First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
The hottest games coming to the Xbox 360 in 2009
- — 16 January, 2009 14:37
Your calloused feet have torn across hundreds of miles of cratered terrain on alien worlds and WWII killing fields, but how many frequent flyer miles have you logged? Dark Void blends the familiar thrill of incendiary run-and-gun action with extended sequences of breathtaking aerial combat.
When the cargo ship you're piloting plunges into the Bermuda Triangle, you're transported to a troubled parallel universe called "The Void." This harsh realm is infested with would-be invaders called "The Watchers," creeps who clank around in metallic armor and unload energy blasts at anything that moves, opposed by a desperate resistance force comprised of your fellow shipwrecked humans. Grab an assault rifle and join the struggle to gain ground against overwhelming odds by blind-firing from behind outcroppings and debris, or get in close and smash the butt of your weapon through some jerk's faceplate.
The gritty visuals, intense firefights, and cover-hugging mechanics might initially call to mind another apocalyptic stop-and-pop classic, but then Dark Void turns the Gears of War gameplay mechanic on its side. Thanks to the jetpack on your back, the battlefield doesn't end when you reach a cliff-it goes vertical. Peer over the rocky edge and continue the assault, letting gravity pull you down 15 feet at a time, or clutch a handhold and plant slugs in enemy heads from below when they poke out to have a look. Don't get too comfortable, either: explosions could shake you loose and send you tumbling to your death unless you master a simple "grip system" mini-game.
You'll improve your armor and weapons with scavenged alien technology as you run, gun, jump, and climb, but there's another awesome airborne twist in store. Once upgraded, that jetpack strapped to your back is good for more than just bunny-hops. With a bit of tinkering, those thrusters transform you into a full-blown rocketeer, and send you soaring across the heavens in pursuit of heavily armed UFOs you can cling to, sabotage, and even hijack. Dodge turret defenses, evict the pilot, and then engage reinforcements in crazed dogfights filled with energy weapon special effects and fiery destruction.
With its mix of traditional, cover-based third-person ground combat, vertiginous vertical assaults, and flight-simulator aerobatics, Dark Void looks like an ambitious attempt to blend genres and add appealing new wrinkles to tried-and-true gameplay. It's hard to tell this early how seamlessly the different gameplay components will gel together, but we can't wait to have the heady freedom to pound ground, scale cliffs, and take to the skies when it finally hits store shelves.
Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII's multi-platform release could be revolutionary. Other than a couple of slasher film franchises, nothing has really spawned as many sequels as Final Fantasy has. Now with a 13th installment in place, Square Enix is looking to push the series into unexplored territory with its multi-platform package.