Dark Void: review

  • Format: PS3 (version reviewed), 360, PC
  • Unleashed: Out now
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Air Tight Games
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://www.darkvoidgame.com/

Okay, hands up who remembers the film The Rocketeer? What! Just one of you? Well, it was about a test-pilot in 1938 that comes across a jet-pack and starts zipping around the place like Superman. Our tea boy remembers it and has been waiting half his life for a game to be released that allows him to live out his fantasy of being that guy with a jet-pack. He need wait no longer. Dark Void is set in exactly the same year, though comes up with a good excuse to include UFOs and a bunch of aliens to blast at. What other way could someone from 1938 find aliens to shoot at other than the Bermuda Triangle? We can’t think of any other way, which is fine because that’s exactly what happens.

DV1Sucked into a world surviving parallel to our own, our hero Will must strap on a jet-pack and get into the thick of it. It all happens fairly abruptly after the short opening introductions, and before you know it you’re shooting at crazy robots that look like they were sacked from the set of I Robot. Which we might just add have a little secret; ever heard of Earthworm Jim? Never mind.


The robot god of hoovers must be obeyed!

Dark Void borrows a lot of ideas from odd places and tries to squish them together like you would custard and pasta if you were on Come Dine With Me, yet given the sci-fi setting it does kind of work. Generally because we all know that in the world of sci-fi, there are no rules. Anything can happen and for the most part, anything does. Our man Will seems to be fine with it all, which is strange for a guy from 1938 who has never even seen a laser rifle – never mind used one – but seems to be a crack shot with his new found equipment. For the first hour (roughly) you only have the kindergarten jet-pack, which gives you an exaggerated jump and allows you to hover. After that you suddenly find the one and only beefed up version of your previous pack, which is handy. This can be modified later in the game as you collect the familiar ‘money orbs’ that can be traded for upgraded weapons, but these are best saved for upgrading the jet-pack. Aerial combat is fluid and fun enough that you’ll find yourself buzzing around the skies dropping bad guys like a mental mosquito with guns. The controls are tight and responsive enough that you’ll discover confidence in doing crazy stuff comes quite naturally. The ability to hijack other flying craft is another fun thing to do. If you feel personally offended at the guy who you just can’t shake in a conventional way, then land on his ship and rip off some bits, smash in his head and take control of his craft, all in the air.


It's just like cracking an egg

We have to mention the variety of the bad guys too. Aside from the UFOs that litter the sky there are others worthy of mention, namely the Archeons. These are like big metal doggies with obvious ‘kick me’ signs on their leg joints. Not so much of a challenge, but fun to take down in a Shadow of the Colossus kind of way where you can land on them and start to manually sabotage them; they’ll try and shake you off while you cling on, then rinse and repeat till they explode. Then there are the Knights; big hulking floaty robots that’ll give you a run for your ammo’s worth. Which can be a problem we noticed. Ammo, for the most part, is only replenished when you kill another enemy and pick up what he drops. The problem here is that unless an enemy is carrying the same gun as you, you can’t stock back up on the bullets you just spent killing him. In one way this makes ground combat more of a strategic affair, but on the other hand you’ll find yourself running from cover to cover just to get close enough to pull off a melee attack because you have nothing to shoot with. Good luck with that when the flying robots enter the fray.


HA! You are no match for my, um, rifle!

The trouble we had with Dark Void was the way it’s segmented into chapters. Not that this is a bad thing, but it means that you’ll always be going into aerial combat full on and will have next to no time to enjoy the freedom of flying the jet-pack around at your leisure. Play areas are often quite cavernous, not too dissimilar to a Warhawk map. This is great for the context of the game, but makes each area so similar in appearance we found ourselves longing for just one small settlement area on a large landmass to zip around and land/take off from. See, going from aerial combat to ground combat is done so fluidly that there should be a lot more opportunities to utilise your unique abilities. While these situations do present themselves, we can’t help but feel there could have been more. Having said that the levels can be tackled any way you see fit; but it’s the environment that commands your play style, rather than whether you have these abilities or not. It also has to be mentioned that Dark Void will take you nearly no time to complete (around five to six hours maximum) so don’t expect this to eat your life.


An Archeon, AKA Sitting Duck

This has the makings of a great game, but what we get is a short, stifled affair that makes you wonder where the rest of the game is. As mentioned above, the controls are fine, the whole thing runs smoothly but there’s just not enough! The storyline is a bit cheesy, and the characters are quite bland; but the gameplay is solid enough that this should be a winner. Sadly though, there seems to be a void in its essence somehow.


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Written by R.Furie

Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He's what we now refer to as "Old Skool" because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he's sure VR can't be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

One comment

  1. Oni-Samurai /

    I remember the Rocketeer! That was a great movie.
    I only played the demo of this game and I know you shouldn’t judge a game by its demo, but it did horrendously suck – which didn’t surprise me as all the videos and previews all showed a dull & drab game.

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