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- REVIEW: Pillars of Eternity
publisher: Kalypso Media
developer: Realmforge Studios
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Jul 09, 13
|» All About Dark on ActionTrip|
Ya know there’s a threshold of tolerance when it comes to more modest projects such as Dark. Initially, we were intrigued by the concept, even though it looked similar to a lot of stealth-based action games. As a newcomer to the genre of stealth-based action games, Realmforge takes on what seemed like a fairly decent slice of gaming for this summer season.
Your world is about to darken.
Don't care what I'm on, I wanted it to stop.
This story begins, like many stories, in a nightclub that’s packed with, well, clubbers. Eric Bane is our hero and he has a headache. The tension is probably killing you so far. Anyhow, you have a splitting headache and, as fate would have it, you’re suffering from a severe case of amnesia. In less than a few minutes, Eric quickly discovers a painful truth. Yep, Eric is, in fact, a vampire. The transition to a full-fledged vampire takes a while. Before that happens he has to continue drinking blood and prevent himself from becoming a mindless zombie; sorry, I meant a mindless ghoul.
Okay, you’re a vampire, but don’t ask why you’re a vampire, because things won’t be explained. In fact, even when you reach a point in the game where the story veers towards some sort of explanation as to why the fuck you became a vampire, it’s likely that you’ll be disappointed. Now, I’m all for mystery, but this game has none of that. In short, the overall premise is tacky and the plot does a hideous job of setting up the characters, all of which are bland and uninteresting. Another easy way of describing the premise is that it’s a total Blade rip-off. There, that saves us a lot of time.
When it comes to gameplay, Dark borrows from practically every game in the book. History has shown, of course, that good ideas can be recycled if skillfully implemented. Realmforge attempted to make things as straightforward as possible. So, here’s how things work. Eric can utilize an assortment of vampire abilities to sneak around and take enemies by surprise. Seeing how crappy he is in action, I’d say that stealth may be your best option. Of course, being crappy at fighting isn’t necessarily his fault. Eric is relatively weak at the beginning, so you’ll definitely want to stick to the shadows and behind walls rather than taking foes head on. In most cases, regardless of whether your character’s experienced or not, enemies take you down easily. Not because they’re smart, but rather because they have long-ranged weapons and you don’t.
You're a stupid, stupid guard. You are! Go away.
Easy, this is how they do it in Star Trek, trust me.
The AI is usually scripted, predictable and, at times, indescribably dumb. For example, there’s a section in the game where you get to sneak around a museum. There are a lot of exhibits on display, so moving from cover to cover is, naturally, your best option. There’s a catch. Interactive screens are scattered across the room and passing next to them will automatically trigger a brief voice-over presentation explaining a bit about the exhibit. While this sounds like a cool idea, in practice, it showed me just how stupid the AI can be. It’s a cool way to distract the guards, but it also demonstrates how incredibly predictable their behavior is. Also, in one situation, I kept piling up guards, knocking them down one by one, until 4 were left. Also, there’s an ‘alarmed’ meter on the game’s HUD that fills up when guards are alerted to your presence. This means they’ll be more alert and will pay attention to the smallest movement or sound. Of course, they will be calmer when this meter runs out. The first problem is that it takes too fucking long for guards to return to normal mode. The second problem is that they are sometimes stuck in this mode even though the meter ran out and they should be less alert. Basically what happens is that they just stood there facing in one direction waiting for me to come out of hiding. None of the guards moved an inch. It just looked silly.
As much as I’d like to describe this game as ‘challenging’ I really can’t, in all good conscience do that, because I’d rather use the word ‘frustrating’. Not just because the game’s technologically underdone and has dumb AI, but because of the monotonous gameplay. If that won’t stop you from playing this game then perhaps you might be discouraged by crappy cel-shaded graphics, poorly detailed areas and God-awful character animation. Oh you’re still determined to like this, are you? So, what about the atrociously voiced characters? Just face it; there’s no good reason why you should play this game. The most tolerant of gamers should keep a vomit bag nearby for this game. Dark is a failure in every possible sense of the word.
2.0 Don't Bother
I guess there are a few cool vampire abilities you can use;
An appalling mistake of a game.
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