Review by aaronmykyta

Reviewed: 08/25/05

You're Dead, But The Game Is Full Of Life

Darkwatch, the amazingly well-awaited first-person shooter from Capcom has finally arrived, and it shows a lot of promise. You play as Jericho Cross, a train-robber who unwittingly unleashes a vampire from his cell, and Cross slowly starts to become one. The premise is unique, to say the least.

Something I find odd is that you are a vampire, right? Then how come there is no blood-sucking attack during the gameplay? During the cutscenes, Cross sucks dry anything he can see, but during the game there is nothing.

Instead of sucking the life out of your enemies, you spend your time blasting them to hell using the usually assortment of pistols, rifles, sniper rifles, and the like. The best of all the weapons has to be the crossbow, which shoots lit sticks of dynamite at your enemies. It has its moments.

The enemies, usually dead corpses and ghouls, have some nice physics to them when you blast them with your weapons. Blast them in the head with a shotgun and the head will blow apart into many, many pieces. It is very fun, hehe.

Not all of the action will be spent on foot, though. The game does give you the ability to ride on horses or well-armed vehicles. The sad part is that you can't really direct the horse or vehicle anywhere. It plays more like a rail-shooter than anything else, unfortunately.

You won't be fighting without any vampire powers, though. Jericho Cross has the ability of the Blood Shield, which is basically a red shield that acts like the shield on Halo. You get a heat-sensitive blood vision, and a double jump. The twist is that you can't perform any of these powers in daylight. One mission has you running around looking for shade in the middle of the day.

The game adds a good/evil system to determine which vampire powers you can unlock during the game. Choose a path of righteousness and you can get powers like Mystic Shield or silver bullet. Choose a path of evil and you can unlock powers like turning your enemies against one another, or just steal their soul. The side you choose also determines the ending of the game.

Too bad the good/evil system really doesn't do much for you until the end of the game. During the final battle, you get to choose a good/evil side and THAT will determine the ending. It would be nice if you could deepen your character more during the early portions of the game.

Plus, it's tough to deepen your character seeing how he doesn't speak! Even though the game has a over-dramatic narrator and Rose McGowan as the sexy "bad girl." It's sad, seeing how the Wild West is perfect for one-liners.

Even with a mute protagonist, the game delivers well both audibly and visually. The game has a nice orchestration of music that would fit well in a Wild West game. The visuals are all detailed well enough, animations are spot-on, and the framerate can hold on even with a lot of action happening on the screen. The only problem I have with it is the frequent loading times and too few cutscenes.

The Xbox version features online multiplayer, which the PS2 version lacks. The thing is, the PS2 version has split-screen multiplayer, and you can go through the entire game co-op with a friend, which the Xbox lacks. So choose your poison, co-op or online.

The online playing is fun, but nothing unique. Up to 16 players can duke it out on many interesting level designs. The only multiplayer modes are Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and the new Soulhunter (which has you running around the level looking for marbles). The three modes are unspectacular.

Even though the multiplayer is a bit lacking, the single-player is better than it by a whole lot. The action is fast-paced and viscerally satisfying. It took a while for this game to get finished, but I'm glad the game saw the light of day.

+Wild West Setting Without Will Smith
+Good/Evil System
+Good-Looking Environments
+Online Play...
-...But No Co-Op
-No Blood Sucking, :(
-Storyline Lacking Depth
-Frequent Load Times And Cutscenes

Rating: 7

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