Dark Void Updated Hands-On

We take to the Void one more time to cruise around in our jetpack and kill some robots with our bare hands.

Dark Void is one of the many high-profile games to have its release delayed from this holiday season to early 2010. And while that alone may cause Dark Void to feel like part of a larger trend, it doesn't mean this Capcom-published action game is just another face in the crowd. One thing we've noticed every time we've seen Dark Void is, in terms of gameplay, you can't compare it to a whole lot of titles. Capcom playfully describes it as "a game about a guy with a jetpack," but if you want to be more accurate, you'd call it "a game about a guy with a jetpack, guns that shoot lightning, guns that don't shoot lightning, the ability to hijack UFOs in midair, and fists that can kill a robot in a single punch." After last checking out Dark Void at GamesCom this past August, we've recently been able to play through a new mission from a nearly complete build of the game.

The mission we played this time shed some light on the story, which we've heard little about aside from the general backstory. Will, Dark Void's main character, is a cargo pilot who's been swept away to an alien world called the Void after a delivery that sent him on a course through the Bermuda Triangle went awry. He's now found himself in a strange world inhabited by a race of robotic aliens called Watchers. Thankfully, he's not the only human in the Void. The trace of humanity that occupies this world has formed a resistance movement aided by none other than Nikola Tesla, who's designed the jetpack and weaponry Will uses to fight the Watchers.

However, Tesla has also designed a rescue ship called the Ark that he's created in hopes of providing a getaway vehicle for humanity to escape the Void. Naturally, the Watchers aren't keen on letting their new friends leave so easily, so they've taken to staging an all-out assault on the Ark. That's when we came into the picture. The new mission began just as the Watchers started attacking the Ark, and it was our immediate job to jump into a Tesla-designed aircraft to fight off the Watchers.

The flight combat is done very well, which is no great surprise considering the fact that Dark Void is the product of Crimson Skies developer Airtight Games. The aircraft controls are fairly elaborate with functions that extend beyond merely turning and shooting (lock-on, quick 180, air brake, and the like), but they're pretty forgiving in the types of maneuvers you can do in the air. But what makes Dark Void unique is that Will can hop out of the aircraft after it's taken too much damage and either zip around with his jetpack using shoulder-mounted guns for defense or cruise up to another enemy vessel and hijack it out of the sky. The latter option looks slick but proves to be a little tricky the first few times because of how much those Watcher pilots fight back.

After clearing the skies of Watcher aircrafts, a Watcher dropship rolled in and let loose a flood of on-foot enemies. Ground combat feels a lot like Uncharted, or a much faster-paced Gears of War, with its third-person shooting and a focus on cover techniques. While there are a variety of alien guns and grenades to use that affect your robotic enemies in different ways, our personal favorite technique was simply charging at the Watchers and killing them with our bare hands. The melee combat system is pretty simple (just hit B or circle), but the animations of Will punching a robot to death--or knocking it down and firing a single deadly shot to its face--are quite satisfying.

Fact: Nikola Tesla does not actually look like David Bowie.

The latter stages of this mission required us to find a lighting gun hidden in one of Tesla's hideouts in the cliffs and acquire a lightning gun, which we used to recharge the four power generators on the exterior of the Ark before it could take off. But just as we did that, three archons came into the picture. These animal-type units are like giant, robotic beasts that fire powerful energy blasts from their heads. To keep them from destroying the Ark, we had to take on all three of them, which proved to be quite a gauntlet. Fighting each one was like fighting a boss battle, complete with elaborate quick-time event sequences. We managed to die a few times while crawling up on their faces and getting caught in a blinding beam of energy, but we stuck to it and proved victorious. That theme of sticking to it is one that's likely to be echoed when Dark Void is released. With three distinct gameplay types, you'll seriously need to get used to Dark Void's control scheme. When you combine that with a difficulty level that skews toward challenging, you've got a game that takes a good bit of getting used to, but one that's proven fun after we crossed that hurdle. You can expect to see Dark Void released on January 12.

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54 comments
Thrice8
Thrice8

if it takes 15 minutes to simply hijack a vehicle, which will be heavily damaged (shieldless) by the time you can get in it, what the hell is the point of doing it and how is it an alternative to simply destroying it outright which takes half the amount of time and effort? this game smells way too much like just another gimmicky TPS with boring gunplay, really annoying sound effects and average graphics.

lokesc
lokesc

When it was 1st introduced, it sounds like rocketeer on steriods. but after looking at the gameplay,...some of the graphics are pretty darn bad. i hope they optimize it maybe for a smaller world but with more breathtaking scenes.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Im not really a Capcom fan, however this looks quite interesting, the Jetpack adds a new dimension to what could easily have been 'yet another' sub-standard TPS.

Darkestrah
Darkestrah

oh my god 9:27mins of total boredom. im not buying this game. it looks very BORING.

VXLbeast
VXLbeast

This and Lost Planet 2? Capcom FTW! But seriously, at first I wasn't interested in this game, but it looks very cool! I hope they can pull off that "360 degrees" of combat thing, ambitious.

sleepychicken
sleepychicken

Are they really "UFO"s if you know what they are and who is in them? wouldn't they be IFOs?

Nova_Luenros
Nova_Luenros

Wow, so not too much excitement here...my only concerns is how well the story plays out and possibly how long the game will end up being. I think it looks great and I'm sure it will have a fitting musical score with it. Not to mention it seems quite fun. I'm excited for it but I'm not 'head over heels' for it yet. Also, @ jinjak: Astroboy is awesome.

kartik24
kartik24

such a massive ship..and it drops off only 3 ppl:))))

THESEL
THESEL

I was interested six months ago, why don't they put it out and let us give it a play? I'm bored with anticipation.

_Sharpshooter_
_Sharpshooter_

it looks like hes being dragged when hes flying. like u guys u grab in prototype

jinjak
jinjak

Nice game.But it's look like astro boy or something.

mikeyvp87
mikeyvp87

I'm waiting for the review before i get excited about it.

Torres_
Torres_

Looks like 7.5 at max, not excited. There are a lot better games coming up than this mediocre shooter.

deshazerg
deshazerg

I personally, am really excited about this game. It looks really interesting and I love the Diesel Punk kind of feel to the game. I'll be picking this one up for sure.

Sony_Loyalist
Sony_Loyalist

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

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

why all the hate for this game? I think it looks awesome. the aerial combat looks like a lot of fun and the graphics look superb. As for everyone ragging on the games storyline: guess what? It's SCIENCE FICTION! I'm looking forward to Dark Void.

ztg360
ztg360

looks boring and i normally like shooters like these first of all it takes entirely too many shots to kill one "watcher" and all u need to do is jetpack and ur fine at least it seems like that.

Akawoa
Akawoa

Talk about a boring demo... you'd think they could have brought something exciting. The premise sounds interesting but the plot and designs look boring and generic. I'll give it a rental >_>

alien-killa
alien-killa

this almost needs a spoiler alert at the top of the page.

solidniko
solidniko

ill think bout buying this but i would pick up dante's inferno instead

kvan33
kvan33

Wow, semi plot spoilers and a lame demo to boot. That should save anyone thinking about this game some much needed cash.

breadisgood
breadisgood

Looks pretty cool, I might pick it up next summer when there's the usual big drought of games.

feliscele
feliscele

Really want this game, but I'm a little paranoid that it will get something in the 7.5 range.

todsnet
todsnet

This game looks freaking awesome!!! I can't till it comes out. I reserved it when I first heard about it 6 months ago.

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

looks really nice, very unique, btw nikola tesla does NOT look like david bowie for me on that picture

Zkuri_Syted
Zkuri_Syted

Looks interesting. Crimson Skies was a very entertaining arcade dog fighting game, if the ground combats just as solid then I'm sold, one thing however, is that guy must have asbestos feet, calf's and thighs...

enycepinoyism
enycepinoyism

i like the premise of this game. sounds like an interesting plot. lets see if the gameplay can hold up as well. I think its great that developers are using historical figures in games, like this and esp assasins creed 2

klausreis
klausreis

fell asleep.... this is just another boring game... just like iron man =(

klausreis
klausreis

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Vasot
Vasot

From the graphics perspective it looks good but the gameplay looks kind of boring. I also find the story and some of the game characters ridiculous. :( Nikola Tesla ?? *sigh* Whats next Albert Einstein fighting aliens...

HardWired94
HardWired94

Looks really easy and boring. Just fly around above them like a wuss and shoot down on them.

d4v1dbow13
d4v1dbow13

Wow the whole time I thought the announcer was a guy. Anyways, this game is shaping to be interesting to say the least.

MarioVerkerk
MarioVerkerk

hmm I'm not impressed... looks like another dogfight kind of game.. and those usually suck. Nah, nothing special.

Petruvai
Petruvai

This game is definitely getting a purchase from me. I can't wait for this!!! I'll admit that the score being done by Bear McCreary has a little to do with it, but the game looks really fun, too.

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

I played DV at PAX in September. From what I played, it was fairly unimpressive. A few neat concepts thrown on top of a standard formula with controls and gameplay that are not as refined as the leaders in the genre. Albeit a pre-release version, I won't be buying the game. Neither the gameplay nor the story interest me, and I need at least one :)

asapco
asapco

This game looks soooo boring. I had to force myself to sit through this trailer.

cabbage100
cabbage100

what I'm glad to hear is how they delayed it FOR GOOD REASON. when you have other game devs who delay their products, they always come up with some cr@p like 'it needs some extra polish' or 'we're currently refining our product' it really gets to me. good looking game too, sounds like a solid rental, perhaps not a buy tho, on account of no multiplayer. :\

hoossy1
hoossy1

really disappointed there is no multiplayer. I hope that a sequel will.

meathead86
meathead86

looking good cant wate to see more its good to see new games being made

md0234
md0234

That looks really interesting, definitely thinking I'll be getting this come January. Shame they are just going to miss Christmas by a couple of weeks. Hard to tell, but the shooting does seem a little imprecise, but I look forward to being able to fight on the ground, using the jet pack and taking over the ships, should keep it interesting.