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The days of the space opera are, unfortunately, long gone, with no prospect of a new Wing Commander or Privateer appearing through a wormhole any time soon. With Dark Horizon, the initial signs were promising: a space combat game without the trade and with a heavy emphasis on laser-induced death.
Despite a confusing and incomplete tutorial that raises as many questions as it answers, the combat itself is easy to get into and feels solid enough, with some acceptable visuals that are reminiscent of the X games (just not as nice). Quazar is a small studio, so we can forgive the lack of graphical splendor. We’re not shallow, you see.
What we can’t forgive is the dreary nonsense that passes for a storyline. Dark Horizon’s main ‘evil force’, comically dubbed the Mirk, doesn’t exactly fire the imagination as did the Kilrathi all those years ago. So, there is never much impetus to continue playing, to discover what events will unfold. Some of this will be down to inadequate translation, with gems such as “We know the number of opened by the enemy portals” not winning any awards for snappy dialogue.
With a flat plot, albeit one fleshed out by vast reams of inter-mission text, the solidity of Dark Horizon’s combat becomes irrelevant. Sadly, it seems Wing Commander fans will have to wait a bit longer for their salvation.
Oct 22, 2008