Darkest of Days Review

Darkest of Days has an interesting premise - in a future in which time travel is a possibility, someone is putting people in harm's way in historical battles, battles that they should have survived. You work with an organization dedicated to maintaining the timeline, and your job is to go back in time to those battles and make sure that the people destined to survive those battles actually do. Dropping into the middle of battles in the Civil War, World War I, and other conflicts, but armed with futuristic weapons and the foreknowledge of events sounds like the makings of a great game. And it is the "makings" that is. Something went wrong from concept to implementation, though, and after spending a little time with the game you'll wish that you could go back in time and stop yourself from buying it.

The first thing that you'll notice about the game is that the graphics are a cut below average. In fact, they have a decided last-gen Xbox look to them. Now subpar graphics are forgivable as long as the gameplay makes up for it, but Darkest of Days fails to deliver that for a number of reasons. First of all, the enemy AI is just plain terrible. The only thing consistent about the behavior of friend and foe is that its horribly inconsistent. Sometimes an enemy will be smart enough to duck behind cover, and the next another will come strolling across open ground locked in some kind of internal debate as to whether or not it would be a good idea to bring his weapon to bear. On numerous occasions I saw two soldiers from opposing sides approach each other and then just stare at each other rather than think to fight. When the enemy can't even be counted on to put up a fight, there's not much incentive for you to do so either. You'll be fine making your way through most of the game simply using the "run and gun" approach as you slaughter countless mind-numbed drones.

The general lack of excitement due to the lack of a consistent fight from the game's enemies is reinforced by the design of the game's levels. You spend an inordinate amount of time running from one location to another as your goal is the protection of a person who can't seem to stay put. In fact, it's hard for me to say if I spent more time moving from one objective location to the next or actually fighting. And the paths that you can take between these locations are strictly linear and presented inconsistently - one minute you're running up a very steep slope as if it were flat and the next you're bumping your head against an invisible wall.

And lastly, for a game about someone from the future fighting in the past, you sure spend a lot of the game using archaic weapons. Long load times and limited magazines feel more like a cheap way to pad the game's length than to capture an historic feel, especially when these weapons are far more accurate at a far greater range in the game than their real-world counterparts ever were. And it's odd that the game includes an upgrade path for the old weapons - why not start you off with improved versions? Or better yet, futuristic weapons that just look like their historical counterparts? Surely a civilization that has mastered time travel can accomplish that...

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 44%. Time travel is not what it used to be...


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