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PS3 Review: Dark Sector

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This third person shooter/action game has great controls and action point-of-view perspectives as players cut into the hero Hayden Tenno, a government agent sent into Eastern Europe to subdue the antagonist Mezner who threatens the world with biological mayhem. The traditional heads-up display is gone, which adds some nice realism to the dark storyline.

Hayden, voiced by Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), embodies a reluctant, but very violent hero with some unique biological abilities that he never asked for. That giant sharpened disc growing out of his hand, better known as a glaive, produces some unique action scenarios all complimented by the camera, sound and visuals (lighting, etc.). The glaive allows players to pick up items and open doors, as well as dispatch enemies in endless ways.

The strong control scheme sets up the glaive on the right (R2) and weapons set (two slots) on the left (R1). The camera, which has a medium learning curve, allows you to attack at almost any time. Firearms include pistols, Uzis and shotguns, plus Hayden can access other more powerful weapons. Players can also use a 10-second shield and jump over obstacles in your way. The only downside to the weapons is the limited storage.

The shaky camera movements and special point-of-view shots when running (hold X) enhance the action. The after touch option, which also has a medium learning curve, adds even another dimension to your multipurpose glaive. Throw the glaive then press R2 again and hold so the POV tracks the glaive in Matrix-like slow motion. It’s an impressive element that drivers players to continue discovering even more abilities and bonuses.

Hand-to-hand combat can be difficult at times. It can be challenging to line up with your foe. The satisfying finishers (circle button) can be completed when you see red, literally, on the poor victim. When you see red playing Hayden, you need to quickly find cover and use your unique biological power to recover your health. You’ll need all the help you can get amid the countless enemies who have challenging AI. Be sure to grab the rubles on the tables for upgrades. Players can start with three difficulties with an unlockable brutal difficulty when finishing the single player mode.

The visuals and production values are well polished, but the story needs more work. For most action titles, this aspect may not mean a lot for most players. If you don’t care about being dropped into a “meat grinder” situation without knowing the characters too well, you’ll have no problem.

The multiplayer online or LAN options are a great way to see what Hayden can really do (invisibility, etc.), especially when watching an undefeatable, experienced player. In the infection game, multiple players have to work together with common sense. For example, It was frustrating seeing everyone wanting to be the hero and try to get Hayden on their own. Well, who can really blame them when catching the prize means you get to be Hayden in the next round.

The stealth kills are so initially impressive you actually won’t mind getting glaive sliced as a guard, plus you can watch all the action between the respawns. The similar epidemic game has a Hayden on each team, which, again, is rewarded to players who kill him. The decent replay value gets a whole new competitive edge in these modes, especially when you can’t get Hayden.

Players also get a few fun puzzles thrown into the mayhem. A solid, challenging title, which maximizes the PS3 controls and graphics full of memorable action situations. Looking forward to the assumed sequel.

Dark Sector is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence and Strong Language. This game can also be found on the Xbox 360.


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