|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ascaron Entertainment/Gaming Minds||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Kalypso Media||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 20, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Not all of the game's graphics are so great though. The character models are clearly showing their age, and don't even look that good considering they're from 2006. Ships, asteroids, and planets look similarly awful once you get anywhere near them.
The controls of this game may be DarkStar One's biggest success. Ordinarily, space flight games fall flat on their face when trying to implement full-3D movement, especially without the help of a flight stick. However, this game manages to impart this to the player well, and it's usually a simple matter to perform the maneuvers you want.
The issue is that there's just not a whole lot to do with these solid controls. The most effective way to fight pirates is to stay still and spin in a circle since that's the tightest, fastest way to turn. When playing this way, not only is the game too easy, but it's also frequently obnoxious. Whether you're sitting still or moving, when you finally reel around to take a shot at an enemy and he flies right by you (forcing you to repeat the move), it can be frustrating, especially when that happens several times in a row.
This wouldn't be too much of a problem if the game had a great overall goal that you were striving towards, but it doesn't. The overarching story is not interesting, and there's not a lot of impetus to continue grinding the same few missions over and over just to advance.
The audio for DarkStar One isn't awful, but doesn't do it any favors either. There isn't that much music in the game to begin with, and the voice acting isn't all that spectacular either. That leaves you with little more than a few laser blasts to keep your ears company on the long journey.
DarkStar One wont be winning any awards for its gameplay, and a lot of players are going to be bored by the monotony and lack of mission variety. But on a system that is so overwhelmingly awash with ho-hum first-person shooters and uninspired racing games, this is a unique item. There's absolutely nothing else like it on the system, and only a precious few of its genre have even been made in the last five years.
It's a game that's worth experiencing, if only to try out a wholly different genre from anything else available on the major systems. However, the niche it will appeal to is so small that 99% of gamers will be better off renting this one rather than plopping down the full $50 for a risk like this. It's far from being a bad game, but it's equally far from being a good game. If you love exploring space or didn't feel like Mass Effect 2 gave enough of that swashbuckling space explorer feeling, then this is a worthy rental.
CCC Freelance Writer