You know what most third-person shooters are missing? Jet packs. Futuristic jet packs that let you hover or fly full throttle through dangerous enemy territory. Jet packs that help you hang off of ledges to fire at enemies behind makeshift cover, or let you take to the skies like a jet fighter, ready to dogfight with ships and take out defenses below. Dark Void is coming out in early 2010 to fill that gap in the market, and it looks to do it with style based on the time spent with it at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Dark Void stars a cargo pilot named William Grey. He crashes in the Bermuda Triangle, and is then teleported to a parallel universe that is just a wee bit more advanced technologically then the time he came from. The Watchers, an alien race that is tormenting this universe’s Earth, need to be repelled, and Bill Grey being the kind of guy he is, joins up in this resistance. He straps on a jet pack he finds and immediately puts it to use–as you can see from the little hiccups he encounters upon firing up the pack, Grey is the kind of guy who dives right into things without a worry or care.
Fighting on the ground is the kind of thing you are used to from third-person shooters. Duck behind cover, fight the enemies doing the same, and try not to get yourself blown up or killed. There are a few different enemy types to deal with, some of which will attempt to take you out with an explosion after you kill them, so trying to melee everyone isn’t the best idea when they are just going to blow your head off after. The other form of ground combat is more like a mix of air and ground; developer Airtight is calling it “vertical” combat, as you use the jet pack to fly upwards and then latch on to platforms around you for cover. You can then fire at enemies or jump to another platform from there. This takes a little getting used to, but it’s much more fun than trying to fly straight up through a complicated mess of platforms and then slamming poor Bill’s head into them over and over because you hit the gas a little too hard. Not that I did anything like that.
If you’re a fan of flying games though, then Dark Void is going to be great for you. The controls feel great; if you have any experience with piloting a ship or a plane or anything like that in games, then you should be able to pick up on what you need to do quickly. You’ll be flying in between structures, shooting at anti-air cannons and taking down your opposition in dogfights in no time, but just wait until you figure out how to hover and slow down on the fly, in order to get yourself behind enemies for an easier shot or to line up a more difficult one. With levels set up to have you doing some fighting in the air, some on the ground, and some in between with the vertical combat, you’re going to have fun mastering all three setups and making your way through a game that seems like it will have variety in its level design.
Dark Void was set to be released in September, but Capcom delayed it for further polishing. While the demo I played was fine, I can’t argue with additional time for tuning the game, even if it means we won’t be checking it out again for awhile. We’ll have more information on Dark Void for you as it releases, but for now enjoy the screens we have included with this preview for you.