Dark Sector Hands-On

We finally got to toss the ol' glaive for ourselves in Digital Extremes' sinister third-person shooter.

Dark Sector has come a long way since it was unveiled back in 2004 as the first game in development for then-unidentified next-generation hardware. After the game was revealed to be in production on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3--and then went on to shed its previous ninja-in-space milieu for a grittier and decidedly more terrestrial third-person shooter experience--developer Digital Extremes began to refine Dark Sector's mixture of combat mechanics into a more cohesive (and hopefully, equally unique) whole. We finally got to put our hands on a controller and try out the game for ourselves as we played through a brief demo level that seemed to give a wide sampling of the different kinds of gameplay you'll find when it is released early next year.

You can light up the enemy--literally--with the glaive's energy-absorbing ability.

As we've covered before, Dark Sector revolves around Hayden Tenno, an elite and covert CIA operative whose arm is grotesquely mutated as he explores a contaminated former Soviet state called Lasria. Tenno is up against a host of even more gruesomely deformed beasts, as well as a shadowy paramilitary force that wants to control these mutants, so it won't be easy for you to survive. Luckily, Tenno's mutation will come pretty darn in handy; it has birthed the glaive, a spinning, bladed weapon that pops right out of Hayden's arm, and which can be flung at enemies much like a boomerang. The glaive will be useful in all kinds of tight spots, some of which are actually less combat-oriented and more of the puzzle-solving variety.

Rest assured, though, you'll be embedding the glaive in plenty of flesh. Dark Sector plays a lot like Resident Evil 4 or Gears of War, in that you play from the third-person perspective and then go into a tighter, over-the-shoulder view to aim and fire your weapons. You can throw the glaive from the hip, either blindly while moving around or with more precision through the aiming perspective. But the most useful way to employ the glaive is as a target-seeking projectile that can take out multiple enemies in a single throw. You can quickly lock onto each enemy within your view by painting them with the targeting reticle, and then loose the glaive to have it strike all the targets you locked in, after which it returns to your hand. It's a lot like the multi-lock-on shooting in games like Panzer Dragoon. When combat heats up, you'll need to master this technique so you can quickly deal with more than one enemy simultaneously. (You can rest assured they won't be lining up so you can deal with them one at a time, after all.)

The demo saw us guiding Tenno through a ruined Eastern European city, facing off primarily against the jackbooted paramilitary soldiers, but also occasionally taking on mutant, zombie-like creatures. We got a chance to check out the glaive's other interesting property here, which is the ability to absorb certain kinds of energy for a short time. Throw it into a ruined light socket and it will become electrified, allowing you to zap any enemies you hit until the electricity runs out a few seconds later. This is where the glaive will help in solving some environmental puzzles. We ran up against an elevator shaft overrun with thick vines at one point. To clear out the shaft and ascend to the next floor, we had to find a flammable gas leak elsewhere in the level, fire at it with our weapon to set it on fire, then throw the glaive to catch a little of the flame for our purposes. Then it was only a matter of running back to the elevator before the fire died out and flinging it into the vines to burn them up and gain access upstairs.

Don't worry, you'll take out plenty of enemies the old-fashioned way, too.

As mentioned, the glaive won't be your only means of offense (though it's the most important one). The many soldiers you'll fight do carry all sorts of nice, high-tech weaponry--but alas, you won't put it to much use, since all these guns are equipped with DNA scanners that will disable them after just a few seconds. Luckily, you'll encounter a few underworld figures throughout the game that will gladly sell you black-market versions of all these weapons, with the DNA scanners removed, if you can muster enough cash. Digital Extremes says this is a sort of try-before-you-buy system, since you can briefly get a feel for each weapon before you decide which ones warrant coughing up the required number of credits (which themselves seem pretty scarce). And it seems like you'll occasionally need heavier ordinance anyway, since the demo wrapped up with the appearance of a gigantic demon boss character, a member of a group called the "old ones" that looked like it might laugh at your basic glaive attack.

Dark Sector's publisher D3 recently announced that the game's release would be pushed back to January of 2008, and it admirably admitted that the primary reason for this delay was simply to take the game out of a holiday release season already overflowing with Halos and Grand Theft Autos. The game is already visually quite impressive, with the custom-designed engine providing a number of nice effects, like light streaming through shuttered windows or a really disorienting color mix-up effect when you're hit by a gas grenade. We'll be curious to see how the solid visuals and various gameplay mechanics combine into a complete game next January.

Written By

Want the latest news about Dark Sector?

Dark Sector

Dark Sector

Follow

Discussion

119 comments
emopwner5
emopwner5

this looks like an okay game

spliffpuffer
spliffpuffer

If the gameplay is as good as the graphics look.., then this is going to be a great game.

bawathegamer
bawathegamer

i saw a huge demo between some huge crawling collosus on gamertv the other day.it was awesome. like god of war you get finishers ,but theyre not fixed,they depend on the angle at which you are when you aproach the enemy.

is0lati0n
is0lati0n

Damn ESRB getting it banned in AUS. I was looking forward.

Mabumania
Mabumania

I'm excited for it! It could be amazing or a disappointment. Seeing how much time they've spent and how careful they have been working on it, I only expect the best from it.

Mr_born808
Mr_born808

F^#k YEA, its gunna rock! Like Resident Evil 4! it looks sick.

Nolan16
Nolan16

Can't wait to play this bad boy on my PS3 looks like a normal adrenalin rush with smooth game play slick graphics and Devastating Blood filled fun It’s all in one.

matheusclifton
matheusclifton

sounds like the use of firearms in this game will become pointless because of the power of the glaive

GaMeWiZaRd93
GaMeWiZaRd93

this seems like it is goin 2 be a great game 4 xbox 360

ghost_Ver76
ghost_Ver76

it reminds of res4, and thats not a bad thing! from what ive seen of the game.. in trailers it looks really good. graphics wise its on the money. if we get the gameplay to match it, darksector may turn out to b a classic *

dmastor
dmastor

look cool even though i never heard about this company.

ResiFreak
ResiFreak

It looks good but I agree with Entidus.

reymundo514
reymundo514

I don't know about this one. Sounds like it might be a rental.

wars45
wars45

al keep an eye out

zeus_gb
zeus_gb

Now that looks interesting.

Entidus
Entidus

Does anyone remember the old concept art/trailer for this game? Everything was sleek and black, in a starship. Still had the glaive, but it was in a futuristic setting and looked like a promising stealth/action game with a bunch of badass robots, and a main character that had an awesome suit (fully black and it covered his face whenever he fought, or so it looked). Now it's about a mutated CIA operative...boring.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

ktseymour/dadriverman, why would we not post the preview in both spaces? The gameplay is exactly the same on both platforms. Do you seriously suggest we should avoid putting the information in one GameSpace, potentially keeping people interested in the game from knowing as much as they can? That isn't lazy journalism--it's responsible journalism.

Jared_Vegeta
Jared_Vegeta

I'm going to have to keep an eye on this one. Its either going to be hit or miss. Should be good given its development time though.

gymrejects
gymrejects

i watched the trailer video and it didnt really give you much to look forward to

Dan4MerC
Dan4MerC

Looks simply improbably!

kilgoreTrout_xl
kilgoreTrout_xl

Nah, Ktsey and dadriveman, the worst part about previews is that every single one always ends with the sentence "We're interested in spending more time with..." etc... This isn't just gamespot, it's what makes every preview by every major gaming site a fluff piece. They're pretty worthless. Take a look at the screenshots/vids and move on.

ktseymour
ktseymour

I couldn't agree more Dadriverman. Lazy journalism at it's finest

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

I think the game has a lot of cool premises and I am going to really watch the title.

Dadriverman
Dadriverman

What I'm getting real tired of is the fact that GameSpot is placing the same game review or preview for all systems, when they should only do it for the hands for which console the demo is for. If the demo is for the xbox 360 then it shouldn't be in with all the other consoles even tho it will come out for all. I think that game developers will make the best game for which console maker gives them the most money, and therefore make all other systems a cheap second and third version of the same game. So please GameSpot stop doing this. If i'm in the ps3 section then all i want is ps3 news, previews, reviews.

Thornscar
Thornscar

Why is the wait always so long? I guess Halo will tide me over untill this one.

cell_dweller
cell_dweller moderator moderator

The Glaive is awesome, and I hope that we get to see more about this game!

s0njas0n
s0njas0n

a third person shooter, should be fun... and different

surppo
surppo

it looks alright could use a boost of original a gameplay ideas

dutch777
dutch777

Something a little different in the line of weapons here. Could be a pretty cool way of killing everything that moves.

mrgiggles92
mrgiggles92

good move on switching out of the holiday season. this already seems like a rent, and with a good score there's a high chance of it moving up to buy territory. if there are problems, they will probably be with either camera, glaive control, or A.I. but with gamespot's new crappy-er rating system, it should get a negative for derivative gameplay.

Sandlynx9
Sandlynx9

Glaive = highly enjoyable weapon to use, I'd say.

7arek
7arek

Very interesting

breakdown84
breakdown84

Dude Sub_Bionic unless you didn't read the article it slated to be released on the Xbox 360 AND the PS3. By the way looks like a pretty cool game.

Vertigo283
Vertigo283

Sub_Bionic, Are you illiterate? "...the game was revealed to be in production on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3"

Sub_Bionic
Sub_Bionic

hovan316 im pretty sure its only for xbox

sephiroth_4
sephiroth_4

I just hope I don't get nauseated from this game like the darkness did for me. If any gamers have, or have had, the same problems, holla @ me! Games like Metroid Prime, sometimes Gears, Darkness...all get me sick and I miss out on the greatest games! Dramamine doesn't quite do the trick, eating before helps, but still I'll have to go blow chunks in 20 min. Looks like a great game though!

Swift18
Swift18

also the Glaive? Krull any one lol sucks theres no chance for orignal ideas any more every thing has been done the only thing that keeps this stuff alive is the new generation.

Swift18
Swift18

This sounds remarkably like S-Cry-Ed which for lack of a beter explanation has a very similar story the main character has his Right Arm Transform into a well super weapon look it up for more details but from what i'm seeing its not all that original of a idea lol id rather see a S-Cry-Ed or TriGun which is another similar story in sorts because of the Arm mutations into a weapon

hovan316
hovan316

Ohh yeah baby...a definite buy or my PS3

kazraycrawley
kazraycrawley

looks like it might some kinda RE4 and splinter cell mixture with the over the shoulder view and all

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

this game looks and sounds like a very very good title. i already luv res evil4 and any game that is even a copy of it or not ill gladly by.and even though its a smart move business wise bout launching it after the holiday season this game really has the potential to rank up to gta and halo.

SDanger4L
SDanger4L

I'm not diggin how they takin away from Resident Evil 4 that game was a classic.

dragonwarlock77
dragonwarlock77

if it plays anything like resident evil 4...i cant see much being wrong with it