Almost exactly one year has passed since Dark Sector first arrived on store shelves for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
- Fun gunplay, visual and technical polish, cheap price
- Frustratingly difficult bosses, boring puzzles and environments, too much reliance on the glaive
An often overlooked action title, Dark Sector may have found its niche as a more appropriately priced PC title, but that doesn't help repetitive gameplay and wonky level design.
Price$ 59.95 (AUD)
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Almost exactly one year has passed since Dark Sector first arrived on store shelves for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Why this PC port has taken so long is anyone's guess, but don't mistake the delay for any relation to new content or big gameplay tweaks, because this re-release is about as copy-and-paste as they come. But that's not entirely a bad thing.
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Russian developer Noviy Disk should be commended for pulling together such a clean port. Unlike many console-to-PC crossovers, Dark Sector ran on my modest rig with no slow-down or crashes. Heck, it even felt good using a mouse and keyboard in case you don't have a PC-compatible gamepad handy.
When it first debuted on consoles, many critics painted Dark Sector as a middling Gears of War rip-off, and rightly so. Still, the game does have elements that help it stand out; the most surprising revelation I had during my play-through, though, is that these elements aren't particularly enjoyable. Take, for instance, the bad-ass looking glaive, a thrown weapon that can be charged with elemental powers. Using it to slice enemies in half is rewarding but a lack of ammo availability forces players to rely on it way too much, turning many of the tense combat encounters into long-distance decapitation-fests.
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In addition to the brief single-player mode, Dark Sector contains the unique Epidemic and Infection multiplayer modes that were found in the console version. Bizarrely, though, these once-online options have been stripped down so that they can only be enjoyed on a local-area network. To be fair, this is probably a concession to the fact that the 360/PS3 versions of Dark Sector never had a healthy online following but it still feels like a cop-out.
Then again, the lack of online multiplayer may simply be a side effect of Dark Sector's greatest strength: its budget price. For all of its flaws, the game clocks in at a relatively cheap price tag of $20, which makes it more appealing than if it had gone for the normal retail price. If you ignored Dark Sector on consoles, have a reasonable PC, and are itching for a solid action game during a slow release month like April, that meager price tag will not steer you wrong. However, if you've already experienced Dark Sector once, there's really no reason for you to bother with this port.
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