Dark Sector was the first next-generation title announced, but was the wait truly worth it? Read my review and find out for yourself.
The story of Dark Sector focuses around the main character, Hayden Tenno. He is a man that has done many unjust things in the past, but ends up becoming a savior through his actions. Dark Sector is a superhero tale.
To get to the nitty gritty, Hayden has to stop a virus from spreading. I won't go too deep into it, because I don't want to spoil much, but there's really not that much to spoil. Dark Sector's main problem is its storytelling. It's paper thin. The player will have to piece together everything if they want to know the what's going on, which can be annoying.
Digital Extremes really needs to learn how to do storytelling better. Pariah had the same problem and failed ultimately because of it. It's not that the stories bad, it's that the storytelling is weak and will leave gamers wondering just what's going on.
The level design is very solid. The environments are mapped out perfectly for the gameplay in Dark Sector. I hate to compare it to Gears of War, because that's been happening far too often, but the level design is very similar. The cover spots on the maps are placed in all the right spots, so that Hayden can take cover and become a more efficient killer.
The character designs are also one of the games positives. Hayden is a very well created main character, and he's not the typical hero. Although, his animations look odd and Chucky-like in some of the cinematics. It's a small complaint, but I hope they get rid of that in a sequel. The enemies are all top notch and there's a varied selection of them. You'll never feel like you're fighting the same foe, because they'll constantly be switching it up.
Dark Sector is a 3rd person shooter/action game. The gameplay is the best part of Dark Sector. Hayden is easy to control and using cover is very simple. In Dark Sector, when you sprint towards something, you won't automatically stick to it and get locked in a cover position. You'll have to press the sprint/roll button again when close to the object you want to use as cover.
Throwing your Glaive, or using one of the many weapons you have in your arsenal is the real joy in Dark Sector. The guns feel right and the Glaive controls very well, even when in Aftertouch mode. On the 360, you'll control the Glaive in Aftertouch mode with your analog stick, but on the PS3 you have the option to use the SIXAXIS motion controls. The motion controls work well, but I still found the analog stick to be easier when gliding the Glaive through a more complicating obstacle. It'll all be down to player preference when choosing which way you'd like to use the Aftertouch feature.
You can also use your Glaive to snatch an enemies weapon, but his weapon will notice that you're infected, then you won't be able to use it. It'll work for a good 20 seconds before this happens, though.
Also, there is a weapon shop, which you can enter throughout the game. From the cash you collect in the game, you'll be able to buy and upgrade your weapons. You can also sell your weapons.
You'll also come across a lot of elemental puzzles and boss fights throughout Dark Sector. They all use the Glaive in an inventive way and make you think about how you're approaching the foe.
Both versions have Achievements, while the PS3's "Achievements" are actually called "Entitlements", but they work the same way, minus being tied to a gamer score number.
Overall, I don't have many negatives on the gameplay front. All the gameplay mechanics work well.
Dark Sector is a gorgeous game. From the great bump mapping of the textures, to the excellent lighting, to the great looking character models, it's all eye candy.
Some clipping will happen and some enemies will become glitched in the environment. It only happened to me about 2 or 3 times, so it's not a buggy game at all. It's actually quite polished.
The framerate is at a consistent 30fps and I didn't notice any dips in performance on the PS3 version, which I must congratulate Digital Extremes for. It shows they really tried hard and learned the complicated architecture of the PS3 hardware.
Dark Sector only includes 2 multiplayer modes, Infection and Epidemic. The first mode, Infection, will have one player playing as a fully powered and evolved Hayden Tenno. The other players will have to work together as Hazmat Troopers to take down Hayden. The player who takes out Hayden will then become the "infected" and will be playing as the fully powered and evolved Hayden. The cycle goes on and on. It's a fun mode, but it won't become your multiplayer addiction. The fun is short lived.
The second mode, Epidemic, will have 2 teams fighting each other, but this time, both teams will have their own fully powered and evolved Hayden Tenno. The teams main goal is to take out each others Hayden. This is a fun mode, but it's short lived, also.
As you can see, the online is nothing to write home about and it definitely won't keep you entertained for long.
Dark Sector is a very good single player experience, but it's a shame the story and multiplayer portions weren't as strong as the gameplay and graphics. Dark Sector is definitely Digital Extremes most ambitious title to date. It's also their best title to date. But the game could have used better storytelling and a richer multiplayer offering.
If you're looking for a very rewarding and fun single player experience, then give Dark Sector a look. But if you're looking for your next online multiplayer addiction, look elsewhere, Dark Sector is not for you.