There is something worse than a terribly-made game and that's a game where you actually suspect you'd enjoy it if the developers just gave a damn. Dark is an awesome game which is unplayable due to its horribly buggy AI, poor level design, and nearly impossible-to-master controls. In short, if the game had put half-as-much effort into the game as you'd think a developer should--I'd be extolling Dark's praises.
Even the name highlights the half-assed nature of the development. They couldn't even be bothered to use something which would be easy to find in a search engine. Let me think of a bunch of generic-sounding vampire game titles off the top of my head: Bloodthirst, Gothic, Nightfall, Shadow-walker, Vampyre.
All better titles than Dark.
The premise of Dark is your character is Eric Bane, similarly imaginatively named as the title, who awakens to discover he's a vampire. Wandering through a massive Gothic nightclub which is beyond anything which exists in the real world, he is contacted by an angel who temporarily halts the pain of his transformation.
|The game looks fine. It's the gameplay which stinks.|
The game is deliberately modeled after Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines as well as Dishonored. Unfortunately, it doesn't include any of the immersive elements which made those two games so wonderful. It also is as buggy as the original V:TM:B and possessing none of the dynamic movement which made Dishonored so enjoyable.
|Eric Bane looks irritated. This is his only expression.|
What's frustrating is that the idea of vampire stealth is an innately cool idea. There's so much potential for a Dishonored and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines combination. The Sanctuary is a beautifully designed location and I enjoyed several of the NPCs. Unfortunately, the tedium of trying kill my way through levels sapped most of the joy I derived from the story. It doesn't help Eric Bane is the bladest of the game's few characters.
Tell me, if you've been turned into a vampire--would you react with more than mild irritation? Eric Bane's denial of being a vampire lasts only a short while but one would think the shock would last a little while longer. Instead, Eric Bane talks like a combination of Max Payne and The Witcher's Geralt. This reduces the potential for drama considerably.
|The ghouls are suitably menacing, though. Sadly, they're all similar.|
In conclusion, I think Dark is a bad game. It's a bad game which could have been a good game, which makes it a worse game. I love vampires, I love stealth, I love stealthy vampires. I do not love nearly impossible controls and murdering hundreds of semi-innocent guards because that's the only way to complete the game.