Dark Void Hands-On

We took to the skies for a hands-on preview of Capcom's Dark Void.

by

Dark Void's distinctive blend of third-person action and jetpack-propelled aerial warfare make it an attractive prospect. Jetpacks are cool, after all, and Airtight Games' title looks set to turn the jetpack into a means of destroying some serious robotic booty. Whether he's in the air, on the ground, or aboard a high-tech UFO, protagonist Will has serious firepower to ensure that humanity's resistance doesn't crumble under the grip of the ancient Watchers, an alien group seeking your destruction.

In an updated hands-on with this much-anticipated (and delayed) Capcom game, we sat down to tackle the opening section. Will, a cargo pilot whose unfortunate delivery to the Bermuda Triangle leaves him stranded in a world known as The Void, is joining the resistance against the aforementioned robotic nation. Curiosity gets the better of him, as he straps himself into a dangerous new invention: the jetpack. Early banter between Will and his human peers indicates that the dialogue isn't taking itself too seriously, and after a brief introduction, we were urged to take our first flight, which acts as a basic tutorial.

Launching yourself off the first mountain and watching Will struggle with the jetpack's power serves as an interesting way to start Dark Void. It's apparent that the pilot needs assistance during his first journey through the skies, as his body quivers and shakes under the rocket-boosted clout of his new transport. After a few seconds, and once you've successfully overcome the first rush of speed, Will gets his balance back, allowing you to identify the first objective. The Watchers have placed communication towers throughout The Void's endless valleys, providing a set of harmless foes that present target practice for the airborne hero. The targets are close together, offering the chance to wipe them all out in one run if you plan your route. The jetpack's shoulder-mounted machine guns are adequately powered and have good range for taking out targets that are in the distance. As an introduction to your weaponry it's brief, but Dark Void quickly ups the ante to ensure that all your newfound explosive muscle isn't going to waste.

Once the communication towers have been dismantled, the Watchers quickly take action. As we learnt how to pull off sharp turns in the air, an impromptu assault came into effect. We were faced with a set of UFOs that matched the speed and agility of the jetpack, meaning that the fight was suddenly equal. By leading the UFOs between a corridor of mountains, and then utilising the jetpack's instant 360-degree spin, we suddenly turned the tables. Where earlier the Watchers had been chasing, they now fell into our line of fire. The sheer number of opponents meant that the battle wasn't over quickly, but the jetpack's ability to instantly change direction provides a nimbleness that leaves enemies at a disadvantage.

Dark Void really comes to life when you're up in the air.

After most opponents were eliminated, the feeling of being outnumbered quickly disappeared. The ability to hover offers Will enough stability to slow down and take aim without being caught napping. You can get on the move again instantly with a burst of speed, a manoeuvre that becomes useful when you lock on to enemies. When targeting opponents, the camera zooms out slightly and provides a cinematic view of the aerial battlefield. Dark Void isn't pushing the envelope in terms of visuals, but watching Will tackle the robotic forces midflight is undoubtedly impressive.

If you get close enough to an enemy UFO, it's possible to board it. By grabbing hold of and ripping out the shield's control panel, you will unearth a robotic driver. After wiping it out, you're free to commandeer the ship, but beware, the Watcher pilot will fight back. As you hammer B to unhinge the control panel, you'll be shadowed by the UFO's main weapon. This is where you have to lure its reticle to another part of the circular ship. Once it begins charging an ultra-powerful beam to take you down, you have the opportunity to run back round to the control panel. Fighting in the skies offers some of the most fun at this stage.

That's not to say getting back down to Earth isn't any fun. You can opt to dive-bomb your enemies and sharply come to a halt, or hover above them while unleashing a barrage of fire. Dark Void allows you to play to your strengths: if you are skilled enough to stay airborne, then there is no need to land until you are forced inside. If you prefer to take cover and engage on foot, that's possible too. The cover system works adequately, but poking out behind cover, it's disappointing to see some clunky AI. If you're lucky, enemies will charge your position, but more often than not, the mechanical goons will sit tight, even without ducking down for a few seconds. This is sure to be ironed out before the game is released in January, but right now, Dark Void's ground combat doesn't work quite as well as we'd like.

Dark Void's cover system offers you a fair fight against enemies on the ground.

Our main task after taking out the towers was to sabotage the last remaining communication control panel, which was hidden inside a guarded Watcher base. Once an opponent has been dispatched, the option to pick up and use enemy weapons is available, which is beneficial since Will's human arsenal is lacking in the early stages. Two plasma guns can be found in this level; one is a machine gun and the other is reminiscent of a grenade launcher. The latter weapon packs immense power, blowing robotic rivals away with one well-placed shot and leaving the rest shaking in their metal boots. Alongside the Mass Effect-style android enemies, Dark Void has some more interesting monsters that will try to wipe you out. Since the Watchers' base is full of long, isolated corridors, seeing a nonrobotic extraterrestrial type comes as quite a shock. An alien-like creature slithered across the floor with haste, and it was great to take on a beast that was threatened by our presence and defending its territory. Melee combat was unresponsive against the Watcher grunts, as our opponents would often stand waiting to receive a right hook, but the speed of the amphibian-type beasts meant timing needed to be spot on.

From what we've seen, Dark Void is shaping up well. The jetpack is definitely going to be key to the game's success, as its ability in the air has already shown itself to create captivating battles that require forward thinking to prevail. However, there are some rough edges that need to be smoothed out, most notably the ground combat. Set to explode into stores everywhere on January 22, 2010, Dark Void looks ready to combat the onslaught of AAA releases in the first quarter of 2010.

Discussion

45 comments
violenus
violenus

God this game sucked!!Couldnt even get past the first stage in the demo,jetpack controls were a mess.geez,had so many expectations.A very,very good waste of time.

violenus
violenus

God this game sucked!!Couldnt even get past the first stage in the demo,jetpack controls were a mess.geez,had so many expectations.A very,very good waste of time.

xxxxTRISTAMxxxx
xxxxTRISTAMxxxx

I didn't mind the game so much when I paid less than $25.00

goofyfoot
goofyfoot

Very big disappointment. I had a lot of high hopes for this one, but unfortunately it has very little to offer. First off, the biggest disappointment is that the frame rate drops in dense situations, there's only one button melee attack, a handful of different weapons, nauseatingly repetitive when it comes to taking out your opponents and the boundaries of the game are also indeed, limited . Oh ya! and water instantly kills you, awesome. All in all, the story is weak, your attacks and special moves are VERY limited (especially in comparison to Prototype) and the flight aspect of the game is mediocre. I'm not saying I could do better, I think this bun just wasn't ready to come out of the oven. 4.9/10

Irish-J
Irish-J

Pre ordered this and was really siked about the game, but after the demo and reviews it may be a rent for me. Too many great games to buy this year that will be increadable and I don't know if Dark Void can compete. Like Mass Effect 2 and MAG the end of the month. Dante's Inferno, Bad Company 2, Just Cause 2, Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain and sooooo many more....It's like an academy awards list, I'm scared I'm gonna leave something out! So I guess I'll have to pass on this one...

darkGlasses
darkGlasses

The problem I had with the demo was mainly a lack of feedback. You shoot a bad guy, and aren't sure if you've hit, missed or made a kill. You complete a mission objective and... nothing. Well, that and the sub-par out-of-the-box Gears of War controls, and the fact that dogfighting doesn't really make for as thrilling gameplay as you'd expect, due to the fact that we humans aren't great at thinking in three-dimensions, so each fight decays into rotate-shoot-dodge-repeat. And I wasn't keen on the intrusive tutorial messages and early 90s menu screens, or the boarding mini-game. A game should flow, not stutter. Shame, cause the actual flying was OK. Pass for me.

jmiles1234
jmiles1234

i a bit puzzle by were to buy this game when it comes out or wait and see what games thanks about it or wait for some review on the game i was go to buy dark void when it first came out now i don't know what to do any one got i deals buy on release date or wait for reviews on the game .

5Jedi5diah5
5Jedi5diah5

played the demo, do not buy this game. it is as disappointing as avartar. graphic worst than avartar. alot of screen tearing on ps3.

Viper_1989
Viper_1989

just been playing the demo. flying feels great and works just as you'd like it to. and yes i'd agree, some of the combat is a bit shakey.

dandalong07
dandalong07

Hmmm, might just have to check this game out.

cpinheiro2
cpinheiro2

Nice firepower for a third person shooter. Also, jetpacks rulezzzz

infernomonkey87
infernomonkey87

I hope they make the ground combat better. I want the ground combat to be just as awesome as the air combat. It would also be cool if it had online multiplayer.

black_291
black_291

I really hope that they dont screw this game up, it has so much potential. It combines so many different aspects that could make for an interesting mix. I particularly like the idea that you can take off and fly using the jetpack, and engage in dogfights, as well as being able to bombard enemies. Combine this with a well done third person shooter and you have an amazing game.

rahl247
rahl247

multiplayer or singleplayer.

KING_LEWY
KING_LEWY

i like the the look of this, it looks like Lost Planet with a jet pack

Liam_Eibach
Liam_Eibach

I'm down! I gather from the interviews that this team has worked very hard for this game. What ever problems the game will have are those that have to be found and noted after a release. If anything, I predict Dark Void will be lots of fun, but Dark Void 2 will be the epic game we expect. Just remember the Assassin's Creed evolution. Part one was great but the second is epic. ;)

Onsfan
Onsfan

The early footage seems to show AI problems, as addressed in this article as well. Plus, all that they've showed when it comes to environments were these cliffs and chasms. At this stage, I'm still sceptical, but as long as the developer could improve the AI and balance the strategic between land, air and hover combat, this could be a great game. Keep up the work

smolarkiewicz
smolarkiewicz

has anyone played master blaster hahahahahahah it will be good

Mc_Trickz
Mc_Trickz

Could it be a masterpeice??or a failure??hmm...

pidow
pidow

I echo Cybrian...I pre-ordered.

Cybrian
Cybrian

Responsive jetpacks? Exotic locations? What's not to like... Hope they don't skimp on enviro-art or combat mechanics.

Nakor
Nakor

Looks cool but it seems obvious an extra month or two would be good for the game.

samsungx360
samsungx360

this game will be or briliant or epic fail

ferret-gamer
ferret-gamer

lead designer of portal left valve for this.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

thank you Gamespot, for your honest criticism of the games poor A.I. and ground combat. I prefer these types of previews.

turok0
turok0

Dark Void = GOTY 2010 for sure. Jetpacks rock!

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

It´s promising... I think will be a good game...

LazyGamerX
LazyGamerX

Looks good but I'll wait till its reviewed before buying.

XanderKage
XanderKage

Pretty sweet, but with so much elements to the game, parts of it can look lame, compared to others.. And you're gonna end up with a game that goes back and forth between awesome and bad...

GM-Lucra
GM-Lucra

I was a bit skeptical at first but I am really looking forward to this game now. I just hope they polish off everything otherwise it might just end up being another rental for me.

Jagervito
Jagervito

I am hopeing that this will be like the Gears of war for Ps3

Bumpercarj
Bumpercarj

I'LL wait my attention will be on army of 2 the 40th day

wonzan
wonzan

@dark-wolf12 that is an absolute given. This game hasn't had any coverage in a looong time. I thought it has already been released and flopped or something. With GS saying it could be an AAA title even in a preview I'm a little bit surprised!

amareen18
amareen18

I hope they work on the ground combat but it doesn't matter i will be in air most of the time :lol:

dark-wolf12
dark-wolf12

Looks really cool, but I'm just curious as to wether there will be upgrades of any sort, like upgrading your jetpack or its shoulder mounted guns . . .

blaze_adeel
blaze_adeel

it's disappointing to see some clunky AI. If you're lucky, enemies will charge your position, but more often than not, the mechanical goons will sit tight, even without ducking down for a few seconds. This is sure to be ironed out before the game is released in January, but right now, Dark Void's ground combat doesn't work quite as well as we'd like HERE WE GOOOOOOOO :( I SEE ANOTHER COOL CONCEPT NOT REPRESENTED WELL I VERY WELL HOPE THEY WOUKD FIX IT OR I SEE A 6.5/10 FOR IT I WAS LOOKING 4 DAY 1 BUY I GUESS REVIEWS FIRST

Mr_Noddy
Mr_Noddy

I've been watching this game for ages now and can't wait for it to be released. Hopefully Airtight will get any issues with the AI sorted out by release. I really hope this game is one of those hidden gems that come along now and then (Dead Space, Batman: Arkham Asylum) and takes everyone by surprise.

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

This is one of those games i am totally hyped for that far too many people have never even heard of :(