From when the game was announced back in 2004 to 2006, Dark Sector has gone through some major changes. Digital Extremes threw out the sci fi setting and Hayden Tenno’s morphing suit. During a demo of the Xbox 360 game, I saw Dark Sector’s new crumbling city setting and Hayden’s three pronged metal glaive. The team from Digital Extremes spent a lot of time showing how the blade comes into play. It’s a weapon that can be thrown at soldiers and if you get close enough the blade can be used as a melee weapon for instant stealth kills. Hayden’s blade comes back like a boomerang so players can do some cool tricks like throwing the blade into a wall and then retract it when an enemy walks past it for a remote kill. Hayden’s glaive can also gain elemental attributes. If you throw the blade into an open flame it ignites. For a limited time Hayden’s fire charged blade can burn open doors and blow up obstacles. Hayden can also aim the blade into a ceiling light to knock it out and gain an electric shocking attack. The blade only holds elemental power for a short amount of time and the levels are designed with obstacles that only different blade powers can overcome.
Dark Sector also has gun combat, where the perspective shifts to an over the shoulder camera a la Resident Evil 4. Guns compensate for the glaive’s slow speed. While it’s flying in the air, Hayden can draw a gun to shoot enemies from a far. There is a standard arsenal of handguns and rifles for Hayden to obtain. All of the game’s guns will be available throughout the game similar to Gears of War so you don’t need to worry about hording a weapon. As the demo progressed Hayden moved into a dark corridor where the blade was the primary source of light. Soldiers wearing gas masks popped out of doors to blast Hayden with a white mist. When Hayden gets hit by the toxic gas his abilities are impaired and the screen shifts into different colors. The gas is like kryptonite to Superman, it’s an equalizer to make Hayden vulnerable to the soldiers. While most of the demo was watching Hayden fight soldiers there are other “infected” that bring a challenge to the game.
At the very beginning of the game you get to play as Hayden before he gets his powers. He is a “cleaner” and sent into an ex-soviet state, to clean up a mess. On his mission he contracts a disease, which gives him the metal glaive. As the game progresses so does Hayden’s disease and Hayden’s powers. When talking about the story the team was purposely vague because they didn’t want to spoil anything. Only the Xbox 360 version was demoed, but Digital Extremes is still working on a Playstation 3 version. The Playstation 3 release will use SIXAXIS and it was hinted that the controller’s gyroscope would be used to control the blade’s flight path. Since the game is made by the co-creators of Unreal Tournament there is going to be an online multiplayer component, but for now that’s under wraps too. Hayden’s gone through quite some changes and the new version of Dark Sector looks pretty good. The last picture shows Hayden from 2004 on the left and the new Hayden in 2006. It’s a fair improvement and it us an example of how the Sector engine has advanced in two year years.