Dark Sector Update -- Mutation Nation

Find out more about the uncanny abilities and strange foes you'll encounter as you delve into Digital Extremes' upcoming action game.

The last time we took a look at Dark Sector, we got to play through the beginning levels of this third-person action shooter from Digital Extremes and D3. These first few stages set up secret operative Hayden Tenno's mission to uncover the truth behind a horrific chemical outbreak in a former Soviet state, a disaster that has mutated some unfortunate members of the populace and left the area uninhabitable. Early on, Tenno is infected as well--and he actually gains some pretty gnarly powers as a result, powers that will come in handy as he fights through waves of mutants, as well as soldiers belonging to a paramilitary force bent on stopping him.

Anyway, you can read about all that in our last story. We've now played through several sequences set later in the game and gotten hands-on with some of Tenno's more advanced and interesting powers. It's a good thing he's got them, since we also ran up against a number of his much more powerful and angrier adversaries. As it turns out, the game's big bad guy, a rogue operative named Mezner, is attempting to gather a number of transmitters together that are collectively capable of summoning a group of especially nasty giant mutants called the "old ones." These guys have apparently been percolating in underground mutation tanks since the Cold War, and Mezner has some kind of unexplained telepathic control over them--so the reasons why you need to stop him from assembling the old ones should be obvious.

Before you do that, though, you'll shoot and glaive your way through a whole mess of soldiers and lesser mutants. The good news is, these two groups hate each other as much as they hate you. As you move further into the game, it will become a viable strategy to let the roving bands of mutants and patrolling soldiers get into their own fights while you hang back and pick off the leftovers in a relatively leisurely fashion. We played through a lengthy segment of the fourth mission that took place in a hastily vacated section of town--where loudspeakers were still blaring evacuation notices--and later moved on to a moonlit graveyard that had mutated humans and dogs digging their way out of the recently dug earth to get in our way. In both locations, the two groups of enemies seemed to be battling each other almost as much as they were coming after us.

The colossus is one of the first bosses you'll encounter.

One quick cutscene in the demo introduced us to two of Dark Sector's more menacing customers: the jackal and the colossus. The former is a rickety quadrupedal tank used by the soldiers against you, and the latter is one of the old ones, a massive apelike monstrosity who barrels out of nowhere and tears one of the jackals limb from limb. Later on, we had a chance to commandeer another jackal and take it for a spin. Since it's on legs, the jackal can move and strafe more or less like Hayden--though much slower, of course. It has a standard machine gun and a slow-firing rocket launcher, as well as a flare-based countermeasure that you'll have to fire into the air to lure incoming rockets away from you, when you're facing soldiers equipped with rocket launchers.

That cutscene wasn't our only encounter with the colossus, either; we later had to fight the hulking, apelike beast as a boss fight inside a giant ruined cathedral. The colossus is covered with a bulletproof natural armor, so we had to imbue our glaive with fire burning nearby and then set the boss aflame from a distance to burn off that armor and get a few shots in. Not surprisingly, the armor would regenerate after a few seconds, requiring us to repeat the process. Unfortunately, the boss was climbing the walls and hurling gigantic blocks of stone at us, and then later dropped to ground level to charge at us periodically. But after enough dodging and shooting, we brought it down. A Digital Extremes rep told us that just as the colossus looked and acted like an ape, other old ones in the game will have other animal associations, such as one with reptilian qualities.

After defeating the colossus, we gained a new ability similar to the boss's own powers: a temporary shield. This shield can be activated at the touch of a button but only lasts for a handful of seconds, and then takes a few moments to recharge. (A glowing spot on your mutated arm will signal that you can use it again .) The best property of this shield is that it can reflect projectiles back at enemies, as we discovered when we had to bounce a rocket fired from a defensive turret back to destroy a door and open a path just after we defeated the boss. Tenno will gain minor powers throughout the course of the story due to his spreading infection, but it sounds like you'll also gain more significant abilities like this shield as you take on the game's bosses, like the colossus.

You didn't need that arm anyway, right?

During our demo, we got a closer look at Dark Sector's weapons-upgrade system, which seems heavily inspired by that of Resident Evil 4. You'll be able to visit a "black market" vendor at certain places in each level, a shady character who calls you "Yankee Doodle" in a thick Russian accent. In exchange for your scavenged rubles, this guy will sell you various kinds of weapons (shotguns, assault rifles, and so on) that have been freed of their DNA sensors and thus made useable by anyone. You'll also be able to install weapon upgrades at the vendor, though you won't buy them with money. Instead, you'll find attaché cases hidden throughout the game, each of which has an associated upgrade. Once you're at the vendor, you can apply the upgrades you've discovered to their respective weapons (though each weapon has a limited number of upgrade slots). Some of the upgrades we saw included increased firing rate, a larger clip, a double shot (which lets you fire two rounds at once), and a puncture ability that lets you shoot through one enemy and hit the guy behind him as well.

Digital Extremes is in the very last stages of polishing Dark Sector, with builds almost ready for submission on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game's frame rate has improved a bit since we saw the game last November, and it seems the developer will have no trouble delivering the final version in late March as scheduled. Look for a full rating then.

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Discussion

101 comments
Munchie15
Munchie15

Now dark sector was a great game I will admit that it was fun to play but i think that the developers could have put a more of a variety of enemy's

MrGordons
MrGordons

Whatever Rating this gets Im still going to play it...

sampleking
sampleking

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Crazyk100
Crazyk100

This game has me very excited. Looks like a Game of the Year contender to me.

Smoolander
Smoolander

Seems like this has a story that will be absolutely savaged by the critics. I'll be very surprised if this game scores highly. I'll wait for the demo before deciding whether to purchase this.

ps2forever
ps2forever

man the game looks great. all of this time, i thought this was going to be an Xbox 360 exclusive. but not i know that it's going to the ps3 as well and that SUCKS!

Djinnator
Djinnator

I thought it looked kinda lame, but after reading up on it I'm getting pretty excited!

22GHOST22
22GHOST22

Game looks cool.The upgarde system looks really cool and I'm sure it will deliver a good and dark experience.

game_king999
game_king999

I dont get why first person shooters get more importance than third person shooters, they're just as good, if not better. Anyways, this game looks pretty interesting, i hope the demo lands on PSN soon.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Looks and sounds quite good, suppose it will fill the gap until the release of GOW 2

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

not original...even a bit, but i like the action. very intense

A4Audiguy
A4Audiguy

I'm not normally the downer type. But the storyline sounds retarded. I'm not saying this is gonna be a bad game...I dont think its stepping off on the right foot though.

BadMonk
BadMonk

looks awesome!!! if this is nearly as good as gears then i'll be very very happy!! :)

timothyt
timothyt

Am I the only one who is tired of EVERY SINGLE BOSS BATTLE BEING THE SAME IN JAPANESE GAMES??? Why is it that every boss in ever game follows the same - identify the boss weakness, exploit it exactly 3 times, boss mutates, identify the new boss weakness, exploit it exactly 3 times [optional one more mutation/weakness/exploit 3 times] - hooray you win... *sigh* A little innovation would be nice. Apparently if a game ever comes out where it takes 2 or 4 iterations to bring down a boss in their current iteration, all Japanese gamers would boycott the game.

IIHit-and-RunII
IIHit-and-RunII

WoW this game really looks COOL, and Multiplayer toocan't Wait :D

strawberryheart
strawberryheart

Wow. Just wow. If it has multi-player then this would be very very wow!

dragonfist101
dragonfist101

this game is going 2 be great there no doubt in my mind anout that.

zypher315
zypher315

This game looks amazing.... fo' sho'

IAmDazzle
IAmDazzle

Can't wait. I really like how you can throw the glaive into fire for an additional effect. I hope that applies with other elements as well.

fallenlasciel
fallenlasciel

The game does look good but I am looking foreward to Prototype more. As for multiplayer I dont know if they have said anything yet about that

Jaziel
Jaziel

I looks pretty good and so does Prototype. I'll probably be getting both of these. excuse me if I missed it but will this game have a multiplayer aspect to it? I don't recall reading anything about it. I guess I'll also wait for the review before I make my decision. Looking great tough.

patrickstat
patrickstat

im not quite sure what elann2008 is on about, but if you do not see a preview or read what the game is about, how on earth are you going to know if you like it??? i mean.... what you just order random games not even knowing what they are going to be??? makes no sence to me. people read about them, getto know what they are about, see and use the demo, if you cant get enough you bye the full version.... ummm simple....

gowthamspa
gowthamspa

I am defintely going to get this game. The gameplay videos looks amazing

deviousdeviousd
deviousdeviousd

I hope the game isnt short. The mutattion fing seems real kool. I wonder if u'll be able 2 upgrade ur powers?

Elann2008
Elann2008

"this is for the idiots who "WAIT" for reviews before they decide to buy a game... your lousy gamers who rely on other peoples opinions to decide weather or not a game is good. your nothing but sheep when you buy it cuz you have already made up your mind that someone youve never met and probably have nothing in common with, has told you its a good game so, OMG! it HAS TO BE GOOD! Its sad that you even post to waste our time." By Jamerson Thank goodness I was an "idiot" because I would have bought Kane & Lynch and oh, what was that other game, Hour of Victory, if it werent for those darn reviews done by professionals! Gee darn! I'm so dumb, I'll just go buy every gosh darn game I think are good even though I haven't gosh darned played it, yee haw! What are game sites for again? Why read reviews?! This is madness! -_- I love how the game is coming along. But I haven't played the final copy yet, so I'll have to wait for reviews to see if there are technical issues, like say, frame rate, bugs, and what nots. You gotta read the reviews. Buy a game without researching first = buying at $60, and selling it the same day at less than half because you had too much of an ego to read the gosh darn review first. And throwing your money away like that, makes you the village idiot. Thanks, good job.

ZodiacVII
ZodiacVII

How, exactly, is this a Gears clone? Let me guess, third-person perspective and the Gears-unique ability to "run" in that perspective?

dutch777
dutch777

one to watch out for me thinks!!

R3volv3r_Snake
R3volv3r_Snake

gears clone but o well, that means it has to be good.

Dryker
Dryker

I believe the glitches in the latest video are not a result of the game itself, but rather the quality of the video. I've seen similar glitches in many Gamespot videos. I lost interest in this title shortly after they switched its design, but lately I'm starting to think that this game may actually turn out pretty good. I won't buy it day one, but if Gamespot gives it an 8 or better ( without heavy adds on the site), I'll pick it up.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

not much for horror games but if it has at least half the action of Gears of War, this game may be awesome.

Rexavian
Rexavian

This game is gonna be awesome. I hope it'll come for PC, too. And this is for ccrunk-11: To get the guy to lower the lever, throw lightning at him. If you don't have it, go back. It's in the building with the archers on top.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"rosscero This game remember me of Gears of War... but I don't know why... Posted Jan 25, 2008 3:33 pm CT "

Soldiers + city in ruins + mutant looking enemies + dismemberment and gore = Gears of War or Resistence (Gears came first though)

But the plot kind of reminds me of the first Halo and no I'm not talking about the flood.

Nosnitsttam
Nosnitsttam

i still like the original character concept, myself. that suit was awesome.

hleflore
hleflore

Xbox live's greatest contribution to gaming economics.....allowing downloads of demos to a console. This game looks good and I cant wait to play a demo to confirm if it i worth my hard earned money.

person2
person2

looks good, still debating whether or not to get it in the future though

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

waited a long time for this game, could really do with a playable demo tho

The_Walrus123
The_Walrus123

i played the demo at E3 and it certainly has potential. thats not to say that they dont have there work cut out for them though.

ccrunk-11
ccrunk-11

I know the game is old but I never got past a part in the first god of war. I go up to this man and he tells him you release the lever let down the bridge and the man tells him no for he is afraid and he calls him a coward SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME GET PAST IT

Zee666
Zee666

OOh jeboardy! Can't wait for all the coming dismemberment of dark sector, magic fish is happy also and is looking forward to it more than me.

OhSnapitz
OhSnapitz

I think the game looks hella nice. Ok so it rips off Gears, what game doesn't rip off something from another game(Besides I really enjoyed Gears). I think I'll put this one on my "to buy list".