It was good to spend some time back in full ninja mode. Never before have I seen such a slow moving ninja, but eventually I was able to get around like the best of ’em. The secret is fairly constant use of the A button.
Dark Sector is a third person violence fest with an over-the-shoulder view. The gameplay is along the lines of Resident Evil 4 (RE4), with the Halo health system and some Gears of War cover action. The addition to this type of gameplay, and a newish weapon to play with, is the “glaive”. I’m calling it the glaive because that’s what they called it in Krull and that’s where the idea came from. It’s never really explained why you have a glaive, and not ninja stars, or nunchucks, so some other cool implements of death, but the glaive works and eventually it works quite well.
You are one of the infected (some sort of goverment/business defense research). As the story progresses, so does your infection and you track down the doctor who created the virus. The mood and storyline are also very much along the Doom 3 lines of demons/infected and a mastermind at the end. You kill stuff, you fight special bosses and the story moves on.
You continue to gain abilities as you move through the very linear storyline and get your personal weapon upgrades out of the “black market” that is a very direct homage to the weapon upgrade system in RE4. I was able to complete the game without getting enough cash to buy the final handheld weapon, but my trusty AK with full upgrades made good work when needed.
The glaive is one of the first automatic upgrades that you get as the game progresses. You soon gain the ability to control in bullet time the flight of the glaive, learn to embue it with various elements (fire, cold, electricity) and even make the thing blow up on command. As your timing with the glaive get better, it is possible to through a “super-glaive” that is orange. Orange means dangerous, as limbs and heads flow much faster with the organge glaive.
You also get random (to you) upgrades, including a very handy force shield, and finally the ability to go momentarily invisible. This is useful for the finishing moves that also cause of lot of limbs/bloods/energy to flow.
The game is divided into 10 chapter, leading up to a final confrontation with the big boss. Most of the chapters conlcude in a pitched battle with a boss character, many taking particular combination of glaive power-ups, boosts, and finishing moves to defeat.
You will die, and you will die often. Enemy are plentiful, if a bit dense. They’ll take cove but stick to it, and group tactics seem well beyond the AI. There’s not a lot of variety in the targets, but those that do make the grade and nicely animated, including demons that hop with the agility of, well, the demons in Doom 3. Once they land, however, they become pretty slow moving targets, fighting with a steady barage of energy shotgun blasts.
Working a combination of the glaive and standard weapons, the game avoids drudgery with a bit of variety with locals, short vehicle sequences, and some wonderfully rendered cut-scenes. All in the graphics do a good job of displaying the on-screen action, and let you know who and what is likely to kill you wkith splotches and vibrations.
There are a few moments of dread, albeit, less than RE4, and some excellent ambiance.
A workable action title, easily finishable within a week rental. The game is fun enough, although breaks no real new bounds. The artwork fits the theme of a dark and nasty base, replete with ruins, sewers and the test labs.
I’ll give it a 7.4 out of 10.
And I got 605 out of 1000 achievement points.