Dark Sector Multiplayer Hands-On

We went a few rounds with the online action in Digital Extremes' third-person action game.

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D3 and developer Digital Extremes have been showing off more and more of the single-player campaign in Dark Sector--their upcoming horror-tinged third-person action game--as the release date draws near for this long-in-development title. Until recently, though, we didn't know if the game would offer up any sort of online multiplayer to complement the main story-driven mode. Luckily, the game will have two multiplayer modes to keep you busy, and considering Dark Sector's mechanical similarities to Gears of War, it was a wise decision for Digital Extremes to include some online action here.

The first mode is called infection, in which one player is randomly selected at the beginning of a match to play as Hayden Tenno, the mutant, superpowered secret agent you'll control in the main game. All of the other players will control regular human soldiers armed with assault rifles or shotguns, and the objective (and the way to score points) is to kill the guy who's playing Hayden. As soon as you kill him, you become him. Hayden in the multiplayer is armed with all of the powers you'll gain in the campaign, such as a reflective bullet shield, limited invisibility, and some brutal instant-kill melee attacks. However, the soldiers do have one new trick: a proximity mine they can drop that will blow up in Hayden's face if he gets too close. These matches last until time runs out, and the player with the most points wins at the end.

Epidemic is the other mode, and it plays on a rounds-per-match basis sort of like Counter-Strike. Here, there are two teams, each with one Hayden (though one of them looks like a generic mutant with a covered face), and each of the two Haydens is supported by a team of regular soldiers. The whole objective here is to kill the other team's Hayden, after which the round ends and your team scores a point. The team with the most points at the end of the entire match wins. Again, both Haydens will be able to go invisible for a few seconds, reflect enemies' shots back at them, and other devilish tricks. We found during our demo that a skilled Hayden player could handily hold his or her own against multiple soldiers at a time.

When will the Hayden-on-Hayden violence end?
When will the Hayden-on-Hayden violence end?

Dark Sector will ship with five maps in the box, and while they're specially designed for multiplayer rather than coming from the campaign, naturally they're thematically similar to what you'll see as you play through the storyline. There's a map set in a gothic nighttime setting, another in an old run-down industrial warehouse, and so on. From what we saw, they all offer ways for Hayden to imbue his bladed glaive weapon with elemental powers such as ice or fire, the same way you can in the single-player game.

Dark Sector's release date is now just about a month away, so we'll soon be able to deliver a final verdict on Digital Extremes' first release on modern consoles. Check back then.

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