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Old 08-04-2007, 01:49 PM
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Default Dark Sector Hands-On Preview

Interestingly enough, one of the first games announced for what has come to be the Xbox 360 was Dark Sector. Way back in 2004, the game was announced without much detail, but we have been learning much more about D3 Publisher’s action title being developed by Digital Extremes. The game has come a long way and it’s gone through a number of dramatic changes since it was first conceptualized. We recently had the chance to pick up the controller and play a section of the game to bring you our take on Dark Sector’s combat.

The gameplay of Dark Sector involved a top secret CIA operative named Hayden Tenno. What separates Tenno from the rest of the special ops is his arm which has been mutated in ways that have given him unique abilities that come into play throughout the game. As Hayden progresses through a former state of the Soviet Union, the powers of his arm will increase as they reveal themselves to him and he learns to utilize them. As one might imagine, the fallout from Soviet nuclear explosions has left the state of Lasria highly toxic. This means lots of mutants running lose causing all kinds of trouble that Hayden will have to deal with as he uncovers his own bizarre mutation. Making matters worse a group of militants has their sights set on controlling these nuclear freaks as a sort of army of their own. Hayden will definitely have his hands full as he fights his way through this action packed adventure.

Ready for action!

Helping Tenno slice and dice his way through enemies, a glaive has become available to him as a result of his mutation. This spinning, bladed weapon is quite useful and it actually spawns from Tenno’s arm and can be thrown at enemies much like a boomerang. It can also receive boosts such as being lit on fire or becoming electrified to additional effectiveness during combat. The glaive will also come in handy during sections of the game that play out like mini puzzles so it’s not just for splitting enemies in two.

Dark Sector plays out as a third-person shooter that employs a heavy use of cover tactics similar to the style of Gears of War or Rainbow-Six Vegas. The vantage point of the third-person perspective is quite tight, over the shoulder in the same style of Gears of War’s camera work. There is also an aiming view that will allow for a more precise use of weapons, including the glaive. The glaive will take a bit of time to get used to, and you will more than likely need to learn to lock onto targets before giving it a toss. Otherwise it can be quite tricky trying to hit targets on the fly without taking advantage of the targeting system. One very cool think about the glaive is that since it’s quite a sharp blade, it can actually slice through multiple enemies at a time during its path of movement. This will become a key tactic to master when things heat up and swarms of enemies are closing in on Tenno.
We got the chance to play through a bit of the game during our time with the demo, squaring off against some militants as well as an onslaught of mutated creatures that proved quite a task to eliminate. The soldiers were pretty straight forward and easy enough to handle using Tenno’s gun, but the mutants required a bit more skill and a controlled use of the glaive. In one area there was a small courtyard with a flaming torch in the center. A quick toss of the glaive and the flames lick the blades just enough to ignite them. Now Tenno can not only cut through the enemies, he can set them ablaze as they shriek to their unfortunate deaths. However, watch out as they run around for a few seconds before they die because they could come close enough to catch Tenno on fire as well. As mentioned earlier, the glaive comes in handy in other, non-combat situations such as a section of the demo where a thick outcropping of vines blocked Tenno’s path. Throwing the glaive through the vines quickly cleared them out of the way allowing Tenno to pass.

You might be wondering about the other types of weapons Tenno will come across in the game. Granted there are a lot of high-tec weapons that the militants use and drop once they are taken out of action. However, because of a ultra-cool DNA scanner these weapons employ, they will deactivate a few seconds after Tenno tries to use them. This may seem like an incredible tease by the developers, but fear not as there are a number of black market versions of these weapons with the DNA scanners disabled. In order to acquire these altered versions of the militants’ weapons, Tenno will need to scour up enough cash to purchase them. To help prevent Tenno from wasting hard earned cash on weapons that aren’t very useful, he will need to pay close attention to the few seconds he might have to try out the enemies’ weapons before they disable themselves. This way he can get a quick feel for them before purchasing one from an underground dealer. Keep in mind however, the glaive is still a major part of the gameplay and one that will evolve throughout the course of the game as Tenno uncovers the secrets behind his mutation.

The Outlook

Dark Sector has come along nicely, complete with a visual style of its own that gives it an interesting feel in combination with the dynamic action. Originally slated for release this fall, D3 Publisher has recently announced that the game is now scheduled for first quarter 2008. The extra time should prove beneficial in ensuring that Dark Sector is nicely polished off. We will be continuing to follow the game’s development and we hope to get some more details regarding Dark Sector’s multiplayer modes in the near future. Stay tuned!
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