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Dark Void review

AT A GLANCE
  • Flying can be pretty awesome
  • Cool setting
  • Great score by Battlestar Galactica people
  • Doesn't let you fly enough
  • Boring story and enemies
  • Forgettable cover-based shooting

Void (noun) – a completely empty space. Yeah, that about sums it up for us. As hard as we peered into Dark Void we struggled to see a shred of originality, or a spark of excitement that lifted the game above anything other than beige mediocrity. In a world of Modern Warfare and Gears of War, this game is a bit of a non-entity.

The main problem is that, even with the jetpack mechanic (which we’ll get onto in a minute) Dark Void simply doesn’t excel at anything. There isn’t a single memorable moment in the game – a moment that made us sit up and think “wow, this might be pretty cool”. Worse, it kicks off with one of the shoddiest prologues we’ve ever been subjected to.

Dumped into the middle of an aerial battle, you’re hastily given a few button commands before being asked to deal with the game’s twitchy controls and shoot down a handful of weird UFOs of the most generic variety possible. Sure, it all gets explained later, and we understand why the devs didn’t want to kick off with an hour of dreary third-person shooting (which pretty much sums up the first couple of levels) but it’s still a totally disorientating opener and leaves a nasty taste in your virtual mouth, which would require a huge amount of gaming greatness to expunge.

With the prologue done, you’re then introduced to freight pilot Will and his sexy-if-you-like-that-kind-of-thing customer Ava. Who also turns out to be his Ex. Funny, that. The two are on a flight through the Bermuda Triangle – which is clever of them – and all of a sudden they’re crash landing on a jungle island. Next they suddenly turn into combat-hardened marines and go about dispatching droves of weird alien robots with sort of slugs inside them, who are worshipped by the natives, and Nikola Tesla pops up, and Will falls down a big hole and… oh, it’s relentless sci-fi bilge. Perhaps there’s a decent plot lurking underneath it all, but the game seems so intent on rushing you towards the next bizarre revelation or tenuous plot/gameplay link we stopped caring by episode two.

Sadly, it isn’t as if you can get your jollies from the action instead. The shooting sections are twitchy as hell, presumably to give you a chance at hitting the Watchers (skinny robot enemies) who jerk around the screen like characters in a badly buffered Quicktime movie. The bad guys are unnecessarily tough too. We don’t care if they are robots: a headshot should equal death, and in Dark Void it doesn’t. Quite a ways into the game you finally come across your first flying section, and this is more entertaining. Blasting enemies out of the sky is tough, but hovering above ground-bound grunts and peppering them with your machine gun proves to be pretty satisfying.

However, just when you start to enjoy yourself, there’s always something to bring you crashing back to the earth with frustration. One of the first jetpack stages is an escort mission where you’re protecting a man who doesn’t think twice about slowly walking towards mounted machine guns. A couple of stages later and you’re engaged in a full-on dogfight inside a narrow canyon against wave after wave of flying saucers. It’s challenging enough, until you die and realise you have to start from a checkpoint pretty far back. And it doesn’t have the same sheen the second time around…

There’s nothing offensively bad about Dark Void; it’s just exceptionally mediocre. We blasted through the whole six-ish-hour campaign and now we struggle to remember any of it. It’s like those hours just mysteriously vanished. Eerie.

Jan 19, 2010

More Info

Release date: Jan 19 2010 - PS3, Xbox 360, PC (US)
Jan 22 2010 - PS3, Xbox 360, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Airtight Games
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Animated Blood, Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
16+

17 comments

  • Apparition - February 28, 2011 10:41 p.m.

    Okay, I have a problem here with everyone deciding how good this game was just from the demo, Tbh, I thought the demo was terrible. However, I decided to give the game another try and the actual game was great, The only problem I had with it was how they all of a sudden just become expert fighters and things. Don't rate a game based soley on the demo.
  • SuperStingray - January 25, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    I loved this game for what it was, but it could have been so much more. Considering how much freedom it offers you with the seamless air/ground combat, it's surprisingly linear. I think it should have at least had multiplayer or something, but as it stands, it's a great game that's worth a rental, but I can't say it's worth much more than that.
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  • crumbdunky - January 21, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    Ah, well, played the demo and, tbh, I thought it would be lucky to get threes or fours from that mess. Some have kidded themselves into believing Capcom are on some sort of "form" this gen but to me they're so far below what they were doing for, esp, PS2 that it isn't funny and they've gone from just about my favourite developer/publisher to a company who's games I generally worry about these days. DMC4 strarted the real rot(though LP1 and DR1 both had their share of mess ups)by being plainly so inferior to D<MC3 in nearly every way that they gave up trying half way through and made us repeat the game backwards with Dante insead of Newro just to bulk out the damn game! IMO, SF2THDR is a better SF than SF4-but I'#m prepared to give Capcom SF4 because whatever I say it's still a decent fighterbut that's about where the good stuff for PS360 begins and ends as RE5 was a terrible Resi game, a poor survival horror game and no kind of action game as they didn't change their controls(fine if they're making a tru s/h or Resi title but going action with Resi controls?WTF? And Sheva? Forced SP co-op with the dimmestr NPC partner ever created? Count me in!As for the Vs content fiasco-well, lets not go there shall we? I could go on all night about how bad by comparison they've been this generation on the Wii as well(best games are ports from GC/PS2, constant REmakes and unwantd RE rail shooters , the awful CTYD with basically only MH3 as a full AAA title they bothered getting right FOR the Wii. Zack and Wiki was great but, then, they didn't bother telling us it existed! Oh, and no SF for Wii but a Tats Vs Capcom game that goes west where noone knows any of the Tatsunako characters! Mas appeal there Cappers! Looks a decent game which is the saddest part!)or how they stopped listening to their gamers but that's not the bigh issue here. No, the problem, as I see it, is they kjust keep messing their franchises up and farming games out to unsuitable devs(what were Grin playing at with BC last year? Wife Arm and clunky gameplay? Yes please!)or, as with DR2 to devs who seemingly just don't have the experience. So, we're left looking to their best,. in-house devs to sort it out, yes? But, no, cos they murdered RE5 and DMC4! Pre demo I had high hopes that this game might be the one that convinced me Capcom were going to be right back making classic games again but it was terrible and controlled like crap while making me motion sick during flight and puzzled by just how the generixc cover coombat felt so much less than the sum of it's, usually, pretty surefire parts. I twas a really, truly poor as pee water effort of a demo and I'm shocked the game has even managed a "decent" score as the half hour I spent on a couple of play throughs of the demo(always give it two shots just in case I've been way too harsh)is time I strongly regret wasting on Capcom when I'm getting to the point where I feel I should know better than to trust them. Believe me I don't WANT to knock Capcom(nothing, seriouly, could be further from the truth) but by the same yardstick I find it hard to stay quiet when they get praised to the hilt for work that isn't fit to top Dante's DMC3 pizza. LP2 looks like n excellent game, mind, and the 4player demo was great fun so that could be the game to give me hope but Dark Void was a dead duck as soon as those shonky flight controls made their way into our consoles. I can't think of anything really good about that demo-and I don't think the game has a lot more to offer by the sound of it. Better luvck next time Cacpom.
  • bonerachieved - January 20, 2010 9:37 p.m.

    GR I agree with your score, immediate dislike when i started the demo. Thanks for the Bayonneta Reccommendation!
  • Forrest22x - January 20, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    That's a real shame. This might be the only Capcom game that has a 6. Oh well. ReCapcha: Sera National
  • DrRock - January 20, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    All the magazine's hyped this games mechanics and the flying since it was made by Airtight Games. Capcom shoulda put it out at Christmas. Probably would sold more than it will now. I might get around to putting it in my Gamefly que just for the trophies but with all the negative reviews I'm in no hurry to ruin my day by playing this game.
  • Spybreak8 - January 20, 2010 7:34 a.m.

    Ah that's disappointing to hear, I wanted this one to be good at least better than just mediocre.
  • defiantroyroy - January 20, 2010 5:47 a.m.

    oh dear oh dear poor demo, poor game. what a surprise! Capcom should know better.
  • CreeplyTuna - January 20, 2010 3:31 a.m.

    i wonder how many parents will be buying this for their 8 year olds...hmmm...sequel anyone?
  • powerkiller47 - January 20, 2010 2:03 a.m.

    i don't know about this game you get a deference review rateing from site to site one site gave it a 7.5 one give it 6.8 and one gave it a c+ out of a to f real don't know were to pick this one up or not any one got i deal what i should do
  • inconceivable - January 20, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    I played some of the demo, and I didn't really like it either. I was curious what the reviews would be like though. Doesn't seem like I'll be missin' out on much.
  • lovinmyps3 - January 19, 2010 11:25 p.m.

    Played the demo and didn't really like it. The jetpack stuff was ok when hovering like the review said but I honestly didn't have much fun. =(
  • mEgAzD - January 19, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    Oh Capcom, I'm disappointed at you. What was that weird debacle regarding working with Western developers though?
  • princeofme - January 19, 2010 9:37 p.m.

    i had hoped that it would have been better considering the possibility for originality. yet it could not be i mean i played the demo and i agree the flying was fun and really cool but then you start to fight and it goes downhill the robots are like terminators from hell and the guns dont compensate. also i pressed the jetpack button and accidentally died by crashing into the roof lol.
  • jackthemenace - January 19, 2010 9:14 p.m.

    it looks a bit like a mass effect rip off, and, to be honest, i'd actually ratehr play mass effect. the dodgy shooting and massively annoying death set-backs only add to the fect that it's just mass effect with the mako replaced with a dodgy jetpack.
  • The_Author - January 19, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    I played the demo of this on the 360 and took an instant dislike to it. And to think I had such high hopes for it to be at least pretty good!

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