Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

AD15- Just Lie Rhett

Well, we know that effectively lying or “embellishing relevant details” isn't a skill Rhett picked up from the Sins. You saved the very fabric of the Universe, and your own skin, from being destroyed! Play that up over the repeated being eatens, getting knocked around by Virtue and monsters alike, the busted arm, and the shameful things Lust did at Greed's temple. Or just ground Addison. It's not like she has a TV you can take away, but it's either time in the corner or you pay Slander to hide up the bed.


Long, Can't even be saved by a damn jetpack Review: Dark Void- To get a good feel for how DV works, the game spends two hours building up to a story point that you'd learn if you read the back of the box or the very first tip that appears on the very first loading screen. There are some good ideas locked away here but they're all buried under incompetent direction and design decisions. The story lurches forward and at times it feels like the game is missing some cutscenes. You'll be going through one area and then you're suddenly somewhere else, talking to different characters, or people are behaving differently than before. You go from not trusting one guy to him being your sidekick buddy with absolutely nothing in between and no explanation for it. Major plot points are waved away and the ending resolves nothing. It even just starts wholesale ripping off the Matrix at the end. Now, the story does show promise every now and then but the game never embraces it. You can't just toss out "God was an evil alien bent on enslaving the human race" and then never mention it again for the rest of the game. If you're going to go crazy, you have to go full out crazy. None of the characters are likeable. The main character is just a dick for no reason and the more you play the game, the more unlikable he becomes. He starts off as a smarmy, generic action hero and winds up an ass. Everything about him. His voice, his dialogue, his looks. He's the kind of guy you want to throw a cup of soda at, not the guy you want to root for. The game itself isn't even fun to play. Every weapon is so weak, even your melee attack takes three hits to kill the first enemy in the game. You can't go five minutes without running into another shootout with more enemies than a re really necessary or enjoyable to fight. There's no point in using anything but the default alien weapon. There isn't much ammo for anything else and all the good weapons have such low capacity so you don't use them unless you run out on your default one. The grenade launcher only holds 9 shots but it takes 3 hits to kill the generic grunt robots. It takes too long to upgrade weapons, so the bigger weapons may get better if you max them out, but you won't find out unless you hate yourself enough for multiple playthroughs. At the end of the game, I only managed to completely upgrade the jetpack and one weapon out of six. Finding one of the hidden caches of upgrade points will give you 500 points, while it takes over 10,000 points to upgrade some weapons. That's not even worth the time it takes to pick them up if you can find them. The crux of the game is the jetpack, but the design does almost nothing to play it up and you can't do anything fun with it. It only gets you from point A to point B. You can't use cover while hovering so trying to fly during battles just gets you killed in a matter of seconds and the dogfights are slow, poorly controlled, and boring. The pack doesn't have any sense of speed and it controls horribly so you wind up never using it unless you have to travel a long distance. I imagined using the pack to burst between enemies in melee combat, perform high speed tackles, burn enemies with the jets, set things on fire as you blast by them, a jetpack powered ground slam, ANYTHING. The game damage indicator doesn't give you information on the Y-axis and enemies frequently attack from above or below, so just finding what is shooting at you can be incredibly difficult. Enemies can attack you from out of your range of view and they have nigh-perfect accuracy no matter how far away you are. So while the game tells you that something in front of you is shooting, that could mean an enemy hiding behind a rock across a pit is shooting at you, an enemy at the bottom of the canyon, or an enemy high above you firing down from a structure are all likely candidates. The camera is way too close, so despite having a jetpack, platforming and moving around the environment are very difficult. The levels are very cluttered so there are plenty of places for the camera to get stuck and or conceal enemies, even when they aren't cowering and taking pot shots from behind a box. Even though the game does nothing special or new, it's still buggy and unfinished. It crashed on me at the very end of a battle that was over ten minutes long so I had to do it all over again and there were several other hangs and freezes that felt like they only just avoided being full crashes. It also has sound problems a plenty. Character dialogue will load three times and overlap in a cacophony of stuttering yelling, so you can have to turn on subtitles to find out what anybody is saying. It's not a rare occurrence either. Over 1/4 of the time dialogue plays, it will do this, so there's no way that this wasn't discovered in testing. Quick Time Events rear their ugly heads for regular enemies and bosses alike, with several of them being the “miss one input and you die” variety. There's an escort mission that, no hyperbole, is 30 minutes long. Half an hour babysitting the slowest airship in existence, swatting away hordes of enemy ships aided by your braindead AI partners that are more likely to slam into a wall than fire at the bad guys. Just some minor annoyances to round out all the gripes too. You open doors or deactivate enemy shields by destroying a computer or smashing a console. What's the logic behind that? What kind of crappy system are the highly advanced super aliens running where breaking the keypad will open a locked door? If I bash the card reader at the parking garage, the gates don't swing open. They stay closed and now I can't get in even if I have my key card. Finally just on the story, why is nobody freaking out over aliens, robots, and Nikola Tesla doling out jetpacks? The game takes place at the start of World War 2 and the Joe Schmoe protagonist doesn't so much as remark on his jetpack, flying saucers, aliens, alien warships, super computers, flying bases, laser weapons, and on and on as being even remotely out of the ordinary. He could at least have had the decency to spend five minutes freaking out about the bat crap crazy stuff going on around him or collapsing into the fetal position and needing to be talked out of it. Your reward for putting up with all of this? The game just... ends. There's no conclusion to any elements of the story or characters, almost nothing gets explained, and it's not even so much that the door is left wide open for a sequel as it is that the giant mountain-sized gate is left open for the second half of the game. Every part of it feels like they realized it just wasn't a good game and instead of bothering to do anything about that, it was just wrapped up, they chose an arbitrary end point, and shipped it. Really, the only nice thing I can say about the game is that the music is awesome. Granted, part of that is just because the "dramatic" music totally reminds me of the "spooky" music from Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters is awesome. If anybody knows whether there's a Ghostbusters soundtrack that has the background and ancillary music instead of the pop music on the official soundtrack, please let me know.
Sins Committed: Bad controls, Bad camera, Bad story, Bad characters, Bad dialogue, Nonending ending, QTEs
Virtues Acted: Good music, Tesla, baby, Tesla