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Such Potential in Dark Void for the XBOX 360 - A review
When you think of Capcom, you think of some of the greatest video games, both in previous eras of gaming and today, but with Dark Void, the storied game developer comes up a bit short.
The game truly feels like it could have been really special if not for a few flaws in gameplay as well as a total lack of game modes and options. The graphics and storyline, are OK, but ultimately too pedestrian to save the game.
While there are some redeeming qualities, the game isn't worth $60, but is definitely worth a rental if you're looking to fill a weekend.
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The gameplay of this sci fi/action game (which borrows a great deal of its plot from other sci fi franchises, i.e. The Matrix, Stargate, etc.) is broken up into two main categories: Your average, by the books, terrestrial 3rd person shooter, and the aerial combat where your character utilizes a jet pack or commandeers an ally or enemy ship.
The game starts as a basic run and gun and the first few levels go by quickly, then the flying component is added as is the difficulty. While the flying levels are amusing, the controls take some getting used to and lifting off must be done with great care. From a control standpoint, the most irritating aspect is that in regards to flying, you have to press the same button twice in order to initiate flight. Once to bring up a screen prompt confirmation, and again to actually begin flight. Not a major issue, unless you're in a hurry to get out of a tight situation.
The game also heavily features onscreen button sequences in boss battles and whenever you're taking down/control of a large vehicle. It gets hackneyed after awhile and its overused in Dark Void.
One addition to the game that is very amusing is the vertical cover option in which you can look above or over a ledge to shoot enemies below. In some levels it can get disorienting depending on whether the objective is to climb or descend, but its still an excellent gameplay addition.
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The campaign mode is amusing, but forgetful, I won't ever have fond memories of playing this game and beating its campaign in a few short hours. Outside of the regular campaign, well that's it. Most of the advertising materials I saw for Dark Void came with the tag line Fly Anywhere. Fight Everywhere. It should read, "Fly Anywhere. Fight Everywhere (except online.)"
Therein lies one of the fundamental flaws of this game:no online component. No Live death matches or co-op campaigns, nada. The combat, though not spectacular, is decent enough to warrant an online component. The aerial combat online alone could prove amusing between several Live users.
With Dark Void, the basic choice in terms of game modes is simply the difficulty of the campaign, and in 2010 where most action/adventure titles such as Halo or Gears of War have lengthy online options, this is unacceptable.
If there is ever a sequel or any updated release, Capcom must make it a priority to have some online gameplay, though I don't know by then how many gamers would actually be interested.
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The graphics in the game are decent, but not overwhelmingly impressive. There are older games on the XBOX 360 that assuredly look better, such as Gears of War 2 and Halo 3. That's not to say the graphics are horrible, in particular the environments look clean and polished in high definition.
These graphics especially pop while in flight. For all the flaws of the gameplay and controls of the flying aspect, its where the graphics look the best. While the controls during air combat is somewhat frustrating, the graphics you experience here are almost good enough to redeem the gameplay, but not quite.
Sound of the game is adequate. The voice acting is also decent, although the writing could be better. It's not nearly as bad as the original Resident Evil, but several typical cliches and catchphrases of the action genre make appearances throughout the game.
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Final Thoughts in this review for Dark Void for the XBOX 360
Dark Void could have been the next Capcom classic. Like Resident Evil or Devil May Cry before it, the game could have been the first in an enjoyable series of terrestrial/aerial 3rd person shooters. However, too many flaws in gameplay and lack of a different game modes will render this game as a forgettable title. It is just one of dozens of Halo wannabes which ultimately be forgotten unless Capcom decides to make another one and corrects many of the hindrances of the game.
The combat is basic and enjoyable enough, the storyline seems original (even though is just the patchwork of other successful sci fi/action plots) and you'll have enough fun with the game to warrant a rental or purchase once the game is $20 at your local GameStop in a few weeks or months.
Capcom could also decide to try and improve the current game through patches or other online updates to add more content, but who knows if they even feel Dark Void is worthy of further releases (aside from the 8-bit styled 'prequel' available for download on the Nintendo DSi.)
Bottom line, unless you have absolutely nothing else to play, its worth the five bucks rent, but aside from that, let this one go by for now.