Dark is a new Vampire game from the developers Realmforge Studios. It’s all about Vampires. I love Vampires, not the sparkly ones or the emo teen vampire shows, I’m more of your true blood vampire kind of guy. So when this game landed on my desk I was very much up to the task.
I loaded the game up with high hopes, but right from the start I felt let down. For starters the first thing that hits you is the very bad cell-shading art style they have gone for. I’m not the biggest fan of this style in computer games, I just think it makes them look very bad if they’re not done right. Once I got over that, I was hit with the plot, or rather, what little there was of a plot, I can see what Realmforge Studios were trying to do, it just fell short of their goal I feel.
The character you play is a guy called Eric Bane, which is a bad-ass sounding name. However, it seems to me he’s taken his acting lessons from Keanu Reeves… Eric is portrayed as this hoodie wearing bad-ass, who finds himself waking up in a world full of walking clichés. The intro to the game has some pretty bad voice acting; there was a total lack of empathy from Eric when he found out he was a Vampire, there was just nothing! The only time I felt a little bit of emotion (and here comes a bit of a spoiler), was when he found out that he had 24 hours to find the Elder Vampire to finish off his transformation, otherwise he turns into a ghoul – even then there seems little motivation in the way the character acts.
Once you have gotten over the bad introduction, we get to jump into the game. I’m afraid though that things go from bad to worse. What we have to keep in mind is that this is a stealth RPG game, so once the tutorial part of the game is done (which I actually really enjoyed) you get to go on your first mission to the museum, and for me this is when it all fell apart. I felt very restricted as a player as I progressed through the levels. I started to become frustrated as the stealth part of the game became crazily difficult, and rooms became full of guards you had to sneak past with the aid of your powers. But I also felt that I was fighting against the poorly designed levels. For me it just ended up being so frustrating sometimes, I couldn’t see a way to get to the end of the level.
The A.I was a little bit overly difficult to deal with too. With this game you have to watch the patterns forming from the guard’s movements to try and find away around, and with levels that are poorly designed and the sheer amount of guards, sometimes it was a tall order! You only have to been seen for a second and you need to find cover, as most of the guards in your area will open fire. Now here is where another problem rears its head: You’re a Vampire right? Shrugging off a few bullets should be no problem. You have vampire powers to help you, but I feel they’re lacking in power and don’t really feel right or powerful enough. I also found using their powers has major drawbacks, such as the powers you use need blood to power them. Now you think hold on, you’re a vampire that’s no problem! Well you are right, but once you have used your powers you need to refill, and this makes noise, and with the over abundance of guards knocking about it becomes very frustrating trying to refill your blood power. You do get XP in the game which helps to build up your powers but I never really felt it was going anywhere. You have the normal powers like extra health and better stealth and more, but it just fell flat for me.
Overall then Dark is a game that had so much going for it, but sadly it was poorly executed. The story was flat and it never really jumped out and grabbed me by the short and curlys. The voice acting was wooden and lacked the emotion you would expect from vampires. All in all a bit of a disappointing let down I’m afraid.
Reviewed on Xbox 360