I would think it is a easily recommended purchase.  While it falls short of AAA status, It seems to deserve more than the 70% ratings it got on Game Rankings. Is Digital Extremes working on anything new?

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Tebunker
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 01:23:34 AM »

It falls short because it really isn't that good, for $10 it's not bad, for $60 it's not worth your time.

I felt the controls were poor and unresponsive, and the Glaive is fairly pointless when you can kill the infected twice as fast with a few gun shots. The cover system has been done better in other games, the story isn't anything special, the levels are super linear and small... I could go on. I enjoyed what I did play though and felt like I got my $10 out of it. I wouldn't have ever paid more than $10 though.
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Dante Rising
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 02:25:27 AM »

Quote from: Tebunker on January 13, 2009, 01:23:34 AM

It falls short because it really isn't that good, for $10 it's not bad, for $60 it's not worth your time.

I felt the controls were poor and unresponsive, and the Glaive is fairly pointless when you can kill the infected twice as fast with a few gun shots. The cover system has been done better in other games, the story isn't anything special, the levels are super linear and small... I could go on. I enjoyed what I did play though and felt like I got my $10 out of it. I wouldn't have ever paid more than $10 though.

Wow, we definitely see things differently here. I agree that it isn't a $60 title, but it is definitely better than average. Better than the two most recent FPS I played (Resistance 2 and Turok) I find the controls to be very well implemented. I do understand your point about the glaive, but it adds an extra twist on the typical handgun-shotgun-machine gun pyramid. Plus your argument can be lodged against just about any weapon in any shooter. For example, in Dead Space why not always stick with the Line Gun? You can always buy enough ammo for it, and it chews through enemies faster than most other weapons. I find the variety to be as important as the firepower. Plus, the glaive can attack around corners, ricochet into multiple enemies, attack over walls, etc.

I'll also grant that the levels are short and linear, but I can lodge that same argument against Gears of War, Brothers in Arms, etc. Matter of preference for that, I suppose.

Again, not AAA but very solid and worth the current asking price.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 02:27:44 AM by Dante Rising » Logged
CeeKay
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 05:14:17 AM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on January 13, 2009, 02:25:27 AM

I agree that it isn't a $60 title, but it is definitely better than average.

that was probably what the problem was.  People payed 60 bucks for it and went 'WTF?  this ain't worth 60 bucks!' and trashed the game.  maybe if they had charged 40 bucks the reception would have been kinder.
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2009, 05:21:14 AM »

It's a modern version of "Krull." Who wouldn't want to kill monsters with that Glaive? smile
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Simon
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 07:06:20 AM »

I played it and beat it, thoroughly enjoyed it too. There were a few frustrating battles but I liked the setting a lot and never got tired of the glaive. Thumbs up from me.
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Turtle
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 07:18:49 AM »

It was too repetitive in its set piece/scenario design.

Also, certain enemies were more annoying to fight than fun.  The story was somehow more paper thin than RE4's story, which at least had interesting characters.

Yes, it does basically do a good mesh of RE4/Gears of War style controls, but that's about it.

Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit, and even the multiplayer is fun despite few people playing it.
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msteelers
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 01:09:29 PM »

I tried the demo and didn't like any of it. I even remember thinking the graphics were sub-par.
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leo8877
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2009, 02:36:28 PM »

Well your glowing review sent me to purchase this at newegg.  Can't beat a $10 game!
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Starshifter
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2009, 03:22:12 PM »

Quote from: leo8877 on January 13, 2009, 02:36:28 PM

Well your glowing review sent me to purchase this at newegg.  Can't beat a $10 game!

Make that two of us!
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2009, 03:36:39 PM »

I may just pick it up at Gamestop and give it a spin once I've cleared up some backlog.  it's only 12.99 there right now, so by the time that happens it may be under 10.  I did notice I downloaded the demo on my PS3 and apprently forgot about it along with the Haze demo.
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 04:20:17 PM »

The controls are kinda clunky, but it's a decent game. Definitely a gem of the bargain bin.  I bought it new (but on sale for like 45 bucks). It played a lot like a hybrid of gears and RE4.

It was fun, but a few of the boss battles felt like I was wrestling with the controls more than the boss. they were very timing specific battles, and I struggled with the controls through all of them.


The last project Digital Extremes did was the Bioshock PS3 port, not sure what they are working on now.
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Dante Rising
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 04:23:27 PM »

Quote from: msteelers on January 13, 2009, 01:09:29 PM

I tried the demo and didn't like any of it. I even remember thinking the graphics were sub-par.

I hated the demo also. The only reason I picked up the game was the $10 price tag, and if I hated it I could shuffle it back to Gamestop for their 20%/30%/40% extra credit deal. Happy I took a chance on the game.

For those of you grabbing the game, a few suggestions:

1) Turn on subtitles. The game's special effects tend to overpower the conversations and you'll lose parts of the storyline without subtitles toggled to on.
2) There are radios/video bulletins spread throughout some of the levels. DON'T just run past these. They add extra atmosphere to the game, and can even give you same (slightly) useful information.
3) Remember that the glaive can travel around corners and over fences. It can also be slowed down and controlled manually via bullet time. It will save you some frustration.
4) Dark Sector will become more complex and offer more glaive power-ups as you progress. The first few levels are far from the game's highlights.
5) Be sure to gather all that money strewn around the levels for the Russian Black Market. It is a very useful place. Absolutely search for every silver briefcase.


Hey, its only $10. I guarantee you've spent far more money on worse games.

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HankRaptor
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 05:00:14 PM »

10.00 softens the blow of a mediocre game.

I picked up a handful of 10 games that I really am enjoying...
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2009, 07:41:38 PM »

I actually finished it.  The Glaive is a great weapon that really made the game fun for me.
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2009, 06:33:15 PM »

Then:

Tomb Raider: Legend
Tomb Raider: Anniversary
Lego Star Wars
Spiderman: Web of Shadows
Grand Theft Auto IV
Saints Row 2


Now:

I won darkSector from a local radio station by accident.  I had no idea they were giving it away that day, so when I finished my long-winded political point and the host asked if I had a 360 at home, the question was such a non sequitur that I answered, "Yeah, I keep it right next to my Anderson Cooper." icon_redface

darkSector is a third-person shooter in which you play Some Guy on mission to navigate a series of narrow corridors to reach the next cutscene about his friends Old Man, Sultry Lass, and Bad Guy.  They all seem to know each other, but since this game labors under the belief that it's the latest sequel in very popular, very imaginary franchise, there's nowhere near enough exposition for me to guess what the hell they're all talking about most of the time.

This much is clear: there's a wicked virus that mutates people into zombies with metal skin, so the U.S. military deploys Some Guy to take down the facility experimenting with the disease.  This first chapter plays like a pretty conventional third-person shooter with a passable cover system -- decent, not too imaginative -- until Some Guy gets gouged in the shoulder by an infected lance and gains the ability to grow a bladed frisbee out of his right hand.

And that's where things get good.  For all the complaints I have about darkSector's disjointed narrative and linear level design, the developers score really high marks for the balance and breadth of actual gameplay.  The frisbee glaive is an extremely potent weapon, able to curve around obstacles to find its mark before boomeranging back for another throw, but it lacks the range to strike distant targets or the speed to dispatch a group of enemies that gets too close. 

Fortunately, you can always wield a pistol in your free hand or quickly sheath the glaive in favor of a shotgun or rifle for more power.  Though firearms are satisfyingly lethal in their own right, here's the rub: the ammunition in enemy weapons self-destructs a few seconds after they're picked up by an infected soldier, so you'll need to keep an eye out for old ammo caches in the levels.

The pros and cons of each combat style results in an interesting equilibrium where you're freely switching between the two.  Slice off a soldier's head, use the glaive to carry his discarded gun directly into your hands, try to empty the magazine into the nearest enemy forces before the weapon burns into ash, and try to avoid being flanked yourself.  Add in the ability to toss grenades, charge up your glaive with fire or electricity from the environment, and upgrade your own purchased weapons in the black market, and darkSector's combat system has a lot going for it.

I have a problem with a lot of third-person shooters where I'll constantly over-adjust my aim against enemies that come too close.  It's been a problem in Gears of War and GRAW, and it's no different here.  That aside, the controls are tight and responsive, making it easy to dynamically switch between weapons and zero in on targets while moving between cover.  I think the only problem I had with the interface is that a couple of the powers Some Guy acquires later in the game give no indication how long they need to recharge after each use -- a small gripe that could have been rectified by adding a visible change to the character's infected shoulder.

There's no way darkSector would have been worth its original $60 price tag: the levels are too constrictive and linear, the plot is too clumsily executed, and the enemy types too limited to warrant a replay.  It was also so unpopular, the two multiplayer modes are all but devoid of activity.  I think there's a core of about four or five people who are out there on the weekends, gamely tossing glaives and trading gunfire while they take a break from Halo 3.

But at its current asking price of $10...let me put it this way: though nobody's going to be bragging about getting such a fantastic deal, I think people will find the gameplay nuances to be a pleasant surprise.  I know I did. icon_cool

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Jumangi
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2009, 08:29:10 PM »

I remember it being ok for a rental but I would have felt ripped off for $60 too. The glaive was cool for awhile but wasn't enough to hang a whole game on. I also remember being annoyed at a couple of the "slow mo" throwing puzzzles too.
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