Review by DandyQuackShot

Reviewed: 11/09/09

Dark Days Teach Us Valuable Lessons

Ever wonder what it would be like to relive some of the most earth shattering moments in human history? Wouldn’t it be great to have the answers to the world’s greatest mysteries? In Darkest of Days you will get to do hardly any of that, but you will get a chance to enjoy trying to preserve our history while trying to fix your screw ups along the way. Being a PC port from a no-name developer, Darkest of Days has some annoying hardware and game play glitches, but the concept, story, and variety of game play that Darkest of Days employs helps this game in a tremendous way in keeping your interest to the end.

At first, I was highly skeptical of even renting this game due to the reviews and this game being a first person shooter PC port. I have hardly ever enjoyed shooter ports from the PC due to the graphics and glitches and Darkest of Days is no exception in this case. What makes this game worth playing, however, is that Darkest of Days pulls off a relatively interesting story in which you find yourself as a doomed soldier with Custer’s cavalry at the Battle of Little Bighorn being rescued by a futuristic soldier and then thrown into the employment of Kronotek-a corporation devoted to the exploration of time travel. A few stipulations are mixed in with time travel being limited to backwards travel and the inability to go forward in time as well as Kronotek’s rules and standard deviations of making sure that history is not screwed around with. Throughout the game you have to search and rescue important key ancestors while searching throughout history for the guy that invented time travel-Dr. Koell. Unfortunately this is not Mario Lost in Time as you will have to take part in historic battles to find the people you are searching for and in doing so you will have to go back in time and help the opposite side to correct the roles of history. It is a very interesting concept, but one in which starts getting confusing as you have to go back in time to undo what you did before in rescuing the VIPs.

The game play has a lot of glitches and the big hardware problem is that you have to play this game offline so that it won’t freeze on you. For whatever reason playing while signed into Xbox Live will cause the game to freeze so that blows since most people play while signed in. The other issues are game play issues where you can get stuck while zoomed in as well as frame rate issues persist when you have a lot of characters on screen.

The upside is that this game does a heck of a job in trying to recreate large scale historical battles. The Battle of Antietam is probably the best Civil War game play I have ever run into on a first person shooter. Picking up a fully automatic AR-55 and mowing down rows of soldiers is definitely one of the guilty pleasures of Darkest of Days. Other awesome moments from this game include you using a guided rocket launcher on advancing World War One soldiers and busting out of a World War Two POW camp. The variety of the game play is awesome because the futuristic weapons are awesome and the large battles you fight in are very impressive. This game does an excellent job of making you work with friendly AI characters to turn the enemy back. Other cool notes that many first person games never even think about are the ability to wound enemies instead of killing them (some you are restricted to only wound to preserve history) and the reloading glitch which allows you to keep switching between weapons while the other one reloads offscreen. You get to carry two guns but if you have a musket that takes forever to reload you can switch to your other gun and you will hear it reloading while you can use your other weapon.

The graphics are behind on the times and the characters could have done with some serious lip service. I enjoyed Dexter and his colorful way of explaining things but I did not care much for the character you play as to be so silent. It helps to expand on the character you play as sometimes, especially when your guy is thrown into unusual circumstances. Darkest of Days has little music in the game, but the effects are good. I mentioned the frame rate issues but to create large scale battles and to have so many characters on screen at one time is quite amazing for a lesser known title as this game is.

Gamers going for achievements will enjoy the ease at which you can pick up the thirteen achievements in this game. The hardest would be beating this game on the hardest difficulty because I had a lot of trouble getting through this game on normal. You can take cover and heal up that way or simply try to be a hero and make it to the next waypoint (which automatically saves the game) so the difficulty won’t hang you up. And if you hated this game, a secret mission will allow to “defend” the development team from Confederate soldiers.

Final Recommendation 7/10

Overall the glitches in Darkest of Days are rough and the game’s graphics are severely dated. The story and the game play variety does offset these problems a great deal to make this game very worthwhile especially for the achievements. If this game was properly developed solely for the Xbox 360 it would probably have been an excellent hit. But being a PC game that was roughly carried over to the console it suffers a few setbacks. I don’t think it takes away from this game much however, because the story and game play kept my interest all the way through. Darkest of Days does not deserve to be thrown under the bus because it does a lot more than a standard first person game does in taking you back to the past, and future…and then back to the past to correct what you might have screwed up the first time. This game does make you think of the what ifs. What if some wise guys from the future erected Stonehenge just to mess with humanity’s heads for a couple of thousand years? It’s possible…

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Darkest of Days (US, 09/10/09)

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