Dark Void Review

Score: 79 / 100
Good: Unique 'vertical fighting' elements, neat jetpack features, beautiful graphics
Bad: Sub-par storyline, frustrating flying elements, been there done that 3rd person shooting
Reviewed On: PC

The Backdrop...

Dark Void is set in the "Void" of the Bermuda Triangle where the main character, William Augustus Grey, crash lands with his sexy co-pilot Ava. They are then sent on a journey through the Void to discover where they are, why they are there, and who inhabits this mysterious place. Sounds like a movie, right? Well it just might be...starring Brad Pitt. To put it frankly, you crash land, find other people living in the Bermuda Triangle, find an eccentric scientist who gives you a jet pack, and start laying waste to alien robot snake creatures.

Let's Get Down to Gameplay...

The gameplay for Dark Void is where this title tries to break away from the 'regular conventions' of the third-person shooting world. As stated before, and in true Rocketeer fashion, you are given a jetpack that lets you sore the skies or hover just above your enemies while you shoot them from the perfect vantage point.

You are also given a few base weapons that you upgrade throughout the game by collecting energy from robots you kill. While kind of disappointing to only be able to play with a small amount of weapons, upgrading them kind of eases the mind of this fact. These weapons include an automatic assault rifle, an alien rapid fire assault rifle, a 'BFG' of sorts, a sniper rifle, and grenades. There are also a few other special weapons, that you get later on in the game, that include a magnetism gun, a lighting ghostbuster style gun, and a few others.

Dark Void also offers a lot of time with the jetpack. Once you progress through the first few levels, you are given the upgraded jetpack that lets you fly like a bat out of hell. "Roll, pitch, maneuver, and fire" will be the song you are singing for more than half of the game. You will have to destroy AA weapons, take out enemy fighters, clear the way of floating mines, and guard a rather strange looking / biblical sounding space ship.

Another feature worth mentioning here is the ability to fight while jetpacking up the side of ledges. It is a really unique feature that I haven't seen in other titles and really enjoyed the experience of jetting up to a ledge to pull an enemy off to his death.

The Visuals...

This game is PRETTY. With being developed on the Unreal engine, Dark Void comes shinning through when it comes to visuals. The lighting, the unique Void world, and the overall scenery are all as beautiful as nextgen titles get.

Dark Void also offers the ability to be played with PhysX and in Nvidia 3D. First, I must say that if you don't have a PhysX supported card by now, you really need to get one. Second, these two features bring the game to life. Flying through the air with your jetpack, and 3D enabled, makes you perform side to side head bobbing motions like you never have before. And blowing things up with PhysX enabled brings sweet destructive enjoyment like you can't imagine.

The Disappointments....

While Dark Void has brought some interesting things to the gaming table, it just doesn't hit the nail on the head. For one, I found myself running into a lot of little buggy visual elements that were so distracting I had to die in-game to make them go away. Also, the aerial combat was just flat-out annoying at times. Dark Void's casual take on flying a jetpack was so frustrating that, at times, I just had to walk away for a little bit. Maybe a controller works better than a mouse in this case? Regardless, a lot of the basic gameplay elements in Dark Void just got old quick.

The enemies are also hard to kill and take a lot of ammo to put down. While running out of ammo isn't the problem, it seems that they had to give the enemies a ton of hit points to make them remotely challenging. This usually wouldn't bother me, but it just kind of seemed like a cop out in this case.

Overall...

Dark Void is one of the more unique titles to take advantage of the Unreal engine. While the game is beautiful, it just is lacking that certain something to make it great. With that said, I think that Airtight Games has done a fantastic job on their first major title. It isn't anything extra special, but it is an entertaining action game that looks really really pretty.

- Tyler Sanders (Chiko)

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