Dark Sector Impressions

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I had about 15 minutes to play around with D3 Publisher's Dark Sector today and while I loved having the ability to arbitrarily and capriciously lop off limbs and heads with a Krull-like throwing blade, the shaky controls and spastic graphics just killed the game for me.

When not in motion, or under any taxing special effects, the graphics aren't really that bad. In fact, I initially kind of liked the look of the game. But once I started taking fire and jumping stuff, things nose-dived. In one scene I dropped down from a ledge, at the request of the game, and the animation showed my character float out off the ledge and then drop straight down, his legs never really bending. When explosions hit near the character the entire screen turns red, I don't mean like a red tint or a blood effect, I mean an ugly red that blanks out the entire screen. Even if I was willing to put the graphic issues aside, the aiming also left me pretty cold. I actually spent a bulk of my time trying to figure out exactly what I didn't like about the aiming. The problem was that the aiming felt greased, like if you pushed too hard in one direction the reticle would zip past your target. And it wasn't just a sensitivity issue. It just felt off. I found that the best way to play was to move reticle to my target, let go of the thumbstick, and then press fire in bursts. This typically worked, but really sucked for fluid play.

The game's one salvation was that damn cool throwing knife. Not only did it have a much, much larger targeting area, but when you hit someone it slid through the target like a hot knife through butter. Initially the target just sort of slumps, but as their lifeless body hits the ground whatever you popped sort of falls off, like a leg or an arm. The resulting real-world physics and jets of arterial blood almost made up for everything else.. almost.


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