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Dark Void: First look

Oct 23, 2007

It's difficult to extrapolate the story, feel and impact of a game you've only seen running in trailer form. But we'll give it a go. Fortunately, Dark Void appears to be the sort of experience you can amusingly call 'WYSIWYG'. Because 'what you see is what you get' doesn't sound funny enough.

Capcom's actioner blends together survival horror overtones (just look at that ghoulish logo), Ratchet %26amp; Clank high-octane gameplay and a near-Scientologist story arc. Aliens "create" us, we "banish them to the void", they come back years later a little bit knarked off.

Still, from what we've seen (the trailer, as we mentioned earlier) Dark Void will likely turn out as a Ratchet %26amp; Clank style romp, but with men and proper guns, and men with proper guns shooting each other in the head. Because besides a spooky logo and a bonkers plot, everything appears very straightforward. See? WYSIWYG.

That's not to say Dark Void isn't exciting, though. Anything but. The trailer we watched contained several moments that got us itching to play this, as Capcom put it, "vertical combat" game. Our nameless hero dove fearlessly into cloud-scudded skies, leapt up platforms through aircraft fortresses, dodged fireballs, hijacked strange gyroscope-like craft by landing on the pilot from a great distance. Oh, and he shot people in the head with proper guns.

Ignore the hokum plot and you've got yourself a solid, straightforward and heady action game set, seemingly, at a cruising altitude of several thousand feet. And one that, in the game action shown during the trailer at least, gives a gut-wrenching sense of gravity, weight and how it must feel to plummet in a downwards trajectory at 100mph.

That said, imagine if developer Airtight Games can give real meaning and resonance to the 'aliens as Gods' narrative, instead of it being merely a crutch for Dark Void's adrenaline soaked action. With that kind of achievement, Capcom would have a real winner on its hands.