Game Review - by StormDaemon
The world of third person view action games has taken a step up with the release of Dark Vengeance. Not only will fans of game such as Tomb Raider and Heretic II be pleased, but also anyone who likes a good bloodfest will also be in for a treat. With the 3D graphics and an advanced combat system, Dark Vengeance is a cut above the rest.
Dark Vengeance is set in a world, which has been put under an eternal eclipse of the moon and over run with hordes of evil Dark Elves. You'll choose your path as one of three characters in their quest for blood and vengeance of the wrongs that were done to them by the Dark Elves.
The game offers a third person view of the action with full 3D graphics and special effects that are all done with an attitude toward action packed combat. Three characters, lots of enemies, and lots of spells, weapons, and magic items all pervade this game, making it on par with many other popular titles. The multiplayer experience within the game allows for up to 32 players at a time, and a newly created Voyeur mode allows for up to 64 people, even though the Voyeurs can only watch a specific person. Every other option in the game is what a person would expect, and doesn't get in the way of playing the game at all.
Dark Vengeance offers a different type of third person gameplay with its ability to "chord" actions. "Chording" is the game developers' term for using a specific key for a general action, and hitting another key at the same time for a specific application of that general action. For instance, the attack main key is Ctrl, while if you want a quick attack you then hit J, if you want a medium attack you'd hit I, and a long attack is L. Ranged attack, dodging, and jumping all work in the same manner. While this does allow for a complex fighting style, though the simple fact that your character is always in the way does detract from the overall action. The designers did compensate by putting a dot on the targeted enemy so that you could see it through your character. In addition to the complex fighting style, there were also many different weapons with different effects. Each character also had special power ups at their disposal. Overall, the gameplay was fun, but limited by the third person view.
The graphics were really nice to look at and complemented the game very well, but even with a Voodoo2, it was still choppy at times. In the options menu, many different graphical options could be adjusted, but none of them seemed to make a difference. Aside from the speed of the graphics engine, everything was detailed and ornate, time after time giving the feel of actually being in a fantasy world. The characters and enemies were all well detailed, each having their own look and feel. Another nice aspect about the game was that the weapons all had some kind of special effect, like the whizzing of a sword through the air would leave a cutting path, kind of like the ones in anime films.
The sound effects were decent, but average. While each creature made some kind of sound which would be noticeable if you were nearby, none of the sounds were breathtaking. They did their job and sounded like the creatures they were. The levels themselves all had sounds for specific things, like doors opening and such, and they all sounded good. The background music wasn't too noticeable, but like the rest of the sounds, it did its job.
Dark Vengeance was an above average game because of its fun gameplay and nice graphics. While there were specific things that did hinder play, like the 3rd person view, everything was fun and enjoyable. While it probably won't be voted best game of the year, it isn't a bad game at all. The bottom line is that if you like Heretic II and Tomb Raider, and you love medieval combat, then this is the game for you.