Not quite the Dark Void i thought it was
When I was younger my parents brought me too watch The Rocketman at the local cinema and from that day on it has been my dream to take to the skies free as a bird unencumbered by such trappings as wings or a cockpit, I can only imagine then that somebody at Airtight Games has had the same dream because their first foray into video games gives us just that.
Dark void tells the tale of Will, a cargo pilot who is tasked with transporting some goods across the Bermuda triangle and subsequently gets pulled into another world know as the void wherein he becomes involved with other humans in there never ending struggle against the evil watchers.
The story of the game is possibly one of the worst bits of this game, not because it's bad or even because it isn't delivered well, in fact the voice acting is above average, the problem with the story is that it has too much padding added on. The prologue is like an extended tutorial, gradually putting you through the controls and explaining the story of the world however throughout this time you are without the much touted jetpack, it almost feels like the story is getting in the way of what could be a fantastic game.
The game doesn't give a great first impression, the on foot controls are certainly capable, the game offers a sticky cover system which works fairly well and will be familiar to anyone who has played a third person shooter recently but the small selection of weapons and repetitive enemy classes can't carry the game by themselves, Dark Void's unique twist on this formula is its vertical cover mechanic which allows you to shoot at enemies above or below you while hanging from or over ledges, this leads to some interesting fire fights and a little disorientation.
Once the game gets going you eventually gain full flight and take to the skies to take on the watchers and their hubcap ships and when you're in the air the game really hits its stride, the aerial combat reminds of classic space combat games like Rebel Alliance with the additional freedom of hijacking enemy ships or even controlling the ground based anti air guns, the few levels that are designed around the aerial combat do offer a lot of fun ways to achieve your goal and it's this freedom that really makes you want to replay these sections over and over again, the problem though is that too often the game forces you back to the ground for extended periods of time, while you long to be back in the air.
The graphics in the game are certainly functional, player models are detailed but the game suffers from the same problem as most flight simulators , the environments look stunning from the air but up close the textures become quite blurry taking away from some of the immersion and detracting from the overall presentation once you are back on foot.
Players looking for a challenge should look elsewhere, even on hard you can breeze through this games story campaign in seven to eight hours, very few sections of the game should give you any trouble and with no multiplayer to keep you coming back there is very little lasting playability though in my own experience a few of the flight sections where worth a few revisits.
Dark Void could have been a great game, it certainly has a ton of potential though this has been squandered through a poorly paced story and bad design choices , I would however recommend this as a rental or even look for it in the bargain bin, because it is worth at least a playthrough just to experience the game and see for yourself the great dog fighting.