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DARK Review

DARK Review

Developer: Realmforge
Publisher: Kalypso Media
UK Price: £30
Platform(s): PC, Xbox

Before we begin this review, let's have a little pop-quiz. Pick three activities from the list below which vampires are known for doing:

A. Sucking blood
B. Turning into bats
C. Sleeping in Coffins
D. Hiding behind boxes
E. Waiting behind boxes
F. Getting shot behind boxes

If you answered A,B and C, then congratulations! You understand the absolute basics of vampire lore! If you answered D, E, and F, then either you meant to say A B and C but somehow got the pronunciation spectacularly wrong, or you're employed at Realmforge studios, the creators of the astonishingly tedious crouch-'em-up that is DARK.

DARK Review
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There's nothing wrong with DARK's premise, a stealth game based around vampires is a perfectly workable idea. Vampires are creatures of the night, prowlers in the shadows who rely entirely on subterfuge for the continuation of their existence. Unfortunately, DARK doesn't seem to understand what makes either vampires or stealth interesting, and fails abysmally in its execution at almost every turn.

DARK has exactly two things going for it, it's pretty, cel-shaded, purplish art style, and the fact that the fellow who voices the main character also does Geralt of Rivia in the Witcher series. Said protagonist is Eric Bane, a freshly bitten vampire who spends the first twenty minutes of his game wandering around a nightclub trying to figure out he is a vampire. A nightclub that serves bloody Marys, has a blood fountain at the entrance, and everyone dresses as if they just got in from a long hard day at the local S&M dungeon. Meanwhile, the player is dragged along knowing exactly what Eric is because it says you play a vampire in the Steam summary, and most people have an IQ above that of the average mollusc.

DARK Review
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Aside from not being the sharpest tooth in the mouth, Eric of Rivia is a fairly well pitched character: moody but not completely pessimistic. Sadly, no amount of gravel in Eric's voice can conceal the fact that the script is completely appalling. Particularly dreadful is a character called Tom, who is involved with the nightclub in some fashion and before a mission offers pearls of wisdom such as "Shit, you must be some badass!" and "But man, you da shit!" Everything Tom does seems to involve excrement in some fashion. Don't accept a Christmas present from him. The best line however belongs to Eric himself, upon approaching his first mission location he says "The Harding Museum rose before me like a quiet rock." As opposed to all those extremely loud rocks knocking around.

DARK Review
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Initially DARK is bad in ways that are amusing like this. Alongside the execrable writing, the animations are languid and floaty, which means everyone moves around as if they're wearing clothes made entirely out of lavender. Eric is also devoid of animations for certain actions, such as moving in and out of cover, or turning around.