Review by UberSweet

Reviewed: 08/22/05

Comprehensive Darkwatch Review

Overview: Although this game might just look your ordinary first-person shooter, it isn't. It may take a lot from the Halo series, but it is so good and viscerally satisfying that you will love it. Killing enemies is just plain fun, and with a solid weapon set, each with its own fun-to-use beatdown, its varied and fun. The concept of being a vampire is awesome, and choosing to be either good or bad is also a good add-in. The good/bad vampire abilities are great for when you need a boost, and the double-jump is way to be evasive. And although the online component isn't as good as the campaign mode, this is one awesome FPS.

Plot: You play as robber named Jericho Cross, and you plan on doing one last train robbery. You meet a women named Cassidy who is part of the "Darkwatch" as you blow up the safe on the train. She was too late. Once the safe opens, it has a pandoras box affect, making corpses of the dead come back to life. And, of coarse, they're evil. But, an evil, a vampire, is also unleashed who is named Lazarus. He bites you, and you form new vampire powers. You get a double-jump, and a blood shield. Think of the original Halo's health system and that's basically this games system. Over the game, you have to make choices, good or bad, which determines what types of powers you get. 8.25

Gameplay: This game is first-person shooting at its finest. With your weapons, you can shoot off limbs and other parts of enemies bodies, which is fun to watch and do. Also, each gun has its own satisfying beatdown. Some of them are weaker than others, but they are all fun to use, as well as they are useful. When you are reloading, and enemies are chasing after you, you can sometimes stand your ground and just beat them all down. It is just plain fun. There's also dynamite, think Halo grenades, which is very useful at times. The vampire powers are very important, but getting them is very linear. At some points in the game, a window will pop-up, and will ask you if you want to be good or bad. This does result into different endings, and different vampire powers. To break-up all of the run and gun shooting, there are segments where you ride your demonic horse, and shooting oncoming enemies. These are not half-baked parts in the game, they are very well made and fun to play. There is also one level where you can ride a warthog-like vehicle, but you can drive and shoot, unlike Halo where you have to depend on an NPC to shoot the enemies. Driving it a blast, and the controller rumbles like crazy. It really does feel like you are driving it. This game is just fun to play, period. 9.75

Online: It is fun to play, and is paced a lot faster than Halo 2, even though it is nowhere near as good. Each weapon does a little too much damage, and it gets kind of laggy. There are a good variety of coarses, and a good selection of game modes. They consist of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Soul Hunters, and Team Soul Hunters. All of the modes are good, but the Soul Hunter modes are kind of dull. There is no proximity voice chat in this game. In order to talk to your team mates, you have to hold right on the D-pad. You can't move and talk; its crazy. The white button isn't used in the multiplayer, and it should have been a Halo 2 type of voice chat. Despite these little, but significant flaws, it is still very fun to play. Good

Sound: The backround music fits the game really well, due to the in-games western theme. Although all the guns that shoot bullets have the same sounds, it sounds good. The voice acting is awesome, although Jericho doesn't talk. The enemies even have some lines, that are actually pretty funny, and the explosions sound awesome. The rail rocket, or rocket launcher, sounds awesome, especially when it's out of ammo. It makes the same kind of sound when you blow into a platic pipe. It rocks. These little things make a game even more emersive, and this game really delivers. 8.25

Replayability: Four different game difficulties, two endings, and production art make this game last a bit longer, and don't forget the online. It's a nice breath of fresh air after playing Halo 2 for many, many hours. Besides, this game is just so much fun to play that it will keep your interest for a long time. And, in my honest opinion, the campaign is better than Halo 2's. Yeah, I said it. 8.75

Graphics: This game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, and looks good. Since the game was made for the PS2 and XBOX, you know it won't look as good as it could. It looks like a game that should be running on the GameCube. That said, it has nice lighting effects that can be noticed when you look at your guns. the character models are great, and the environments are nice and crisp looking. Although the textures aren't great, it does look good, and by no means does this game look bad. 8.0

Innovation: Although the game does copy a lot of aspects from the Halo series, it does breathe new light onto the genre. For example, vampires are affected by light, so, if you are caught in light, you lose all of your vampire powers. There are some dark spots scattered around, but they are often small, so theres little space for manueverability. Also, the horseback riding segements are very fun and original. It does borrow from the Halo series, but makes its own, and it really stands out. 8.5

Controls: All of your moves are pretty well mapped to your controller, and you can also change the configuration, thanks to multiple control types. They are very responsive, and aiming is very easy. You do aim a little slow on horse-back, but other than that, it's pretty solid. 8.25

Difficulty: With four different difficulty settings, it rocks. It's pretty easy at the beginning, but it really picks up, and it's not hard to keep up with it. Although your going to need to be very good if you want to beat the game on the hardest difficulty, you can play through it on the easiest, and get a feel for it. Also, whenever you load your file, you can choose what difficulty you want; you're not stuck with the same one the entire game. 9.0

Tilt: It starts out easy, so you can get a nice feel for the game. It does get hard, but it nothing you can't handle. Fun and satisfying to get into, and it keeps your interest. 9.0

Overall Score: 8.6, B+

Rating: 9

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