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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dark Sector Review Sony PS3

Sony PS3 Dark Sector Online Impressions

Dark Sector's visuals are a technical marvel. The environments look quite detailed, and even if it's not quite an Uncharted or a Gears, it's a damned pretty game. The outdoor ambience goes a long way in establishing the post-plague dread that has engulfed the city that Hayden's traversing. The visual splendor comes at a cost, though. For the most part, many of the character models are fairly generic-looking, from the mutated freaks that Hayden fights to the soldiers that he carves through. Although the Guyver-like villain Nemesis has a well-polished look, other NPCs aren't particularly exciting, particularly after you've sliced through two hundred of them.

From a technical standpoint, the game's pretty much identical for both 360 and PS3, save for some differences in button mapping and the ability to use the Sixaxis/DualShock 3 to control Aftertouch. Both titles have an awards system, so PS3 owners won't feel too left out. If you're a PS3 owner, rumble truly enhances the game in subtle ways; it's worth playing on a DualShock 3. Note that the PS3 version also requires a brief installation and update once you pop the game in.

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Dark Sector's other standout feature is its visuals -- don't look for lots of physics or background movement, but the trade-off is some of the nicest-looking textures in any game. A big part of the comparison to Gears of War is the cover-based shooter combat, but an equally substantial part is the best-in-class visuals. That is, "best-in-class" assuming you're viewing the game with a technical eye. On the artistic side, Dark Sector is nothing special, with lots of gray and brown environments, enemies that feel like 20 you've seen in other games, etc. It doesn't look bad (the tech powers it through), but it plays it safe. Sci-fi weapons, monsters that look like robots and zombies -- you've seen this before.

Along the way, you fight through waves of enemies and occasionally come across a boss fight or a puzzle that requires you to throw the Glaive into something to charge it up and then throw it into something else to solve said puzzle. Like many games of this sort, the story takes itself too seriously, but the experience is player-friendly, with auto-regenerating health and no unnatural difficulty spikes or weird checkpoints. Apart from a few issues with bosses not telegraphing their weak points (and because they don't have health bars, you can't tell if you're inflicting damage), the action is entertaining. It's great how you can mix Glaive attacks with your guns and decide how to take down enemies most effectively.

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