Oh, it gets darker.
If you’re looking for a game that has you shooting Civil War survivors, WWI veterans, Roman infantry, and while we’re at it, some Native Americans (which is half of my heritage… I shot my peoples!), then boy, do I have a game for you. Darkest of Days puts you in the shoes of a Civil War soldier that fought in the battle of Little Bighorn or Custard’s Last Stand. At the last minute before your unfailing doom, you are rescued by a Spartan that pulls you into a womb-like object that sends you hurling through time and space. You reach your final destination in a waiting room from hell to be greeted by the stroke patient that is your supposed time partner and a visual user interface with creepy eyes and a fake pompous-ass British accent.
[image1]DoD has you traveling from the Battle of Antietam to the fall of Pompeii… so it’s too bad that every last bit looks like the same drab shades of grays and blacks. (Yep, they’re the colors of war, uh-huh, I got it.) Places where there could have been vast differences in environment during, say, a change in mission and timeline do not have anything of the sort. It’s just the same set of trees and pathways over and over again. Worse, the interaction of any characters with the environment causes horrible clipping and/or falling through the ground, and the sky looks like a solid amorphous blob that a fourth grader painted with his feet.
If you don’t understand what I am trying to say about the graphical presentation of this game, then I will simply say that it’s absolute piss, and I haven’t even gotten to the character models yet. I have not seen so many emotionless faces and voice-acting since Keanu Reeves in anything. On the bright side, these are the kind of character models that would be great for Half-Life 1. Yeah…
Although I usually like to kick a person while they’re down (one of my favorite pastimes), I have to at least give DoD a couple positive words. The idea of a time traveling where you get to change history through your actions and the heavy arsenal of weapons make the game intriguing. Making sure that you don’t kill non-targets, denoted by people with a blue aura, is also a good way to change up the gameplay, as is the ability to upgrade your weapons after a mission is over.
[image2]But almost every part of the game, where something could have been amazing, is lackluster or half-assed. Battlefields are large, but there are very few goals and little direction of what to do. The game then gives you the ability to use weapons from the future in the past, which is actually cool. Feel like mowing down a whole Native American tribe with a fully automatic assault rifle? Well, go right ahead! (My ancestors are going to kill me.) Do you want to take down those damn Germans with a futuristic mortar-rocket launcher that rains death on their spiky helmets? Sold!
On the other hand, they’ll be long stretches of time when you won’t have these modern-day weapons and are forced to slow down and use old-school firearms like single-shot flint locks. And all with a weak reloading mini-game that is totally ripped off from Gears of War. But more to the point, the game forces an identity crisis on you: Are you supposed to feel like the everyman in the past or a badass from the future?
Darkest of Days could have offered a lot, but it doesn’t offer much at all. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of funding or a lack of talent (or both), I have no idea, but I do know a game with a great premise such as time-traveling problem solvers with futuristic guns could, no, should have been done better. So pass this one up, unless you want to feel shame, despair, and regret the morning after. That said, you might as well spend the money on booze instead; if you drink enough, you will get the same results.