by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
The hype around Dark Void quieted down when news and updates on the game dried up to the point that we thought that the game had been canceled. When Capcom invited us to come and see the game in action at GamesCom, I even had to refresh my memory and check some screens and videos before I realized which game it was. As it turned out, the presentation showed very little that Capcom had not shown before (shame on you Capcom!), but perhaps this article will help you if you have suffered a similar fit of Amnesia but are interested in the game.
In Dark Void, pilot Will gets sucked into an anomaly during a flight over the Bermuda Triangle. He ends up in a strange parallel world where a handful of humans are struggling to survive against an alien race bent on destroying humanity.
Third Person Flyer
The game plays in Third Person and sees Will dart across the sky as often as not. Yup, the game’s gadget is a Jetpack and a cool one at that. Not only does it allow Will to fly, it is also equipped with two machine guns that can do some major damage. The game focuses on fast, arcade gameplay rather than reality which translates into unlimited fuel and ammo. The only restriction is that the Jetpack needs to recharge every now and then. It can do this by itself when it has been switched off. If you do this, you will drop from the sky, so the best way to get a full charge is to land and stay on your feet for a while.
Dark Void has a slight Star Wars feel to it. The presentation involved some of the same gameplay seen in the recent trailers where Will drops onto an enemy fighter from the sky and attempts to overtake it by opening the cockpit in mid-air. This scene reminded me a lot of scenes from the three recent Star Wars movies. The curved fighter, the camerawork, the fast action, it all felt very familiar. Even the enemy that crawled out from the cockpit looked like a Droid trooper. Other parts had the same feel, which speaks highly of the game’s art direction department, even if there was a bit of ‘borrowing’ done here and there.
Another scene brought us to a massive ventilation shaft that Will negotiated from the bottom upwards. The shaft was filled with ledges placed along its inside walls. On these ledges, enemies started appearing, looking down on Will and trying to deter him from progressing further. The presenter had Will hiding underneath the ledges and shooting up at the enemy soldiers, which sometimes meant that a single ledge was used for protection by a soldier on top and Will below. As the enemy soldiers were not equipped with Jetpacks, a great tactic was to hide underneath a ledge and wait for the enemy to lean forward, grab him and pull him off the ledge. Nothing more satisfying than a foe dropping to his death, right?
After a while, the ‘feeling of verticality’ wore off a bit and our presenter forgot that throwing a grenade ‘up’ isn’t always a good idea. A mistake? I think he was just making a point, and a good one at that. When we first entered the shaft, the concept of height was dizzying and even while I was not at the controls, I had to adjust to the image. Yet you do get used to the vertical gameplay but can never take it for granted.
After watching Dark Void in action, I am still not sure what to make of the game. Smooth gameplay, great art direction, a decent plot… it’s all there but it still felt a bit ‘empty’ to me. Obviously the game is still in development and won’t be available until January (yep, it was delayed again), so things may still change. It may pay off to wait for some reviews before making this one part of your collection though.