Dark Void is the perfect game to rent, which I am sure Capcom is unhappy to hear. With no lasting value, it is hard to recommend slapping down $60 for this game. While the unique ideas and concepts are fun to play and worth experiencing the cost of admission is just far too great. Even after renting this game you will have to look past the story and enjoy the game for what it is. Expect an average game with new unique ideas executed just well enough to gain your respect. I have a feeling the game will not sell well and the only sad part about that is I really could see a Dark Void 2 being a much better game with perhaps some online dog fighting and a more fleshed out story. I trust that if you were a fan of The Rocketeer you will have a hard time while playing this game wishing it was the game based on the movie.
To infinity and... the void
If you happen to be around my age and grew up in the 80s - 90s you may remember a Disney movie named Rocketeer. At the time I remember thinking about how fun a well done game could be. This was of course before 3D gaming took over so I was dreaming well outside the box at the time. Fast forward nearly 20 years since the film and we finally have a game that comes fairly close to capturing that sense of freedom with one man and a rocket strapped to his back.
Dark Void was created by Airtight Games and published by the gaming giant Capcom. The game uses the very popular Unreal Engine 3 so you have a good idea how the game looks. Visually the game is very middle of the road when it comes to this gen games but the hook of the game rests on the controls. Right off the bat you will recognize the familiar Gears of War style over the shoulder view. Dark Void pulls this off fairly well as you are able to hide behind cover and pop out and take down your enemies. This part of the game plays well enough to keep you interested in playing through the game. Where the game gets interesting is when you are given your first rocket pack which allows you to hover or fly giving you many new ways to destroy the enemy.
From the moment you take flight you will instantly feel the love the flying controls were given. Airtight obviously spent a good deal of time working on the flight controls which was a good idea considering it could have ruined the game. With special movies built in and tight responses you actually get the feeling of a man with a rocket on his back able to make turns and attack the enemy from all sides. This works so well that I found myself flying around exploring the boring looking levels in search for tech points.
Tech points are the rewards you get from destroying enemies or finding them randomly placed through the levels. As you collect tech points you are then able to upgrade your weapons and backpacks up to 3 levels . You really do notice the extra power your weapons have as you level them up. I recommend upgrading your main machine gun to level 3 as soon as possible. The upgrade system is very basic and not something to get your hopes up, it is rather something you just need to do so look out for those tech points as you kill enemies.
Story wise the game is a mess with very boring writing and a world that ultimately I could have cared less about. I found myself skipping a few cut scenes as I was just more interested in playing the game. The story takes place in the world war era where a void was discovered near the Bermuda Triangle which brought new technology and robot aliens. At least that was the basics that I got from the game. The dialog was tough to get through but if you were dying to hear Nolan North voice another brown haired all American character then you are in luck.
One thing you should get ready for is button sequences that you will repeat often while hijacking UFOs or attacking the giant scorpions. It seems Airtight was ok with creating just one animation for these actions and so you will see them over and over as you button press when the icon comes up on the screen. As someone who hates button press sequences I will just leave it at that.
Beyond the solid third person shooting and fantastic flight controls the other unique part of Dark Void is the vertical combat. At various stages of the game you will have to fly up to ledge which will change the perspective to one looking straight up along a cliff or shipwreck or any other tall structure. You are then able to shoot up at enemies who are looking down at you and fly from ledge to ledge engaging them in a very unique combat style. I enjoyed these sections of the game and once again show that Airtight's strong point is their control creation.
The game is short on modes as all you get here is the single player game. You are allowed to select a mission afterwards and bring in your weapons you have upgraded and search for journals you may have missed. I would also recommend starting the game on Hard as it really is not all that hard and with that you will gain the majority of the trophies in the game. Once you are finished with the single player you are pretty much left with a game that you will not go back to. So while the game is fairly fun and has some unique ideas it is hard to suggest buying it at full price.
Dark Void is one of those games that really is a challenge to review. While I had plenty of fun playing through this game I can not help but wonder what a better studio could have done with the ideas. The story and setting really did nothing for me and ended up being by far the worst part of the game. The controls and unique concepts were solid and kept the game moving at a fairly solid pace. The game only drug out at one point later in the game with a very long escort mission which nearly put me to sleep.
2.5 / 5