First Looks// E3 09: Dark Void

Posted 4 Jun 2009 17:12 by
Games: Dark Void
The last thing I managed to get my hands on today was Capcoms Dark Void. As is often the case with E3 this is not something that was registering much on my radar before hand, so was not that high on my anticipation meter.

You play as a futuristic rocketeer sort of jetpack fellow. The demo level available on the floor has you zipping around to a few different, though mostly the same, shield-generating stations. Inside these you are tasked with killing anything in your way, climbing to the top, and smashing some control panel thing of terrible importance. In short, old skool funnery.

The on-ground controls are, as seems to be the trend these days, a bit Gears of War-ish. You can take cover behind crates and other items, and pop up and shoot. Slide from one cover item to another and hop over things.

Where it becomes different is when you realise you're wearing a Freaking Jetpack! If you so choose you can zip up into the air and hover over your foes, raining bullets down upon them.

While it may not be the most strategically sound option, it is a hell of a lot of fun. I actually accidentally zipped a bit too high up and landed on a ledge above my enemies and shot down at them from my relatively safe ledge. The gentleman demoing the game, a QA tester, actually commented that heíd never seen anyone do it that way before. Good times.

When not fighting ground-based enemies you can hover in the air, while gradually descending (though you can boost to regain altitude). Or you can switch to flight mode where you go into more of a Superman pose, though with arms out to the side, and can fly any and everywhere at a pretty good speed.

Surprisingly enough, switching between all three play styles is very smooth and simple and, aside from me always needing a second to adjust to the inverted flight controls, it all blends together incredibly well. After only a minute or two I was very capably flying into enemy territory, hovering over them like a machine gun wielding god, and then taking to the ground to finish of any stragglers without a hitch.

One of the main features Capcom (and Codies, if you look at Damnation) kept talking up is something called ďvertical combatĒ. This is yet another mode of play that works perfectly well with the others. The real crux of it is that you are hanging from the bottom of a platform, looking up. Above you are many more platforms, some with enemies. The enemies will look, and shoot, down at you. You will shoot up.

Using your jetpack you can hop to neighbouring platforms or further up to higher ones. Most of this just leads to shooting up at the bad guys. But on occasion you can get to the bottom of a platform that one of your nemeses are standing on; at which point you can reach up, grab them, and send them hurtling down, past the camera, and into the abyss. Fun stuff, and yet another nice break from one single style of play, but I donít think its as groundbreaking as Capcom likes to make it out.

Aside from that there is a bit of hand-to-hand, but itís basically contextual QTEís (Quick Time Events) wherein, if you get too close to an enemy, they may grab you and youíll have to shake the stick from side to side to get them off. You are then prompted to hit a particular button and, if you manage to get it in time, youíll perform some sort of takedown move that basically hit kills whateverís troubling you.

Honestly, going into this E3 Iíd nearly forgotten this game even existed. Now I canít wait to play more of it. The controls in all the modes are fun and responsive, and transitioning between them is a breeze. Add in the fact that Iím a sucker for a jetpack and youíve got one pre-order already signed up.
Games: Dark Void

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Great! 12 Jun 2009 02:13
MDK style fun, finally. Used to enjoy vertical combat gliding down on enemies, and in other games taking on vertically challenged opponents from high objects. I had wanted to do a MDK site game myself with vertical combat.
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