Dark Void Review
Dark Void makes a bloody good first impression. You’re strapped to a jet-pack and are sent to escort a few ships through a deep valley. Your intentions are unknown but you do know you have to protect these ships. Then, out of nowhere, UFOs arrive with the intent of blowing those vessels, and you, to high hell. In order to shoot down these UFOs, You then need to swoop around, pulling off crazy acrobatic moves; but what does this introduction to the game have to do with anything else? Very little.
It’s probably better to class the first experience with the game as a tutorial, although very little information about the controls appear. This five or so minutes of fun spent swooping around will not be seen until the end boss battle because, from here on out, you’ll be playing not the game Dark Void, but what appears to be a poorly meshed together clone of Gears of War and Uncharted.
You play Will Grey voiced, funnily enough, by Mr. Nathan Drake himself, Nolan North. Will Grey is a pilot who ends up flying through the Bermuda Triangle and finds himself in a tribal village which just so happens to be the home of one Nikolai Tesla. From this village you find a passageway into another dimension known as The Void; an area now in control of a mysterious race known as the Watchers. This is where my first problem arises with the game.
The Watchers are just not fleshed out enough to be formidable enemies. The Locust had a back story and had motives in Gears of War, the Watchers have none. What I assume is the “High Council” of The Watchers, which are rarely ever seen and all you come into contact with, are their robo-minions. Will Grey himself is just so boring too. Normally, Nolan North characters, such as Desmond in Assassin’s Creed or Nathan Drake in Uncharted, are wise-cracking know-it-alls with a decent history; we know nothing about Will Grey. Instead he makes smarmy jokes which just get annoying, and for some reason he is able to go to another dimension, easily learn how to fly UFOs and fire alien technology, even though he’s just stepped out of the 1930s where colour television was still a dream. It’s so far-fetched, I couldn’t really focus much.
Another issue is the fact that the game is SO DAMN GENERIC! Although the flying sections are great fun once you actually get the jet-pack that you played around with in the prologue, making the space open up a lot more and allowing for more variety, the sections which actually require dogfighting or at least flying are few and far between; the majority of the action takes place on the ground.
From here, you move from sticky cover to sticky cover, shooting anything in sight. That’s pretty much it. What’s made worse is the fact that the weapons feel pathetic. They don’t feel as if have any weight behind them, especially when one punch kills an enemy straight out. It takes about a clip of ammo to take out a regular enemy, even when aiming at the head. Of course, your jet-pack can come into use. You can hover above your enemies and shoot down on them, but it leaves you more exposed to enemy fire and you will find yourself hiding behind cover a lot more often than you would like.
Dark Void tries to do something different with vertical cover, which is definitely an interesting concept. With the use of your jet-pack, you’re able to move up and down vertical structures such as towers or old cargo ships hanging onto the side of a cliff with relative ease. You can either hop down from platform to platform or fly up. The problems, however, of gunfire still exists. Most of the time, I just found myself quickly moving up or down the structures, not shooting anything. Things are made easier by the fact that, once you get past an enemy, they are very unlikely to follow you, either physically or with gunfire, but this makes these sections rarely ever exciting or very interesting.
The most fun you can get out of Dark Void, is the fun you create yourself. It’s nice that you have the option, but it is too few and far between to care about. One section involved me having to turn off a shield generator from the inside of a tower. Having climbed up to the top of this tower from the bottom, I smashed the console to switch that tower off. And by switch it off, I mean blow it to hell. Now, I could’ve worked my way down the tower slowly, as I did coming up. However, I jumped off the ledge, skydived to the bottom and activated my jet-pack just in time to fly to safety. My heart was racing by the end. Then it plummeted when I realised I had to go back to generic ground shooting.
Dark Void is a pile of disappointment. It seems the only apt way to describe it. The concept is brilliant but the execution, not so much. The things that Dark Void does right are too far apart to make it a good game. The rest of it is just generic, third person shooter crap that is in no way original or exciting. The name of the game is ironic really as the game is actually, in the sense of interest, a Dark Void of boredom.