You are Alexander Morris; a soldier in the American West. But things take a turn for the worse in your career as you partake in the disastrous battle of Little Big Horn. On the verge of death from oncoming Indian hordes, you are saved by an armoured agent who appears out of a swirling bubble and orders you to go through it. Wearily and injured, you clamber through the rift with no idea of where you are going. With such an immersive and powerful start, I instantly expected great things from Darkest of Days. Unfortunately what I found was something that didn’t quite live up to those expectations.
After being saved from your evident doom, you get caught up in this organisation called Kronotech. Based in the future, the company has somehow found a way to travel back through time. Their job: to fix any anomalous glitches or errors in history. They are the modern-age ‘time lords’ if you will.
Darkest of Days Gameplay
Set up as a first-person shooter, you, Alexander Morris, and your trusty companion, Dexter, need to travel through time rifts and more than likely blast the hell out of everyone on the other side. But what seems like a neat little concept with great potential falls flat on its face if not executed properly. Darkest of Days has the ability to transport you to many different locales in history. I mean, c’mon you have the entire history of humanity in front of you. But being the generic first-person shooter it is, Darkest of Days has you running around field after field of WW1 battleground. Almost all missions are set in either WW1 or the American Civil war, and to be frank, you can’t even tell the difference between them. Admittedly there are a few (I mean a few) levels that are set in more interesting locations and I’m not going to ruin it for you, but even then the constant repetitive combat gets really, really monotonous.
The missions have you running from one objective to the other, with the basic objective of survival in mind. There are some soldiers which are vital to keeping history intact and so you must only wound those marked blue instead of killing them.
As you progress, the novelty of going through time and changing history wears off, and you start to realise that the time-travelling skin is just there as an excuse to throw you into as many different places as quickly as possible with as little explanation needed. This isn’t helped by the fact that the game’s story is really bland and really really slow-moving. The whole idea of travelling through time can lead to a number of events and plots that would be great for a game like this. But the game stubbornly sticks to its guns and provides basically the same gameplay all the way through the game. The story to go with it doesn’t actually alter the gameplay at all and you will find yourself going through the whole game hoping for something to happen. Unfortunately it never comes.
Saying that, the second half of the game is way better than the first. That’s when the cogs start to turn (a bit) and the story seems to get more focussed. Even though the plot finale is short of anti-climatic, there are two scenes in particular in the second half that were a blast to play.
Graphics wise the game fares reasonably. Some levels seem bland and washed of colour whereas others take the game to its full potential. Coupled with a few other graphical insecurities, the game’s draw-distance is simply terrible. The sound is a mixed bag as well. There are some horrible sound glitches while playing and ‘Mother’s’ voice acting is the worst I have heard in a long time. On the other hand the game does build some tension with some atmospheric sound design.
One thing, perhaps the only thing, that impressed me about Darkest of Days is the scope of each level. Set in some of the bloodiest and largest battles in history, the game does a good job at displaying huge waves of soldiers coming together in combat. I’m constantly amazed at the amount of things that can go on at one time, and because of that Darkest of Days should be commended. In doing so however, it can sometimes slow-down in the biggest of battles but this didn’t affect the gameplay so much that I got annoyed with it.
In the end, what seemed to be a promising and exciting game turned out to be something that fell into the trap of trying to be like everyone else. It succeeds as a mediocre WW1 shooter, but it doesn’t break the mould in terms of the revolutionary FPS that I was hoping for.
Publisher: Virtual Programming
Description: A Pretty Horrid Historic Shooter
Pros: Has potential, later levels show promise.
Cons: Story has lack of substance, glitches, fails to fulfil potential.
Advised Control Method: Mouse with right click only (I mean only)