Darkest of Days is the new first person shooter developed by 8 Monkey Labs, and it is quite possibly the worst game available on the XBOX 360, and one of the worst games to come out on any console in a while. There are not many good things to say about this game, but there are plenty of bad. In fact, it would be hard to think of a game that is worse than Darkest of Days that has wide distribution. Nothing about Darkest of Days feels fluid or complete. It is a nightmare of a gaming experience and feels like a pre-alpha version of the game at best.
As soon as Darkest of Days starts there are a few things missing. There are no splash screens that say what companies were actually involved in making Darkest of Days. It immediately goes to a screen with a badly cropped gun and it says “press start” at the bottom. As soon as the user sees this main screen it is evident that everything that comes after this screen will be just as bad.
The very first mission that the player is dropped into is a slaughter of Native Americans. This mission is one of the most unsettling missions I have played in any game for many reasons. First off I am surprised that the developers started off Darkest of Days by making the user kill Native Americans. I feared that the next mission would involve whipping of slaves or shooting of Mexicans. Also the Native Americans are doing the stereotypical Indian cries running around frantically shooting arrows. The AI was also horrendous because they Native Americans seemed to run around with no coordination whatsoever. Some would run into each other and quickly turn the other way and continue running. Others would continually run into walls and everything is just mass chaos. There are so many enemies on screen which sounds like a good thing, but the frame rate is constantly dropping which could result in a very large headache. The main character is shot and is about to die when a portal opens up and a person from the future comes and drags the dying soldier through the portal.
This is when Darkest of Days takes on a Half-Life type feel. There are no cinematics, but the story happens in real time similarly to the way Half-Life does. A somewhat convoluted story is explained that is hard to read and follow because the audio is bad and the text is hard to read. The user is now in a lab where they are introduced to a device that introduces different portals which the character can now use to travel to different periods of time. This is probably the only decent looking part of the game because it is not congested with tons of enemies. The character then travels back in time to complete a tutorial which is when the user can enjoy the horrible feeling controls.
For some reason 8 Monkey Labs didn't bother to smooth out the kinks in the controls of Darkest of Days. When the user looks left to right, it is much quicker than when the user looks up and down. When the character jumps in the game it feels like when Master Chief jumps instead of a human. The character almost floats in air before landing on the ground.
New futuristic weapons are introduced which are then used to fight in historic battles that are poorly recreated. The one decent weapon in Darkest of Days are these little bombs called chasers that are thrown and then surround the enemy and then detonated. The only thing is that these little bombs look terrible when the character has them in hand. There is no polish on the graphics of this game and everything looks jagged with no anti-aliasing. Even simple graphics like the reticule look jagged and unpolished. The only acceptable part of Darkest of Days is the music. Not to say the score is outstanding, but it is the only part of Darkest of Days that sounds like there was some time put behind it.
The rest of the missions are essentially the same. The user goes to many other battles where they aid soldiers in a war and fight enemies that frantically run around screen. None of the guns in Darkest of Days feel great and it is hard to tell when any of the bullets actually connect with the enemies.
Darkest of Days is obviously a game that was rushed out the door because it seems like nothing was tested and no input was given for the game play. It would be hard for any person that has played a first person shooter to find Darkest of Days fun to play because there are so many other first person shooters out there that play much better and with a better story. This package is pretty bare bones too. There is nothing else except for the campaign that most gamers are going to stop playing within the first few minutes. I would say that if this game was $3 then it would be worth the purchase. Anything more than that would be asking too much.
Publisher: Valcon Games
Rating: M for Mature