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November 5, 2008
Dark Sector - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
10/10/2008AFA InteractiveD3Digital Extremes12-10
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc1237MB720pDD5.1YesMA15+

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Graphically Dark Sector is solid.
Dark Sector was, in fact, the first game ever announced for the Playstation 3. It was mid-2004 when this happened with a very brief teaser trailer showing a space based sci-fi game, but then the game went missing for years before resurfacing in 2006 as a very different game. No matter what for the game took, the most exciting aspect was that developer Digital Extremes co-developed a little title called Unreal. It is now October 2008 and the game is finally released in Australia, some six months after the rest of the world and there's a reason for that...

2008 has been a terrible year for gamers in Australia. By far the biggest industry-wide event has been the number of games being Refused Classification thereby banning them from sale, or import, here. One of the games to suffer this banning was Dark Sector. How then do we have it on sale here now? Well the developers Digital Extremes has modified the game to take out some of the more gruesome aspects, and the game scraped onto shelves with a MA15+ rating, the highest possible here. More on the edits later. For now, let's look at the game.

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Flames; a painful, and spectacular, way to die!
Dark Sector thrusts players into the role of Hayden Tenno, a covert operative sent on a dangerous mission into Lasria Ė an Eastern European city on the brink of ruin that hides a deadly Cold War secret. In the midst of this mission, Hayden is attacked by an unknown enemy and infected by the Technocyte Virus - a brutal bio-weapon that twists itís victims into mindless killing machines. Surviving this attack, Hayden finds that the Technocyte virus has granted him powerful, inhuman abilities unlike anything he has ever seen. Now, he must evolve with his powers, survive and become a hero.

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Guns are also available to Hayden.
As you can probably tell from the surrounding screenshots Dark Sector a third person action game which uses and over the shoulder viewpoint not too dissimilar to the latest Resident Evil game. While this game includes the usual assortment of guns, this game really differentiates itself from other similar titles through the Glaive which is a bladed disc that grows out of Haydenís infected hand. This can be thrown at enemies with deadly results (or, in the case with the Australian version, equally deadly but less impressive results).

Dark Sector is also one of the few games were the tilt sensing of the Sixaxis is used well as you can use this to guide the Glaive towards the enemies. Fortunately if you don't want to use the tilt controls they aren't compulsory and can be turned off. It is also possible to collect elements from the environment such as fire and electricity to use on enemies and interact with the world.

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Walking around in near darkness.
As with an increasing number of games these days Dark Sector doesn't have a HUD showing health bars, weapons, radars or other smaller details, but keeps the screen pretty clean. If you get injured the screen turns a shade of red and the character displays visible damage.

So what are the difference between the unedited and Australian version of the game? Well the main thing is that the decapitations and dismemberment have been removed while the amount of blood and more blood curdling sound effects, we believe, have also been reduced somewhat. Does this affect the gameplay? Well I'm going to say yes here. While the game is the same, the amount of gore and violence really was a selling point of the American version, ermm, so I've been told.

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See the blood flying!
The game also comes with some decent multi-player modes. We're not saying it's the best online experience on the PS3 but with support for 2-10 players there is certainly a few hours of fun here with several modes including one which sees one player playing Hayden against everyone else as the militia. Naturally Hayden is fully evolved here to give him a chance. The person who kills Hayden then becomes him. Another is more of a Team Deathmatch styled game with one Hayden on each team.

Ultimately though this is a game which doesn't push any new boundaries. Yes, the Glaive is cool, but this is still a third person action game and a game which we've played many times before, and with much more polish. I found the controls and movement a little on sluggish side, while the levels are pretty linear. With a play through time of approximately 12 hours this isn't the longest game ever, and I'm not sure that you would go back for a second time.

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Getting the gun off...
While not the best use of the PS3 hardware it's fair to say that visually Dark Sector manages to impress on several levels, while missing the mark on a couple of others. In terms of the impressive aspects the fires and flames are probably among the best seen in a video game with impressive light cast on the characters and objects in the game world. Other effects are also impressive.

Unfortunately though the game is also let down by some poor texturing in places. Some of the ground textures look pretty bland, as does Hayden's face in some of the cut-scenes. The frame rate occasionally stutters a bit, especially when there's plenty of action on screen while the game does have a pretty dark and drab look to it for the most part. Finally some of the character models and animations are a little on the average side. Never bad, but never great either.

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Now they're some cool enemies.
Audio in Dark Sector is also impressive with some solid music and great effects. The games hero Hayden Tenno has been voiced by Michael Rosenbaum who many of you may know as Lex Luthor from the Smallville TV show. The delivery is pretty good but the actual scripting could have been improved somewhat with some rather average dialogue.

It really is a shame that Australia gets a cut-down version of this game. Certainly the more violent aspects were one of the highlights of the overseas versions - not that we would know... Anyway if you're not comfortable breaking the law and importing this title then you will be pleased to know that this Australian game is still quite entertaining with the some great graphics and sound and solid gameplay.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSSome graphics are quite brilliant, other areas are lacking slightly.
76%
SOUNDVoiceovers are good, and music and effects are also solid.
73%
GAMEPLAYI can just imagine how much better this could have been with the 'uncut' version.
65%
VALUEAround 12 hours to complete the main game, some multiplayer longevity, but little reason to go back.
67%
OVERALLIt's a shame that Australian law doesn't permit the uncut version of this game here, it would likely have been more entertaining as a result. Dark Sector is a solid if unremarkable action game. Pick it up if you like the genre.
70%

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