Every year at E3 you’ll stumble across a game that you knew nothing about, but one that ends on your “buy” list by the end of the week. That game this year is Darkwatch, the debut project from Sammy Studios. The game wasn’t playable at the show, but after a very impressive look in the “Darkwatch Theater” hopes are running high for the stylish FPS.
Darkwatch follows the story of a man named Jericho Cross, who through the course of some unlucky events is now half vampire. The demo at the show opened with your character lying on the ground with a stake in his chest and a woman standing over you laughing. To show you how you ended up in this unenviable position you are taken back via flashback to an old west town that is being overrun by vampires. Your job is to save as many townspeople as possible, which is no easy task since there are hundreds of creatures throughout the small town. As you reach the end of town, and angry mob, who sees that you’re a vampire, drives the stake into your chest, and leaves you to die. But, one of the people you saved knows the truth, and after the crowds disperse, he comes and saves you.
The story is very intense and the gameplay follows suit. Your character not only is handy with a gun, he’s got vampire vision which allows him to see through walls to spot the un-dead, and he’s got a handy super jump to quickly get him from the ground to the second floor if need be. The creatures attacking you are relentless, but the game’s controls look smooth and there didn’t seem to be any problems with aiming.
Darkwatch is also an amazing game to look at, as it features some incredible graphics, even though it’s still a year away from release. The atmosphere is dark and dreary, each character looks great, and the amount of detail in the game is astounding. There are plenty of things that can be destroyed, and there are other little things like the signs that can be shot then sway in the wind. It’s attention to little details like this at such an early time in development that really make you realize the potential of this game. The sound effects and voice acting are also very good, which is just icing on the cake.
The only bad thing about Darkwatch is that we all have to wait another year to play it. It’s such a great looking game already that you can’t imagine what it will look like in twelve months, but Sammy’s not rushing this one out the door, and after seeing its potential, you can’t blame them.
5/23/2004 Aaron Thomas