Dark Sector is the sort of game that gives you this amazing glaive weapon that you can 'charge' with ice, to guide in a slow motion strike to freeze an enemy hiding around the corner. Then you rush out of cover to kick them into a million frozen bits... and your kick passes right through him. You've already killed the enemy, and for DS that's good enough. While the mechanics might be solid and even fun, the lack of finishing touches and polish manages to killjoy the experience.
Very little of the environment is interactive in any way. Kicks and swipes slide right through every table and wall without so much as a bump of recognition. In Sword of the Berserk for the Dreamcast there was always a "clang, clang, clang" if your sword struck a wall, so what's up with the lack of reaction here? What's up with me sometimes pulling off an incredibly satisfying two smack melee combo on an enemy, where the second blow lands as a finisher that cleaves his arms off, and sometimes smacking and smacking the very same type of enemy with no real harm? Lack of polish.
Dark Sector was almost there. With say six more months of work and a bigger budget, it could have trounced Resident Evil 4.
Dark Sector is a good game that wasn't left in the oven long enough. The visuals are fantastic for the most part, and nearly reach the ruined beauty of Gears of War, though the locations are a little too empty and lifeless, with only the bare minimum of clutter to reach some unspoken standard. The weapons all have a great feel and the smack of fire hitting an enemy is spot on, though the aiming isn't too hot. Neither is the enemy AI that will take cover right next to you and wait a full ten seconds before finally deciding to open fire. The glaive is brilliant when you get the power attack and the after touch, the latter allowing you to guide its cleaving path through enemies in slow motion. Decapping an enemy, and then using the glaive to snatch his weapon, which explodes after a short while due to your infected status... all amazing.
Once you move past the cannon fodder grunts and finally get to the more inventive foes fighting can be tense and exciting, though the game takes way too long to get there. It also takes way too damn long to buy anything from the black market. Why even give me a locker when I can't afford to have more than two guns? Hell, I can't afford to sell the weapons I have to buy the new stuff because then I'll lose all my upgrades I waited so damn long to apply since once they go on they can't go off. The whole black market thing feels thrown in at the last moment, and manages to drag the game down in the way it chains you to the same weapon set for too long. Co-op with the second player as a uninfected agent would have gone a long way to add in some replay value, but as it is you'll likely finish the game's satisfying length, and toss it onto the pile.
Then there's the glitches. Floating torsos of enemies appearing in the sky, giant bosses getting stuck behind walls, you getting shot through walls, etc. Nowhere is it so bad as in the game's afterthought of a multiplayer. Host advantage, lag teleport, spawning without weapons, seeing half the other players standing as statues as you hear gunfire over their headsets... it's a mess. Two modes, a handful of maps, and limited options don't help much either. There's an inkling that working as a team hunting down a usually invisible overpowered badass would be fun, but it's not here. Multi does have bots, but the lack of split screen means a lack of play for yours truly.
Dark Sector was almost there. With say six more months of work and a bigger budget, it could have trounced Resident Evil 4. It could have made Gears of War its bitch. What it lacks is the spark that elevates a merely decent game to greatness, but it's still a fun time for people who dig the duck and shoot style gameplay.