Darkest of Days Review (PC)
Find out if you should take part in the darkest days of human history
Darkest of Days is a first-person shooter video game developed by 8monkey Labs and published by Phantom EFX. It was released in North America and Europe on September 8, 2009 for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox 360. This was the first major retail title for Phantom EFX and the brand new Marmoset that was designed by 8monkey Labs. The game introduces the player to an alternate reality, where humans have perfected time travel and are now attempting to alter the past in their favour, while others try to preserve it. Due to this setup, the game features many history-altering conditions, from future technology appearing in the past to completely out-of-place events and characters. Needless to say, for me the game failed to create a particularly immersive world, as you are constantly thrown between the future and the past, with neither perfecting the little details to make you feel engaged. Still, the gunplay and historical accuracy will likely attract some curious players, while the sci-fi twist will add some interest to the appropriate audience. The game is not very long, the story takes a while to get going, and there is no multiplayer, so I would definitely recommend trying the demo before deciding on the purchase.
In Darkest of Days, you are Alexander Morris, a soldier fighting in General Custer's army during the Battle of Little Big Horn. After Custer is killed and you are mortally wounded, a portal suddenly appears and you are taken away by a man wearing futuristic armour. You awaken in the headquarters of KronoteK, an organization that has managed to develop time travel technology and are apparently dedicated to researching and protecting history. The KronoteK boss, known as "Mother", tells you that the organization's founder has gone missing and disturbances have started appearing through history, causing individuals that have played key roles in history to be placed in danger. You are then given the obvious task of helping KronoteK restore history. This is all fine and dandy, but I felt that being a mute main character never gives you the chance to see how a person would react when he is suddenly in the future and has to take orders from a pair of women’s eyes on a large screen. For the sake of the game, you go along with the setup, but this kind of “Ok, I guess…. I’ll go with that…” feeling will come back again and again through the main story. It’s an inconvenient distraction that’s caused by some poor choices in story telling. For example, after you are rescued, pass the modern weapons training and assumingly agree to help save Cpl. Welsh from the Union Army in the American Civil War, you are still not told exactly why you were chosen. It isn’t until the 5th mission in the game that you get a choice to hear what your own motivation is. Apparently, there are many people who have gone missing during armed conflicts and are simply never accounted for. These people make great agents for KronoteK because the history will not miss them, and they are free to travel to any time period they wish. You don’t have much choice either, because should you refuse to help Mother, you will simply be sent back to your time period – which means death is again only minutes away. But as I mentioned, you are not told any of this until a few missions into the game, and the explanation is easily missed if you do not choose to talk to your sidekick before starting the next mission. So for the first few battles, I found myself very puzzled as to why I was even chosen to be saved and why I should care about the conflict around me.
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