Dark Void - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Dark Void
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Airtight Games
Publisher: Capcom
Rated: "T" for Teen



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

When playing Capcom’s Dark Void, it’s important to keep one thing in mind – perspective is key. Is the game’s narrative predictable and uninspired? Sure, but you have a jetpack. Are the mechanics a paint- by-numbers copy of several successful game franchises? Sadly yes, buuuut at the same time – you get a jetpack. And a machine gun.

Dark Void could have been not only one of this year’s standout debut titles, but the start of a brand new franchise for Capcom, but sadly all it amounts to is a game filled with good ideas horribly executed, missed opportunities and lost potential. When the game works, it soars, but when it stutters, it crashes and burns quickly.

On paper, Dark Void sounds like a guaranteed hit. Mix equal parts Disney’s The Rocketeer with a good size helping of fan favorite gameplay from the long missed Crimson Skies series and stir well. The problem is that all of these elements were seemingly stirred a little too much, and nothing seems fully developed. Case in point, the Crimson Skies gameplay mechanics.  Known for precise controls and thumbstick aided maneuvers, Crimson Skies was a solid hit. Sure, those same mechanics are present in Dark Void, but thanks to twitchy controls and an uneven targeting system, they often hurt the player more than they help. I can’t count the number of times I was attempting to take down bogeys in mid air, tried to reverse and lost all sense of direction – taking on massive amounts of damage in the process. Oh, and forget having an even halfway decent targeting system, the one featured in Dark Void is all but broken.

"...it’s undeniably cool to race around the sky freely in a jetpack."

 
   

But, that being said, it’s undeniably cool to race around the sky freely in a jetpack. When you’re not in combat, you’re often given freedom to fly at your will, and soaring up as high as you can, then zooming back down is a feeling unmatched by most games. Even better is when you’re just cruising around and you discover a new maneuver (even if it won’t do much in gameplay, it still looks pretty cool). My only complaint is that I never felt like I was going fast enough – let me cruise through the skies, have the world blur below me, I don’t want to feel like I’m puttering around.

As in most games with an inanimate object as the protagonist, you’ll lose your jetpack towards the end of the game. What follows is a generic third person action title that makes no bones about the fact that it at least attempts to borrow from Gears of War. These sections are dull, and often grind on, leaving you waiting until you get your jetpack back.

"...a mix of bad SyFy Channel movie clichés and predictability."

 
   

Admittedly, Dark Void’s story is original, if not all kinds of strange. You take control of World War II cargo pilot William Augustus Grey who crashes into the Bermuda Triangle. There, he meets a group of humans, creatively known as the survivors who are being attacked by a group of Alien beings known as The Watchers. It’s not long before, for some reason, we’re introduced to plot twists that include everyone from Nikola Tesla to Amelia Earhart. As you progress through the game, you’ll find shoddy pacing, enormous plot holes and groan worthy dialogue. The game is supposed to feel like a 1930s sci-fi serial, but instead we get a mix of bad SyFy Channel movie clichés and predictability. There’s no element to the story that most gamers can identify with.

The majority of the game’s presentation values are lacking, from the budget sound effects (seriously, are the characters in a cave or is it just a sound booth?)  to the groan worthy textures on the environments, but if there is a saving grace, it’s the game’s score. Composed by Bear Mcreary, most famous for his work on Battlestar Gallactica, the game’s background music always seems to fit the action, even if the game itself doesn’t know what it wants to be. To their credit, the game’s voice over cast seemingly tried to give a decent amount of life the characters, much like (but definitely not to the level of) last year’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the actors actually sound like they’re enjoying performing the lines, as hackneyed as they may be.

Dark Void could have been an incredible and unique experience, but instead we get a glitchy, uninspired title that manages to mess up even its own unique jetpack mechanics. Gamers will remember that the title was delayed late last year, perhaps another delay would have been better than releasing this lackluster, unpolished title. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlimited Health, Moon Jump, Add Tech Points, more

The reason Dark Void’s cheats work is that they often remedy a bit of the game’s lack of polish. Yes, you’re encouraged to use the game’s thumbstick maneuvers, but if you do you’re sure to take on a load of damage – just throw on the unlimited health cheat and you’re in business. You’ll also be able to unlock 1000 tech points, to max out your skills and equipment without having to break your controller down in frustration at the game’s horrid AI and save system.

There’s also your typical action adventure cheats like unlimited ammo, team health and grenades, but mostly, I like using the moon jump cheat…I mean come on! You have a jetpack – why wouldn’t you want to combine those two?!

 

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