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Xbox 360 Game Review

Dark Sector


Format: Xbox 360
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 04 April 2008

Take on the role of Hayden Tenno, an elite black-ops agent sent on a dangerous mission into a decaying Eastern European city that hides a deadly Cold War secret. Attacked by an unknown enemy, Tenno awakens to find part of his body altered by an infection that has granted him inhuman abilities. Now he must learn to evolve along with his powers, to survive and to become a hero...

Dark Sector opens with our hero, black-ops agent Hayden Tenno, on a mission set during the Cold War. This opening level allows the gamer to get to grips with the main controls and features. Then once your objective is completed, which in itself is an interesting twist on how these games usually play out - redefining the idea of a hero - you slowly start into the game proper.

After being exposed to a failed Cold War experiment, your character physically evolves specialised superpowers that become more lethal and sophisticated as you progress through the game.

Unlike other games in this genre there are no health metres, countdown of the remaining ammo or maps plastered all over the screen. You can tell when your health is starting to get low because your heartbeat is clearly audible when you are close to death; the number of bullets left in each weapon is displayed when you examine the gun; and you don't really need a map as there's not really much exploring to do.

You are equipped with a standard pistol (more weapons are available as you move through the game) and a Glaive (a three bladed weapon that grows out of your infected arm). This can be used in hand-to-hand combat or you can throw it at your enemy. As you progress through the game you can upgrade your abilities and are able to steer the Glaive as well as use elements like fire and electricity from your surroundings to provide more of a devastating attack.

Once you kill your enemy you can use their weapons, however the firearms have been encoded so that they short out after a very brief period of time - can't have none humans using military firearms now can we? But you can buy additional weapons from the Black Market (which is easy to access anytime you come across a manhole cover. While here you can also buy upgrades for the weapons you already own or access any weapons in storage.

Dark Sector comes with a lot of baggage. This eagerly anticipated game has already been banned in Australia, and the German classification board refused to give it a rating - the result being that the game will not be released in Germany either.

To be honest, I really don't see what the fuss is all about. Sure it's violent, but there's nothing here that most seasoned gamers won't have seen a million times before, so I'm a little confused as to why this game has been picked out for such harsh treatment.

While the graphics look great and the computer's AI is pretty engaging, I did have a few issues with some of the controls. Hiding behind objects is not always easy and you may find yourself doing a roll, instead of crouching, in the heat of battle. I also found it frustrating that you had to keep repeating segments because you are overrun with enemies. There's no real skill, because the same enemies come at you again from the same places when you restart a level, so it's just a case of remembering where they all are. Sadly though, this soon starts to get irritating.

It's the annoying stop and start nature of the game, and the lack of different enemies and environments, that means this game just misses out on being an essential purchase for your collection. While the end result is fun and engaging, there are much better games out there that I'd spend £40 on.


Darren Rea

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