This is a world where vampires who sparkle… die.
A couple of stealth-action games have released recently, like Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed III, and the upcoming Hitman: Absolution. Although the latter hasn’t released yet (at the time of this writing), it has a considerable amount of anticipation. It seems to be a solid year for stealth-action games and adding one more to the list couldn’t hurt, one that particularly defines stealth in more ways than one.
Eric Bane has no recollection of the night before or how he woke up in a bar and, more importantly, how he became a vampire. What a horrible hangover. While searching for answers, he comes across an underground operation that is turning people into vampires. Why, do you ask? I don’t know, just like I don’t know why other vampires sparkle.
While Bane does not have the ability to sparkle in the sun (the sunlight is not his friend actually), he does have the ability to teleport behind an enemy and execute a finishing move. Other skills include being able to manipulate foes into firing upon their friendlies or using a decoy as a distraction to sneak past them.
These abilities are heavily relied on for survival, since Bane does not carry any sort of weapon. At one point, he does face a boss, who uses distance as an ally by equipping a sniper rifle—how fair is that?! I don’t think players will have to worry about fighting against Buffy, but every boss is different as some have supernatural characteristics and are more powerful or cunning than your average human. A player must be diligent in performing these moves as they cost “blood points”, so understanding when to unleash a sneaky attack and when not to will determine how long Bane will survive. Feeding on humans does make him vulnerable, but is necessary to refill the blood meter.
Each kill and choice Bane makes is accounted for through experience points. Completing a mission undetected is also rewarding toward the vampire’s skill tree, where more abilities are bought. Not every skill is available on the first playthrough, so a second playthrough is inviting, especially since there are two different endings to the storyline.
Players are encouraged to initiate conversations in order to learn more about characters and the world, as well as expose the corporation that made Bane who he is today. The player's choices determines which ending is shown. There is a total of ten hours in single-player, and while there isn’t a multiplayer, a couple of modes may be added like having Bane complete an objective in a specific mission within an allotted time.
Dark heavily emphasizes on completing the game with stealth. Not having any sort of weapon other than your fangs is challenging, especially for those who like having a gun for those moments where patience becomes thin. The fact that Bane is limited in his use of his vampire abilities, solving the puzzle of which guard or mercenary should be eliminated first or not at all is a tricky situation. Combine that with ten hours of gameplay and Dark may be the perfect addition to this year’s stealth-action genre.