Darkest of Days PC, Xbox 360
What do you get when you mix together the Civil War, World War One, and the future? That’s right, you get Darkest of Days. It’s your job as an agent for KronoteK, the defenders of history, to keep history straight against rival time travelers who try to mess everything up. Is it worth your time and effort to protect the past and in turn protect the future? Well, let’s find out.
In Darkest of Days, you start out as a solider for the confederate army who is wounded in battle at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Moments before you are killed, you are swept away by time agents working for the company KronoteK to help defend history against said rival time agents. Its KronoteK’s job to keep the time line intact by the use of time travel. Mysteriously the inventor of time travel has gone missing and now the past is all screwed up. Obviously, the only way to fix these problems is by traveling back in time yourself and finding the inventor of time travel and rewriting history to the way it was supposed to be.
As you might already know this is a straight up First-Person Shooter with a smidgen of role-playing. You move from point A to point B, shooting everyone in your way except for those who have blue auras around them. The enemies with blue auras are the people whom you should avoid killing, instead throwing stunning projectiles at them or shooting them in the legs, for if you kill to many you will lose upgrade points after the mission. This extra layer of depth in combat helps to enhance the overall experience by making you think before you shoot. It would have been nice if they would have implemented some kind of consequence for killing the soldiers, like increased difficulty, but it’s such a small thing that in retrospect it really doesn’t matter.
While traveling through the two main periods of time you’ll need to use the weapons of those specific eras. During the Civil War you’ll use classic weapons such as the Springfield Musket and the Morgan James Rifle. During WWI you’ll use weapons such as the Broomhandle C96 and the Gewehr 1898 rifle. Darkest of Days does a great job recreating these weapons, from the way they look to how they act in battle. My favorite weapon to use is the Springfield Musket during the Civil War. The way it feels when you shoot it and the animations for the reloading are spot on, not to mention the chances of using a musket in a video game are few and far between.
Unfortunately there are only a limited amount of weapons to choose from and most of the classic weapons feel very similar, especially those from WWI. The futuristic weapons you acquire are fun for about a minute or so but after that they lose their appeal. You can only kill so many hundreds of soldiers with an automatic shotgun before it gets redundant.
In the graphics department Darkest of Days falls way below today’s standards. The environments are lifeless and bleak, the characters look like they were designed in 2002 and their animations are lifeless. I don’t understand how they could have messed up this badly. Most of the environments in World of Warcraft look much better then those in Darkest of Days. Graphics aren’t everything, but darn… when playing a video game I would prefer not to get urges to gouge my eyes out. You make think I am being harsh but if you play this game for more then two hours straight, I guarentee you will be getting similair urges.
The key to a great game and a great experience is getting immersed in it. Sadly if you play Darkest of Days, you will soon find that immersion will not come easily. Let’s start with the voice acting; when they auditioned for their voice actors, personality obviously wasn’t what they were looking for. The characters, with the exception of your partner, sound as if they are reading directly from a piece of paper without inflecting any emotion. Many of the voices are recycled throughout the game and you will soon be hearing the same sayings over and over again. The animation of the soldiers is like watching a bunch of children perform in a puppet show. Believability certaintly is not one of this game’s strongest suits.
In conclusion Darkest of Days ends up being a mediocre FPS. The production values are severely lacking, but under the hood you can see that the developers really tried. This is only the second game produced by 8monkeylabs, hopefully their future games will have a more polish.