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Platform: PC

Dark Sector Review

Dark Sector starts poorly but gradually improves and becomes rather enjoyable thanks to the glaive.

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As you progress you can use the glaive to take on additional elemental charge, be it electrical, fire or ice based for a short time from the environment. Charging the glaive gives it more damaging power and area explosion effects on contact, many of the charging points for electrical and ice attacks are limited in that you will only have a brief time before the charges dissipate and you are back to your normal glaive. Sometimes the sources will also expire after use further limiting your attacks to quick bursts or forcing you to use it efficiently rather than spamming it. It’s quite enjoyable to charge the glaive with these attacks and watch as enemies writhe in flames or freeze to the ground. The effects aren’t just for show either, the fire will take care of several zombie opponents causing them to catch fire then explode possibly lighting up nearby zombies. The charges are also used in the sporadic puzzles; you can use electric charges to start elevators or open door locks. Ice can be used to clear areas blocked by fires and fire can be used to burn through the black caustic sludge that covers some doorways. In one situation you use the fire to light a series of circular torches in order to burn open a door entrance that is unreachable without these torches. You may need to use a combination of the glaives powers, such as controlling the glaive manually to get to places you cannot run to before your charge dies out. The puzzles are a nice addition; they break up the gameplay and they offer a different challenge. While the glaive is the most used and best weapon in the game it’s not the only method of combat.

Along with the glaive you can also obtain weapons from your foes which are disabled shortly after use or get new ones via black market sewer systems which initially seem fairly costly considering the low ammo and general weakness of them. They are a nice backup source but the enjoyment and power you get from the glaive ensure you are using it for most of the game. In addition to these weapons you take on additional upgrades, you will pick up cases at regular intervals that increase damage or clip capacity; basically they just make you stronger as they place stronger enemies in front of you. Certain upgrades can also be purchased in the black market store which is sadly fairly poorly implemented. You will also be able to engage a shield that reflects attacks for a short time towards the direction you are facing. You can use this as quick cover should you be near death or you can use it offensively if there is sufficient firepower and you are relatively close to enemies. Much later you acquire a cloak that hides you from enemies for a short time allowing you to get behind them and slam a glaive into their jaw if you so desire. Along with the standard human and zombie like enemies you get to fight larger and trickier bosses.

These boss segments are fairly well realised with a good mixture of action and thinking required to proceed. They are not terribly hard and are generally fairly self explanatory via examples in how you deal with finding the weak spot or the power required to defeat the boss before you progress. The examples might simply be related to the location of the fight or the sequence the boss attacks in. The bosses do a lot of damage, in particular one later in the game does some instant kills which can be a little frustrating when you first come across it given the step up from normal combat but once you learn the moves the attacks are fairly easy to avoid. A few short sequences also feature vehicle control, although nothing amazing they serve their purpose to change the game pace. They involve a short section where you can unleash some larger firepower on some helpless foes without worrying about getting behind cover although you do have to release countermeasures to protect yourself from missiles. In between these combat and boss sections are fights against power armoured enemies, these guys will slow your progress as the weapons they hold can drain your health quickly. So with these differing combat elements there is a little bit of extra variety than you might have expected.

It’s interesting to see how Dark Sector almost completely redeems its own horrid start and manages to become a fairly enjoyable action title by game end. There are no gameplay sections that seem abnormally long and there is little reuse of puzzle ideas unless they are the very basic ones. Even still the puzzles that do repeat might add a tiny extra detail that adds a level of difficulty over the last puzzle you completed using the same technique. Dark Sector won’t offer a big payout if you are enthralled with the story, many may in fact ask what story. It will also not outstay its welcome with senseless repetition, even including certain sections that are locked off requiring you to defeat enemies before continuing. Perhaps more could even be done with the existing glaive powers for the interesting puzzles although the actual puzzle to action ratio seemed fairly well balanced. While the game has plenty of room for improvement Dark Sector still offers an attractive option for a third person action fans at a reasonable price range.
Our ratings for Dark Sector on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
It looks ok, some of the effects are nice. The environment is a bit bland and lacks variety, cutscenes early are poor and it does have that generic feel.
The glaive almost nails the gameplay, especially later in the game when you can charge the glaive with all elemental effects and use it against zombie like creatures. It's a shame the AI is occasionally terrible.
Single Player
The story is fairly generic, tries too hard for it's own good at times and comes off worse than it could have been. The shoddy cutscenes don't help the situation.
Only LAN
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Athlon AM2 5600+ @ 2.9GHz
GPU: Powercolor Radeon x2900xt 512MB
OS: Windows Vista 32-bit
PC Specs

Runs fairly well, nothing amazing going on graphically though. No major bugs to be seen aside from some sound level issues in cutscenes.
Without the glaive Dark Sector would be in a sad state, but the glaive freshens it up and takes the game to much higher places. Ultimately a fun third person action game.
Dark Sector
Dark Sector box art Platform:
Our Review of Dark Sector
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Dark Sector is ranked #1003 out of 1988 total reviewed games. It is ranked #51 out of 63 games reviewed in 2009.
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1003. Dark Sector
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Dark Sector
11 images added Aug 8, 2009 16:11
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