Dark Angel has no relation to the James Cameron TV show of the same name, but it does have an uncanny resemblance to Metro 3D's first game, Armada. In this adventure RPG, you tackle heinous monsters from a real-time, top-down perspective.
Those of you who have played Armada, the quirky RPG-adventure oddity released almost a year and a half ago, may remember its inventive, free-roaming gameplay and arresting battle system. Unfortunately, if you kept playing for more than a few hours, you may also remember its repetitive gameplay and uninteresting plot. When you consider the source, however, the game was a worthy effort: The space opera was mostly the work of a single programmer who had to complete the game in WinCE with a low budget. Consequently, there's quite a bit of buzz surrounding the company's upcoming effort, Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse. The new game features a bigger development team and better production values. Metro 3D has modest goals, though; its goal seems to be to simply improve on the tried Armada formula and to offer a more polished gameplay and a more interactive storyline, while still keeping to an open-ended universe that reacts to your decisions.
Dark Angel places you in the role of a vampire hunter named Anna. In the land of Gothos, your village is suffering from a mysterious plague that mutates its victims into horrific monsters with extraneous limbs and a hunger for their fellow humans. As the village warrior, you have less than one year to find the cause of the enigmatic ailment and to come up with a cure that can save the afflicted. With the clock ticking, you set out into the unknown, equipped with a bevy of vampire-slaying weapons and a small pack of supplies. From here, you assume control, guiding Anna through an expansive and ever-changing land. Your quest will ultimately reveal a war between two powerful forces: the Vampire Lords, who are attempting to use their powerful magic to enslave humanity, and the Masters of Science who use technology to oppose the Vampires' aims. You will have to choose whom Anna will side with in order to give your people an opportunity to be saved.
In Armada, Metro 3D broke conventions by giving you a fair amount of freedom in your exploration. In Dark Angel, the team is taking things one step further: All your interactions with other characters in the game have plot and even economic repercussions. Metro 3D explains that depending on whom you speak to and how you treat them, cities may rise and fall in wealth, and people you may have never previously encountered will want to join you--or possibly kill you. Many of Dark Angel's encounters are random. Furthermore, the game operates on a real-time economy that is affected by whom you visit and whom you trade with; you can align yourself with either the Masters of Science or the Vampire Lords and be able to complete your objective either way.
Dark Angel's gameplay is similar to Armada's, as it is viewed from a slightly angled overhead perspective. Also similar to the space shooter, combat is in real time, with inflicted damage displayed in points above the enemy. Differences and improvements of note include real-time changes from night to day (one hour equals one day in the game), along with the promise of a much more complex enemy AI. Monsters will team up and organize basic strategies to defeat you: Some will pursue you relentlessly around the map, while others will be content to set traps and ambush you. There are several types of baddies that you'll get to beat up on, all spread out over twelve modules. Modules, themselves, are worth noting, since they are designed slightly differently from either of the levels or areas you're accustomed to. Metro 3D explains that each module represents a different area of Dark Angel's world and that each module is given a distinctive visual style and gameplay. In one, you'll mostly encounter powerful beasts that are best tackled with magic; in another, you'll have to defeat powerful magic users with your physical strength. Each module can be played through an unlimited amount of time, which lets you hone specific stats for later parts of the game.