View Full Version : In-house Darkwatch review (PS2/XBOX)

08-26-2005, 04:34 PM
Darkwatch, a Western/Horror FPS, offers a satisfying change from the typical military themed FPS that has been cluttering the market. High Moon Studios developed this title that is chucked full of various nods to other FPS such as Halo but creates and maintains itís own identity for the duration of the short single person campaign or the multiplayer options.

The story revolves around Jericho Cross, a human outlaw who literally bites of more than he can chew. Cross thought he was going to rob a train that was filled to the rafters and prime for looting, only to find himself inadvertently releasing and squaring off with a Dark Lord demon named Lazarus. A member of the Darkwatch, a secret society that sealed the Dark Lord up to protect the world against his power and undead legions, named Cassidy joins the fray. Lazarus bites Cross as he escapes from the train, only to have created his greatest enemy in the process as Cassidy and the rest of Darkwatch prevent Cross from completely becoming a vampire. Now, itís up to Cross and his new powers to save mankind and himself in the end.

Once the game starts itís becomes a non-stop action juggernaut as it becomes an intense run and gun (bite) FPS until the closing credits roll. It should be noted that the single person game took less than nine hours for me to complete. The controls on this title are extremely smooth and tight in responsiveness and the Havok system was used as the gameís engine. The enemy AI is respectable, as the mobs of undead actually do a half way decent job of varying the coordinating and countering attacks. The game offers a morality system that somewhat penalizes a player for riding the fence on being good and evil, so the best advice is to choose your path and stick with it. With that being said you can get by with just the bare vampire skills and rocket through the game using the standard weapons. The weapons that are offered are well balanced and the amount of brutality you can inflict is truly something to witness. Unfortunately, the heavy-handed dialogue and morality choices end up going nowhere fast by the end of the single player campaign.

The multiplayer functions of the game are where this title really shines with a total of twenty-six maps; ten of them are night and day versions of the same map. The night and day versions play on the various strengths of the vampire and non-vampire weapons and the playersí skills accordingly. The Xbox version of the game offers classic deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, soul hunter and team soul hunter as well as sixteen player multiplayer mayhem on Live. Unfortunately when it comes to multiplayer, the PS2 version falls short with the only option being the exclusive two player co-op feature.

The visuals and especially the framerate for this title is well done as it runs smoothly even during the overwhelming single player and multi-player bloodbaths. The details that were paid to the environment add a great sense of atmosphere as does the soundtrack and voice talent used during the cutscenes and action sequences. The soundtrack cranks up in the midst of heated battles that echo back to some of the great spaghetti Westerns this game pays some homage to.

In conclusion, this is a fun but short game for the present price tag, especially if you are just buying the game for the single player campaign. Darkwatch is worth adding to your library as itís a stand out in the mass of FPS but wait for it drop in price unless you will get your moneyís worth out of the multiplayer aspect on the Xbox flavor.

The Good
The extremely smooth and responsive controls.
Decent enemy A.I.
The theme and atmosphere
The Xbox multiplayer goodies

The Bad
The short-lived single player campaign

The Ugly
The lack of PS2 multiplayer goodies

http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/darkwatch_ps2.jpg http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/darkwatch_xbox.jpg
4 out of 5 stars

08-26-2005, 04:42 PM
I have to say the controls on the PS2 version are crap. I haven't experienced the Xbox one. The analog sticks just don't feel right. Maybe the game's deadzone percentage is too high. And it sorta feels like the acceleration of the aiming is too high. I got tired of the game after 2 hours.

08-26-2005, 05:22 PM
No pc version... :(

08-26-2005, 05:32 PM
D'oh! Why did the co-op have to be on the PS2 version? *sigh*

08-26-2005, 08:32 PM
The controls on the Xbox demo seemed rather twitchy. I wish developers understood how real triggers worked.

08-27-2005, 07:43 AM
If ever a genre begged for a MMORPG version....