Dark Sector Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Dark Sector box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: D3 Publisher 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Digital Extremes 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Q3 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Pending 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
The CIA, Russian territory, mutating super virus...need we say more?
by Leon Hendrix

CIA agent Hayden Tenno has a few problems. Not only is he dispatched to "clean up" a city in a crumbling Soviet territory, and stop the monsters created by a horrible mutagenic contamination, but also he has to discover the secrets of his own infection. Some people have all the luck.

Dark Sector screenshot

It would seem Tenno's problems will be released on the world soon. This latest offering of the Unreal series developer Digital Extremes departs temporarily from the first person shooter genre to bring a completely new story to next-gen consoles. Those of you who are familiar with the series know that it's known for its innovative gameplay, frantic multiplayer mode, and unique weaponry and attributes. No stranger to the action shooter genre, Digital Extremes has gone out of its way to craft a story and a main character that provide explosive action in a big way. In fact, the pace of the story is one of the key features that the good people at Digital Extremes are so eagerly touting.

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Players will take on the roll of Hayden Tenno as he makes his way through the Eastern bloc in the near future. As a special agent of the CIA, Tenno is dispatched to deal with the problem of a biological experiment that has gone wrong and mutated a portion of the populace into monsters. After being mutated, Tenno gains the ability to discharge a large shuriken-like weapon called the glaive from his hand. Over the course of the game, players will shoot, stalk, and slash their way to the bottom of things and hopefully discover the secrets of their infection before it's too late.

Dark Sector screenshot

Since it's original announcement for the PS3, the game has mutated, so to speak, from a game that is primarily heavily sci-fi influenced to a more "realistic" story. In interviews about the game, a storyline involving alternate history was discussed by the game's Project Lead. Although few details about the storyline have been discussed, the team at Digital Extremes has promised a multitude of twists and changes throughout.

Gameplay is another huge aspect of Dark Sector, and Digital Extremes has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that players always have new and exciting elements to master. Combat is always evolving. Initially, like any good CIA agent, players will have the ability to fire weapons that they have or recover from the bodies of fallen enemies. The game features a number of different weapons, among which a pistol, a shotgun, a rifle, and a machinegun have been confirmed.

Dark Sector screenshot

In keeping with their theme of evolving gameplay, players will be given the task of mastering the power of the glaive. After his infection, Tenno gains the power to generate and command the glaive. Adding a new wrinkle to the fighting, the glaive allows players to execute a multitude of new attacks including vicious stealth kills by slashing throats or literally gutting enemies. The glaive acts as an impromptu sidekick at times by assisting with puzzle solving issues as well as giving players the power to dispatch multiple enemies by effectively remote controlling the weapon. Later in the game, the weapon gains the power to absorb various forms of energy. Once infused, the glaive becomes more powerful and can be used to torch or electrocute enemies.

Dark Sector screenshot

Early interviews and videos of Dark Sector indicate that stealth will play a large part in the game as players are given the option of silently slaughtering enemies with and without the glaive. Demos of the game show Tenno creeping through corridors as he hacks through foes in shadowy stone streets and alleys. He uses the glaive like a boomerang to behead an armed foe. Later, Tenno is shown wrestling with a mutated creature before producing the glaive from his palm and slashing toward it. Yes, it does look as cool as it sounds.

The enemies already mentioned consist of members of two factions: the mutated masses and a mysterious military force. The AI for both groups features a specific strategy based on the faction. The monsters behave like animals; they will attack you and attempt to move in close where they can maul their prey. The soldiers attack with flanking maneuvers in order to use their numbers to their advantage.

Dark Sector screenshot

Graphically, the game is shaping up to look very nice and taking full advantage of next-gen power with some beautifully rendered environments, effects, and attacks. The glaive itself looks fantastic, and the lighting and textures are superb.

All in all, Dark Sector, which was one of the very first titles announced for the PS3, looks to be coming along very well. If it takes anything from Resident Evil 4, let's hope it's the stellar gameplay, incredible AI, and wonderful presentation that made that game an instant classic.

By Leon Hendrix III
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • A dynamic storyline in which players will take on the roll of CIA agent Hayden Tenno and fight their way through the ruins of a Soviet city to discover the secrets of a biological experiment gone awry.
  • Innovative and evolving fighting and puzzle solving systems based on the use of the glaive weapon
  • Strategic and realistic enemy squad AI.

  • Preview

    What do you get when you take the secret spy feel of the Metal Gear series and throw them into space? You get the PS3's Space Espionage game, Dark Sector.

    Between the Metal Gear and the Splinter Cell series, we gamers have some quality titles to feed our sneaky hungers, but what makes Dark Sector stand out? First and foremost it's a Next-Gen title, so the graphics should be off the wall! "Should be" is the key word though. Checking out the trailer for Dark Sector, the first thought that came out of my head was "Is this really a PS3 game?" What I saw could have easily been a cut scene from any PS2 title. Secondly, the animation is very choppy at best. The character movements are not smooth and look very unnatural.

    In Dark Sector, you will be playing as Hayden, space spy extraordinaire. Hayden is encased in a special suit of armor, which looks vaguely like a human sized Eva Unit (see Neon Genesis Evangelion), which grants Hayden special abilities. With the power of his suit, Hayden can complete many tasks. For added subterfuge, Hayden's suit can turn him invisible, ala The Predator. If you need some added defense, with the wave of a hand, Hayden's suit can call up a sort of deflector shield that can stop bullets. Hayden's suit also gives him the power to control machines, which will allow you to put them to use against foes in the area.

    I'm not sure yet it is the suit, or Hayden himself, but telekinesis will come into play as you make your way to the Dark Sector. With the telekinesis powers, you will be able to snatch the weapons out of your enemy's hands. Whether you can use that power to arm yourself is a different story, but from the trailer it seemed to be more of a defense mechanism. The telekinesis can also help you get to those hard to reach places. No we're not talking about the cookie jar Mom put on top of the fridge. This feature will act more like a grappling hook or an ascension gun.

    Like most of the Next-Gen titles out there, it will be interesting to see where Dark Sector goes from here. Hopefully the graphics tighten up a bit more and the animations become much smoother. It would be interesting to see how this game will stack up against the big spy games such as Metal Gear and Splinter Cell. We'll just have to wait and see.

    Screenshots / Images
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