trulyalive's Dark Void (Xbox 360) review

Wish I could get back to the light.

Dark Void has one of those great concepts that makes you wonder why nobody has thought of it before: A cocky pilot crashes

 This man nearly tore the earth in two. Respect him.
his plane in the Bermuda Triangle and finds himself in another dimension in which Nikola Tesla wages a war against a species of interdimensional alien-esque beings. Tesla (being the mad scientist we all know and love) builds a jetpack for our pilot hero and...well, you can pick it up yourself from there. It's no surprise that the film adaptation was in production before the game hit release, even more so when you consider how the game plays: Not well. Put simply, if the rights for this game were ever going to be sold it would have to be before anybody got their hands on the game to actually play it.
For the most part the gameplay and level design try to follow the formula of the plot. There's a simple premise (kill the enemies) made more promising by the notion of jetpack based dogfights but the game rarely delivers anything as meaty as you anticipate. After 10 minutes with the hoverpack, you've seen all the verticality the game really has to offer and you've still got an hour to go.
 Nothing in the game is quite as cool as this.
After 10 minutes with the jetpack, you've seen all the UFO hijacking the game really has to offer and you've still got 2 hours to go.
The same applies to escort missions, excessive war sequences and mysterious cutscenes.
It would be possible, even easy to get over these issues if the flying felt fluid but it really doesn't. The brief abili-tease prologue at the beginning feels impossible to play and I'm sure that it ends after you've spent 'x' amount of time just hovering, rather than once you've completed whichever objective you've been assigned. You'll eventually get a handle on the mechanics of flying and fighting but it never really feels like you've in control, more that you've issues a command and that you hope that the game will interpret it the right way. At no point is this feeling of helplessness more apparent than when the game forces you to fly in tight and confined spaces, which it does all too often.
The game also has a substantial amount of shooting but right from the beginning, you can tell that this was never a focus in the games development. The aiming feels a little too loose and the sound of the guns is too light, with no power to them, It feels very much as if the sound effects for the guns were taken from a clip library.
The game doesn't look especialy nice...there's significant frame rate issues and a number of texture popping instances. The environments, although grand in scope feel washed over and thrown together. Animation tends to look consistently janky, except for when Will takes off from the ground wearing the jetpack at which point his arms and legs take on a really cool ragdoll asthetic.
The game doesn't look great but you can see the strength of the concept art leaking through. Will in his jetpack-suit looks like an astronaut in Iron Man-esque gear and despite the awkwardly textured environments, most have a grandiose feel to them that implies that with the right time, team or technology they could have been somewhat breathtaking. It's only more of a shame when you realise that Will is voiced by Mr Nolan 'Nathan Drake' North. He has the right tone and sound going but is nowhere near as invigorating as you'd want and expect him to be. In a sense then, he puts in a performance entirely suitable for Dark Void. Something that could have been so much more than it actually is.

Other reviews for Dark Void (Xbox 360)

    Avoid!!! 0

     The start of the year has had an unusually large number of big titles. Bayonetta, Army of Two II, and Darksiders have all hit. Now, we have Dark Void, Capcom's vertical-based 3rd person shooter. And an airborne combat game largely designed by many of the people behind Crimson Skies --- how in the world could this NOT end up awesome?Well, Capcom pulled it off. With aplomb. You play William Gray, an arrogant WW II pilot who is sent to an alternate dimension to fight off an alien race known...

    9 out of 9 found this review helpful.

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