• Review:
    DARK

    By Jack Fuller

Game Info:

BioShock Infinite

Platform

Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Developer

Realmforge Studios

Publisher

Kalypso Media

Release Date

05/07/2013

DARK is a game that tries so hard to be fun and original that it just comes off as clichéd and boring. Attempting to make vampires cool once again after the catastrophe that was the Twilight saga, DARK focuses around a bland plot line and when mixed in with a stylish art direction and frustrating gameplay the consequence isn’t too pretty. DARK is a game for those of you can’t get enough of stealth games and nobody else.


DARK sets itself up to be clichéd and never diverges from an all too familiar and boring path. Centring on a newly turned vampire, Eric Bane, this blood sucker cannot remember anything before the night he was converted. Eric as a character is the most one dimensional being to ever grace a video game. It is impossible to like or hate Eric because he has a tablespoon of personality. One aspect of his story that really bothered me was Eric’s ability to be so accepting of his new vampire form. In five minutes Eric has come to terms with his new identity and has already set out on a quest to acquire old vampire blood in order for his vampire transformation to be complete.


The plot unravels as expected, which is not a good thing in DARK’s case and the written dialogue is just awful. Major plot points are just thrown out of mid-air with no previous mention or alusion. Everything about DARK’s storyline is drab and at times cringy to watch play out. The most painful aspect of DARK’s plot is that there is room for interesting character development and the twist, in terms of narrative, is not as bad. It is the execution of the plot and story that really lets this game down.


Gameplay is a really mixed bag. Stealth is the name of the game and getting stealth mechanics right is a tall order and unfortunately for DARK it falls incredibly short of the mark. The designers of the game had obviously look towards games like Dishonored for inspiration. Eric has access to a variety of different abilities, which can help him sneak around his enemies. Some of these abilities require vitae, which can only be acquired if Eric feeds on a human and all of these abilities can be upgraded through a robust experience system. Movement is extremely stiff and to counter this the designers programmed in a shadow leap mechanic, which helps Eric spring from cover to cover. This works, however the aiming system is truly hit or miss.


Getting through levels undetected, which is easier said than done as DARK boasts some truly unbalanced level design, earns the player experiences points alongside any takedowns that have been performed. This is motivation enough to get past the guards undetected. It is, however, when Eric gets detected that the gameplay falls into some serious problems.


As the core mechanics of the game solely focus around stealth Eric cannot take on enemies face to face. When the player is required to do so death is almost always imminent. DARK feels as if it is sorely lacking another dimension to its gameplay. Very much like in Dishonored where players had the choice of facing their enemies head on with supernatural powers or stealthily approaching the level, DARK would have benefitted from another side to its gameplay coin. When DARK does hit full flow in terms of gameplay it can be an almost enjoyable experience, but it hits flow so few times that all it does is frustrate the player, which truly damages any positive experience that this game has the potential to emit.


One redeeming feature of DARK is its art direction. The cell shaded, purple toned art style hit all the right buttons and it is consistently impressive all the way through the game. Each of the levels, though incredibly dull, are all different, however the same cannot be said for the music. During DARK the player must return to the “Sanctuary”, a nightclub for vampires, which plays the one track over and over again. This track becomes really grating after a while and leaves the player almost begging for just one change in track. The voice acting is also as stale as the character design and most characters carries a monotonous pitch to their voices.


DARK is not a good game. It is in all respects a bad game. The whole game is epitomized at the end by a severely lacklustre boss battle, which is the worst ending to any game that I have played. With that being said DARK does have a few, just a minute few, redeemable features but they are far and few between. With an injection of just a few more mechanics and non-clichéd writing DARK may have even been a good game. This is one summer title you will want to avoid unless you are set on playing every single stealth game you can get your hands on.

Final Verdict

+ Stylish Art Direction

+ Varied Levels

 

- Bland Characters

- Extremely Clichéd Plot


  • Storytelling.........5.0/10

    Presentation.........6.0/10

    Gameplay.............5.5/10


    Overall Score.............5.0/10

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