We all make mistakes while trying to make our way through this crazy world of ours. So we can empathize with Darkwatch hero, Jericho Cross when his well-intentioned train robbery goes awry and gets him bitten by a Vampire Lord, turning him into a blood-thirsty creature of the night. It could happen to any of us.
What results is a high-octane FPS set in the Wild (Wild) West of 1876 that packs in kicks like shot of saspirilla. We’re fairly sure that much of Darkwatch’s arsenal didn’t exist back then. But in fairness, there probably weren’t many flying gothic maidens that could shoot fireballs around either, so we’ll grant the coders some creative license. Never knowing when a character is going to start spitting evil will keep you on your undead toes.
Darkwatch does bring in some new scraps that distinguish it from the crowded FPS marketplace. Along the way you can go ‘good’ or ‘evil’, by choosing whether to sink your teeth into potential victims or set them free. In practice this doesn’t alter gameplay, short of a slight change in the story and a different set of special moves, but it does get you emotionally involved in the game. Darkwatch also incorporates a nice Time Crisis -esque horseback section, which breaks up the action and reinforces that Western vibe. Other than that, this game is an innovational vacuum.
But if you’re going to copy something, at least do it right, and this hits all the high notes as it weaves its merry way around the Old West. Darkwatch is blatantly draws a lot from Halo - but hey - that’s not a bad stencil to trace around. It creates an atmospheric world that draws you in, and achieves all the basics of a thrilling, well-designed shooter.
A few nitpicks stop it from attaining classic status; it won’t take long to play through and the out-of-place and rather silly sound effects could do with a rethink. But it’s still a worthy diversion for FPS fans with itchy trigger fingers, but too insubstantial to be labeled a must buy.