In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Dark Sector

Moby ID: 34994
Xbox 360 Specs
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Description official description

Dark Sector is an action game, in which the player assumes the role of Hayden Tenno, an elite black-ops agent, sent into Lasria, a small USSR country, tasked with the objective of destroying a virus that turns people into mutants and eliminating it's creator, Mezner.

Upon finding Mezner, Hayden is infected with the virus himself, mutating his right arm, which in turn gives him certain abilities, like turning invisible, creating shields and most importantly the ability to use the glaive, a special knife-like weapon that Hayden can use both in melee and ranged combat.

Next to the powers the infection grants him, Hayden can also use firearms, like shotguns or pistols, which can be taken from enemies or bought from the Black Market, and can also be modified.

Multiplayer has two different modes: Infection, where one players assumes the role of a fully mutated Hayden and the others hunt him down as ordinary soldiers and Epidemic, where two teams, each with their own Hayden, try to kill the other's mutant.

Spellings

  • ダークセクター - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

171 People (139 developers, 32 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 73% (based on 97 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 1 reviews)

Dark Sector isn’t all that original, but oozes style & makes for great diverting entertainment

The Good
I have to say first up. I am really glad Dark Sector found its way back home onto the PC.

After having seen the game doing the rounds on the console circuits it really grabbed me as something that I could really get my teeth into. I’m sure you all know the game was in development limbo for around ten years. So the game went through many changes & revisions over the years. But I guess the only thing that is really important -“Is Dark Sector basically a fun game to play?” Thankfully, the answer is resoundingly a big “YES!”

At its heart Dark Sector felt to me much like a classic arcade action game. The visuals are very slick & well presented, the gameplay well ordered into phases of orthodox action and completed with the obligatory frenetic end-of-level Guardian battles.

The antihero of the game, Hayden Tenno, is really a paper thin character. I did only just say before this was like an arcade game after all. Here we have a Special-Forces covert operative who has to undertake an assassination mission of the upmost importance in a soviet place called Lasria, which is suspected of being swept by some new arcane plague. The mission is successful, but then he gets more than he bargained for when an unforseen event sees him infected by the strange mutagenic virus. Instead of turning into an insane monster like the rest, Hayden has a strange resistivity to the virus, etc., etc. Needless to say, you will likely be two steps ahead of the plot the whole way. This isn’t to say the story is poorly told, far from it in fact. The movie sequences are really nice to watch, few-ish as they might be. The character’s facial expressions & gestures provided by the excellent proprietary engine technology, married with some top voice-acting, makes these enjoyable & entertaining to watch. Phew.

Something I want to clear up right now before I go on is that I feel this game doesn’t have much in common with Gears of War. I say this because before I played it, I came across several forums around the net with people often saying “oh cool, this is just like GoW”. I personally found the games to have very little in common. Yes, the technology is similar - both games being based around Unreal tech, and some of the basic actions that can be performed are the same, um, you can run and take cover. That not withstanding, the pace & style of action for Dark Sector is really tuned to a different set of rules that is to me a far cry from the somewhat tight tactical leanings of GoW. This is by no means a bad thing, and I say this with absolutely no disrespect to Epic’s quintessential action game. I simply wanted to point out the distinction.

The basic concept for Dark Sector is kind of like this - Have you ever watched the Predator movie, and pondered to yourself - wouldn’t it be really cool for a game to have something like that lethal bladed weapon the Predator uses that flies around like a frisbee effortlessly chopping people into shish kebabs. Well, if you ever have, then Dark Sector has been tailored made just for you. Oh, and for anyone thinking to themselves that it has already been done with the Alien Vs Predator games, then you are sort of right - but this game dose it even better.

When the game begins, you play out that little mission I described earlier on. At this point you are armed with a pistol, and you run around shooting it out with guys in hazmat suits. This part of the game is kind of just a prelude, where you get to familiarise yourself with the basics of the game. It is not long after before you get infected, and then the fun really starts. After a surrealistic stagger around a dockyard, you find yourself haled up in a little radio cabin, when two soldiers find you with plans of putting an end to your existence, when a three bladed weapon (called the Glaive) emerges from Hayden’s hand like an instinctive reaction, and he proceeds to decapitate one of them in a bloody flourish with the new symbiotic alien extension of himself. Okay, so this is a gory violent game without dispute. Whether or not you will like it largely depends on personal taste, but I think anyone who plays a lot of action games would most likely be used to this kind of stuff by now.

The way in which you dispatch the enemies and move from one point to the next are what makes’ Dark Sector entertaining. The gunplay is still there, but mostly takes a backseat to the versatile glaive - so the basics of it are in the beginning it works simply by throwing it in a straight line and it comes back to you - simple uses for it can by like opening chain locked fences and ammo caches. Of course, chopping off enemies extremities with over-the-top Monty Python style blood spurts are all part of the wickedly dark fun. Things get even more interesting when you gain the ‘aftertouch’ ability - where now when you throw the glaive, the game goes into slow motion, and you can guide it around corners and into out of reach places - this couldn’t be any more intuitive than with the old faithful mouse. The combat possibilities go without saying, but this also brings a rise too simple yet nicely diverting puzzle elements to break up the action - like for example unlocking a gate by hilting a remote switch using the great reach of the glaive. Other instances are like when encountering this thick black gelatinous alien webbing stuff which occasionally obstructs your way - by modifying the glaive with fire you can break through. At times there are timed puzzles that need full use of your abilities which can be challenging and require good dexterity, but these are never so taxing to cause frustration. The same can mostly be said for the numerous Guardian battles in the game. It is just a matter of figuring out how to use what is at your disposal and then the rest falls into place. It’s also handy that you always get a checkpoint before going into one as well.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the standard HUD for displaying health has been abolished for a more stylised approach. Where instead here Hayden’s general well-being is indicated simply from his physical visualisation, e.g. if he is beaten to a pulp it will show on his model and if the screen starts flashing red this means you have to find some cover quickly in order to recuperate or else it’ll be lights-out. In all essence it is the second wind principle used in EA’s shooter BLACK - where as you could be shot directly with a missile launcher but you wouldn’t die instantly. Hayden may have a thicker-than- normal-hide, but still has to be on the defensive to survive.

Overall, this game really plays fast, smooth and deadly. The graphics are incredibly slick and detailed. The environments are completely cliche and Atypical of a game like this - but who cares when it looks this good. Thanks to an astounding artistic effort, the game world comes to life with the gritty details of urban decay. The textures in particular, are intense. Every time you swivel your virtual head, there is more to “wow” about - flat walls become captivating with cool propaganda posters and graffiti. Often as well there is gooey alien tubes & stuff growing around the place like vines. It doesn’t just look great. It sounds fantastic as well - Like for example creeping around docks hearing the creeks of the old wooden boards, the somewhat pacifying pitter-patter of rain, buzzing power generators, and that distinctive flapping sound of gusting wind. It all makes for welcome, solid additions to the simulation.

The Bad
- The game is a bit on the easy side, particularly if you fancy yourself a bit of a veteran. The AI isn’t terrible, but like the majority of its ilk it leaves a lot to be desired in truth. Self preservation doesn’t seem on top of the enemies concerns as they pop out from hiding exposing themselves for you to briskly take them out in short order most of the time. The developers make claims of “the enemies intelligently working together as a team to foil you” not that I ever noticed. I’m not saying it is a breeze by any means, you still have to be cautious & defensive, and there are definitely some intense sweaty-palm-inducing boss battles - particularly in the later stages. It’s just that it is not one of the tougher action games doing the rounds these days. It could have been more intense.

  • Like its older brother Pariah, Dark Sector offers a weapon upgrade system. So at certain points in the game you can buy extended clips, better accuracy etc. This is all well and good, and not necessarily a bad thing per say, but it never really felt like an important aspect of the game like it is in Pariah - for the simple fact the Glaive offers such a powerful alternative. It’s not entirely redundant, just not such a big factor of the game.

  • Yes, it’s a given that the game succumbed to the chic of popular cliches. I won’t tire you by listing them . .

    The Bottom Line
    Dark Sector still very much succeeded for me mostly because of its novel plot device. By that I mean how the protagonist changes & evolves at unexpected moments. The light puzzle solving involving the somewhat multifarious glaive nicely breaks up the action, but also for how the new abilities’ spice-up the action itself. As a result, it makes for a simple, yet solid highly entertaining action game with a decidedly arcade-panache approach to the tour-de-force of blood letting of which I personally found hard to resist.

Windows · by Nick Drew (397) · 2009

Trivia

Australian version

In Australia, Dark Sector was originally rejected by the OFLC in that country. However, a crippled version was later rated MA15+ and featured no decapitation and "toned down ... limb severing on humans [only]". It was based on the Japanese build.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Spenot.

Windows added by Klaster_1.

Additional contributors: Katakis | カタキス, Jeanne, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Zhuzha.

Game added July 8, 2008. Last modified June 1, 2024.