Dark Sector Preview
It made for big news in 2004 when Digital Extremes revealed Dark Sector, the first game being designed solely for next-gen hardware. However, until a few weeks ago, that first announcement was the last time we'd seen or heard anything about the game; at least until recently, when Digital Extremes showed off a new and remarkably different version of the game.
While Dark Sector used to look like a colorful, futuristic action game, it's now sporting a much more subdued, macabre atmosphere in a more contemporary setting. Featuring CIA operative Hayden Tenno, Dark Sector takes place mostly in the fictional nation of Lasria, formerly of the Soviet Union, where biological research has gone horribly wrong, as biological research tends to do in videogames. Tenno is sent in to investigate and clean up the situation only to realize just how bad things have actually gotten; a civil war between mutated psychos, known as The Infected, and a paramilitary force tasked with their elimination. That's not the worst of it, either, at least for Tenno, as at one point he becomes infected as well, causing his right arm to mutate into a nigh-destructible armored weapon with the ability to grow what's known as a Glaive, a nasty three bladed weapon.
Expect this weapon to play a big role in the actual gameplay as Tenno will use it not only to dispatch enemies, both up close and from afar, but to solve puzzles within the game. The Glaive is detachable and, much like a boomerang, can be flung and returned, allowing Tenno to engage enemies from a distance; yet it can also be effectively used as a melee weapon for up close work. However, the mutated nature of the Glaive also allows it to absorb elemental properties like fire or electricity, which adds status effects to attacks. You can use an electrified Glaive to fry an enemy, for example, or clear puzzles, such as using a flaming Glaive to blow up debris blocking his path.
You'll have plenty more at your disposal in Dark Sector, though, much like most third person action games. You'll have access to rifles, pistols and other weapons, which along with the Glaive can be used from two different aiming perspectives. If you feel like running and gunning, it's easy enough to fire from the hip, but if you need more accuracy you can switch to a more first-person type view, complete with targeting reticule. You'll need all these items and abilities to fend off the foes Digital Extremes is throwing your way in Dark Sector, too. In addition to the garden variety bad guys found in almost every action game like this, Dark Sector also plans on tossing out a variety of additional enemies, such as machete-wielding baddies who use some type of gas to reduce Tenno's powers momentarily, as well as disorient him by impairing his vision. Players will also have to face off against The Infected, fully mutated and thus nearly superhumanly strong and fast and thus more than a match for Tenno and his Glaive arm.
As Dark Sector has been in development for two years, it's no surprise that it's sporting some pretty slick visuals. In addition to rather spectacular lighting, Digital Extremes looks to be offering some finely crafted character models, though we still haven't seen too much of the game in action. Surprisingly, even though seemingly on hiatus for almost two years, Dark Sector is currently scheduled for a release in the second half of next year. Now that the game appears to be back on track, we'll keep you updated with more information as it becomes available.
12/13/2006 Ryan Hartmann