As you know in the game you are Hayden Tenno, a military style assassin with a rather checkered past. Hayden’s not a bad guy, just a guy that never really had a lot to live for. So on what you thought was your last mission, all hell breaks loose and you are infected with a “virus” that as time progresses is causing you to mutate and gain superhuman abilities.
The storyline in Dark Sector is awesome. It doesn’t feel like you playing a video game as much as some thriller movie. The guys at D3 did a great job in creating an encapsulating playing experience. Between the score, the errily dreary environments, and Hayden’s unlucky knack for being seriously outnumbered most of the time this game will give you a chill. As the story develops you learn more about the virus you are now infected with and about Hayden’s past. The most obvious sign of his infection is “the glaive” that Hayden now carries in his right hand. This thing can do some major damage and since it can be charged with elemental properties such as fire, ice, and electricity you would be smart to become great friends with it. D3 does a great job at making its use part of the game and also allowing you to use the PS3 six axis capability. You find out that Hayden is a very complex character with a lot of depth. During the game you will battle walking armored tanks, a colossus, helicopters, and a surprisingly large amount of monsters. The boss battles are insane and depending on how observant you are will take you more or less time. As the game progresses, Hayden gains more and more powers that when used together make him a pretty bad well you know.
The graphics are right on point and unlike most games these days Dark Sector does not use the Unreal Graphics engine but rather its on Evolution Engine and this baby can definitely hold its on. The graphics are stunning, you just have to see it for yourself.
All in all the game play is excellent. Haydens’ movement feels smooth and natural. It is very easy to use and switch weapons, and because of these annoying little DNA scanner things that can detect your mutated DNA and causes an enemy’s weapon to explode in your hands (does not cause any damage to you) in like 45 seconds. Due to the fact that you are most of the time insanely outnumbered Dark Sector employs a cover system not unlike what was seen in another great PS3 game Uncharted. Use it and you will prosper, choose not to and its going to be a long day. There is no health bar in Dark Sector but rather the screen changes color and when it gets flashing red you better take cover or else your going down. Because of the way the health system works in combination with the cover system you should actually die very little during actual play, except for boss battles.
There is definitely a decent amount of gore in the game but not a crazy amount and it is done well. Most of the time Hayden can use his arsenal of weapons or the glaive ( a cross between a knife, a ninja throwing star, and a buzzsaw) to dispatch enemies, when you throw that thing heads will roll… literally. There is hardly ever a time when Hayden will need to do hand to hand combat but when you are out of ammo which happens a decent amount in the game and monsters with pipes that want to bash your head in are running at you then hand to hand is what you got. Now at this point you will notice something very interesting, the combat system for hand to hand well..sucks. Ok, it doesn’t suck but let’s just say that it is very limited. Now when I first noticed this I was a little disappointed. But then I thought about by deliberately making the hand to hand combat system a little weak, having things on the enemies weapons that don’t allow you to carry them more than a minute forcing you to basically use all the ammo in the weapon before it explodes, and having you often times run out of ammo on your personal weapons all combine to have one thing happen: you MUST use the glaive. That’s when I thought hey D3 is brilliant. They give you some pretty cool weapons throughout the game but they want your primary weapon to be the glaive and they kind of tweak the gameplay so that it is. Not necessarily bad but be aware. As you get more abilities, like shield and shift (invisibility) it becomes easier to do stealth kills. But besides the stuff I just mentioned the game play is great to me.
Dark Sector takes an interesting play on online multiplayer. In the online mode, there can be several people playing at once, but the trick here is that only ONE can be Hayden. Everyone else is just a regular soldier, but since they don’t have the super powers that Hayden has they are armed up the wazoo and have Hayden handly outnumbered, a fair fight don’t you think?
So what’s the verdict? Well Dark Sector delivers on all the fronts they said it would. You are drawn into an experience, not a game, but rather an experience. The game has great graphics and a score that is second to none. My only problems with it was the weakness in the combat system, for which there may be a reason for as mentioned above, and the relatively shortness of it. The game only has 10 chapters and the game play is designed to make you play at a pretty healthy pace, so the average gamer should be able to complete this game in 6-8 hours. Another funny note is that oddly enough as crazy as the boss battles are , they do seem to get somewhat easier as the game goes on not harder. Because of the relative shortness of the game and interesting but not super encompassing online modes I can not give this a must buy, so depending on your taste in games this is probably a rent on Friday and beat it over the wknd or buy it used. Not a bad game at all, in fact a really good game but while as you are playing it the storyline is very engulfing I don’t see massive replay value. All in all I think D3 achieved what they wanted with Dark Sector, and for that I am giving Dark Sector 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.