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Review: Darkest of Days

I've played a lot of crappy games. I've learned that the best way to cope with them is to realize that even though they're crappy, there is usually something in the game that is interesting or cool. There has to be something that got the game the greenlight, that attracted the developers to pursue creation of it. Most of the time, that gimmick, be it in the story or part of the gameplay, is enough to give a game at least a glance at something good. Unfortunately, Darkest of Days' gimmick isn't enough to even warrant a glance.

The concept behind Darkest of Days seems like it's pretty cool. In the future, time travel has been discovered, and now somebody is going back in time and killing influential soldiers on various battlefields throughout time. Your character gets taken from near death at the Battle of Little Bighorn and is recruited to a time traveling agency who's trying to save these soldiers so the time continuum isn't destroyed. Occasionally you'll also get to use a weapon from the future (of the time you're in) against hordes of enemies, such as an assault rifle against soldiers in the Civil War. At this point, you might think the game sounds cool. Please, don't fall into the same trap I did.

Being an FPS, shooting is the most important part of Darkest of Days. And as the most important part, it's a damn shame that the gunplay is probably the worst I've played in a first person shooter in many, many years. The guns are pretty boring to use; for the first two-thirds of the game you're using Civil War weapons, single shot rifles that take seven seconds to reload. While it may be historically accurate, it's not fun. Not at all. All the guns seem to have heat-seaking bullets, though: get a target within an inch of your crosshairs, pull the trigger, and he dies. Unlike most FPS's, not all the enemies drop guns, so you also end up running out of ammo pretty quickly. The A.I. in Darkest of Days is also pretty bad. Enemies and allies alike run around in circles sometimes firing and sometimes not. If the enemies spot you and start firing, you'd better hope there's only one shooting at you, because if there's more than that the framerate will get you killed. I can't remember the last game I played where the framerate was this bad. I usually just shrug it off when the framerate drops in games, but Darkest of Days actually made me angry at the frequency. It was as if I was playing the game online and got hit with crippling lag, complete with enemies shooting at me while the game is recovering. There were several times where I'd die during a framerate drop because the enemies kept shooting at 30 frames per second while the game was running at 1 fps.

Darkest of Days has an amazingly awesome story concept that is absolutely destroyed by unfun gameplay and aggrivating crippling framerate issues. Did I forget multiplayer? Oh yeah, so did the developers. It's probably for the best, though, because I can't imagine how much worse the game would be if they had anything more to work on.

Players:1 Player

Platform(s):PC, Xbox 360 (reviewed)

Developer:8monkey Labs

Publisher:Valcon Games, Phantom EFX

ESRB:M for Mature