PS3 Review – Dark Void

February 3, 2010Written by Paulmichael Contreras

The time is during World War II. The place is a parallel universe known as “The Void.” Our good friend Nolan North is the voice of the main character. Dark Void has all the makings of a blockbuster video game. But do all the pieces fall into place?

On the surface, Dark Void has a number of great things going for it. Jetpacking, an exciting form of transportation, appears to be the main focus of the game judging by its box art. But when you dive deeper into this game, true aerial combat makes up a surprisingly small percentage of the overall game. It is mainly used for getting from point A to point B, and there are only a handful of intense jetpack missions. Your character, Will Grey, also uses the pack to hover and boost himself up to higher “vertical cover.”

The so-called vertical cover is definitely a new way to play shooters, and does add an extra dimension to how you interact with your environment. However, all too often you can simply jump your way down (or up, as the case may be) past enemies, occasionally tossing an enemy over the edge of a cliff by simply lining up below them and hitting circle. This makes vertical battles far too easy, even on “Hardcore” mode.

Now while the concept is very interesting – apparently even attracting Brad Pitt to develop a movie based on the game – the result seems rather unpolished and a bit rushed. This is really evident in the main character, Will Grey. Though voiced by the excellent Nolan North (Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series), he doesn’t really have a distinct attitude. When you encounter your first Knight enemy, a formidable foe, Will blandly says, “Oh, great.” While the delivery by North is fine, the facial expression on the character’s low-poly model just doesn’t match, and it comes across as half-baked. His past with the lead female character, Ava, does not feel fleshed out enough, nor do the characters display convincing emotions. The story as a whole needs a bit more depth to it. The game is also pretty short – easily only six hours or so in length, even on the hardest difficulty setting.

Really easy to kill.

The graphics, as mentioned earlier, seem low-quality. The world of the Void is a jungle /ancient ruin environment. It looks passable, except for the fact that you don’t encounter any sort of wildlife whatsoever. Considering the story takes place in a parallel universe, there could have been any sort of creatively-constructed wildlife, but again, the environment does not seem very fleshed-out.

You only ever face one enemy around this area...

A big highlight of the game, on the other hand, is the audio. Presented in at least 7.1 surround sound, you can definitely tell where shots are coming from or where people are speaking in relation to your player. The soundtrack also includes epic, sweeping scores, so Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary’s efforts do not go unnoticed here.

The only real replayability in this game is in finding all the journals scattered throughout the levels and upgrading all six of your weapons as well as the jetpack. There is no multiplayer to speak of, and there is little evidence to indicate any is coming our way in the form of an add-on. This is a shame, since jetpack / UFO multiplayer could be very interesting.

Overall, this title comes across as a serviceable shooter with a few interesting elements. The whole thing just feels a tad rushed, and this is most evident in the graphics and story. Had it been given a bit more time and polish, it would be a sure purchase for most gamers. As it stands now, however, Dark Void is a solid weekend rental.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Fun concept

Story and characters fall flat

Gameplay is lacking

5 out of 10