By Dudacles 14 Comments
I downloaded and tried out the Dark Void demo today. I had heard good things about the game, the premise seemed interesting and the whole jetpack thing cool. However, if the quality of the demo is anything to go by, this game is not good. Not good at all.
My first complaint had already arisen here. I know that this is a demo, but I must still wonder why the devs didn't take the time to at least cut some footage together to let any of this make sense. Dude's just like "RAGE, JETPACK, LET'S GO!!!" They could have at least provided some context. But hey, it's just a demo and maybe they were pressed for time, so I can forgive them.
A larger problem quickly reared its ugly head though: the controls. In order to fly around, you need to hit Y twice (on the 360, at least), at which point you'll leap into the air and buzz off. Pressing Y down gives you a speed boost, pressing A will allow you to hover (and land, because simply flying towards the ground at high speed will kill you), the left stick aims and steers, and the right stick is used to do barrel rolls. Finally, you can lock-on to other dudes with LB.
It does not work well. At all. I quickly got into some dogfights, and while I could track the opponents with the auto-targeting, my dude did not auto-adjust himself to face the target's general direction. Seeing as how the fighters can fly just as quick or quicker than you can turn, you find yourself trying to get them between your crosshairs and failing miserably at it. You can do a one-eighty with a needlessly complicated command (Hold R3 and press the left stick and right stick in opposite directions! I mean, seriously, what the hell?) But that makes the camera do a barrel roll, further disorienting you.
This is probably a force of habit, but I could not get my head around the fact that the left stick turns the character and aims his guns, and that the right stick makes him revolve in the air. In my opinion, aiming should always be on the right stick. Maybe you think that I'm just a noob for thinking so, but the control just didn't feel right to me. The dogfights were absolutely terrible. Perhaps, if I had practiced some more, I would've become more proficient at it and in turn make the dogfights more fun, but when you pull a stunt like saying "Fight everywhere!", make damn sure that the controls are somewhat accessible! You can avoid the pains of chasing other vehicles by flying past them and hitting B, which will initiate a QTE, but it's a dumb one and the same every time, as far as I can tell. In a cool twist, you can take control of the aircraft after taking out the driver, but flying them means facing those same control issues, so it's not much of an improvement.
The demo also featured some ground combat. It too, was not good. It felt like Dark Sector, only far worse and more clunky. The enemies are bland, even more bland than the Geth dudes in Mass Effect. Anyway, I shot my way into the tower, stomped on a control panel, which apparently causes the tower to explode, and flew out of there. Then, a quick cinematic tried to tease, but my desire to play this game has been completely obliterated. The devs better get their act together, or this game will be an incredible flop. The professional reviews already up are also hitting hard, with scores between 50 to 60. No light at the end of the tunnel for Dark Void, I guess.