|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Paradox Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Paradox Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Ship customizing is limited, but its a diversion from fighting, and one that artificially makes you feel like youve got some control. You can choose various shields, hulls, and weapon systems.
Or, if you would rather not fuss over the placement of a missile launcher, you can just let the CPU do it for you. It places things in a logical manner, where you might be tempted to overcompensate for something resulting in an unbalanced ship. Whatever weapon system you choose, you'll never have enough ammo. In later stages, you can custom-combine these systems by melting down resources that you acquire.
There are two main combat modes: Stealth and Corter. By reducing the temperature of your ship, you are able to pass through enemy territory undetected. However, you have to travel at a very slow speed with the weapons only functioning at a fraction of their capabilities. As the ship becomes hotter, due to deploying your weapons or holding down the L key, you will enter into Corter mode, where you are at peak power in terms of speed and weapon deployment. The weapons shoot faster and more powerfully, and the bursts of speed will allow you to get out of some tight situations. This comes at the expense of your shields, so youll want to make sure you have an escape route in sight or you're going to become Swiss cheese.
As the commander, youll find your squad is little more than a bunch of amateurs. They dont perform very well on their own and they dont follow orders very well either. A particular strategy would be to use some of them as decoys, or even as expendable crafts that would take the heat off of you. But they arent interested in getting killed, and the enemy A.I. refuses to take their eyes, and laser missiles, off you.
Graphically, the game looks good with objects rendered in 3D, shaded to display their relative position in space. The HUD will also help you keep track of your position and that of enemy ships, although not all ships are on the radar and the dark ones can be virtually impossible to see. The explosions are very colorful; almost flamboyant. The same can't be said about the sound effects, which are weak and repetitive. Bad voice acting, repetitive music, and weak-sauce weapon blasts begs you to override the audio with your home stereo system. And let's not forget about the lack of any multiplayer modes. It's possible to complete this game in one day, with no reason to replay it.
Dark Horizon is a game that should be seen, not heard. Whether it should be played depends on just how empty your life is.
CCC Senior Writer