DARK, as some of you may know, is a stealth action RPG. That’s a pretty funky and bold mix that Realmforge Studios and Kalypso Media undertook. A mighty bold undertaking as to which they have failed at.
Story- DARK’s Story had a good start as you awake in a club by some mysterious voice calling out your name (Eric) and discover that you are now a vampire with no recollection of how it happened. It was probably a drunken induced night which we can all relate too. Starts like this always leave the story open to any possibility and I was ready for a good middle and ending, but I was sorely let down. It was like they crawled to the finish line with whatever they could come up with throwing in all the most ridiculous elements from every popular Vampire movie including Twilight. There were also quick cut offs that progressed the story, but looked like you were skipping dialogue. Some parts even felt like watching a slightly better (but still crappy) Gilmore Girls with back to back fast paced talking. It didn’t take long for me to skip through the story-line cut-scenes just so I could continue through so I could finish the game for this review.
Gameplay- Gameplay design wasn’t any better than the story. Boring, clunky, unresponsive, slow, and did I mention BORING? One cool thing I did like was the shadow leap ability which had you teleport. This feature would have been a lot cooler if aiming it where you wanted it even worked. AI in games aren’t renown for being the greatest, but the AI in this one is by far the worst. It took away from the entire stealth aspect of the game due to the fact that sneaking around them was about as easy as a Kardashian. Yeah I did it. I used a “Kardashians are wh##es” joke in a game review. Wanna fight about it? And IF you did get caught, fighting enemies one on one, one on two, or one on 4, was a joke. Super strength, super speed, and super hearing were all useless even if you powered up your abilities through the sorry excuse of an RPG system. There was practically NO RPG feeling to this proclaimed stealth-action role playing game. Aside from the typical XP gain you get through defeating enemies, it was very similar to the gain in Prototype or Infamous. Hell, even the main character looked like both protagonists from both games including everything from their look to their voices.
Controls- You can probably gather from the gameplay how the controls were. Sneaking up on an enemy and apprehending him to suck his blood for health, or kill him was smooth and fast. Fighting an enemy? That left mouse button will get clicked 100 times over before Eric would finally respond with some sort of move. If there were two enemies around, you might be able to maneuver over to the other one to take him out before he killed you, but chances were you would then again have to click your left mouse 100 times and hope for the best. The camera was also very touchy, and often swung around and down when you never even touched it. Moving Eric against objects in their sorry excuse for a cover system, and walking was also just very poorly designed which made using some of his abilities more complicated than it needed to be even for the easiest of scenarios.
Characters/Enemies- Eric was easily the best character the game had to offer. He was the cliche protagonist bad-ass of course, but he was familiar and resembled a lot of other video game heroes. Oh, and he wore a hoodie. That’s like +10 to bad-azzery right there. Meanwhile, other characters fell short of the Eric glory. The game wasn’t focused around them which is understandable, but this lead to the reason why the story lacked and fails to fully pull you in. Just like a movie, games need good support roles and DARK once again failed in that aspect. Very disappointing to say the least.
Graphics- Despite the issues this game had, the graphics were probably the best thing it had to offer. The Vision Engine 8 runs smooth and looks great and if you played Orcs Must Die, you’re familiar with the engine and how it looks. Only if the rest of the game could have complemented this, which I feel was a big waste of resources.
Sound- Sound also wasn’t too bad. Music was good, and gave a real good ominous feel that went with the games stealth feel. But! Voice overs didn’t sync up with the characters mouths, and the sound effects for attacks didn’t match with the animations.
But I do need to commend them for having a good surround sound experience. It helped immerse you a bit which was hard to do when trying to overcome the horrible gameplay.
Final Verdict: So there you have it. One long drawn out way of saying that this game sucks. The game was a practically a pretty girl with an ugly personality that should be kept in the DARK. There was no replay-ability to the game, and I quickly uninstalled it as soon as I was done. Do yourself a favor and skip out on this one. If you want to appreciate The Vision 8 Engine, play Orcs Must Die, and if you want to play a cool Anti-Hero in a hoodie, stick with Prototype. I give this game an overall 3/10.
Overall Score: 3/10
RGN Rating: Below Bronze
Developer: Realmforge Studios / Publishers: Kalypso Media
Available On: PC / Xbox 360
Played On: PC
Review Copy Info- A digital voucher on PC and physical copy on Xbox 360 for this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for purposes of this review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Shawn Stenberg on 20130720 and was last modified on 20130720 .