Publisher: Capcom Entertainment

Developer: High Moon Studios

Category: Action

Release Dates

N Amer - 08/16/2005

Official Game Website

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Darkwatch Review

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Quite frankly I'm surprised that it took this long for someone to make this game. Why's that you say, Mike? Please enlighten us with your impressive array of useless information that for some reason you feel inclined to spread forth. Well all right then kiddies, sit down by the fire and let me tell you a yarn of a tale that's many years in the making...

 In 1997 Monolith Games made a game affectionately known as "Blood" for the PC. In Blood, you played a man who worshipped the wrong dark god and got killed for it only to rise in the body of a disgruntled corpse of a gunfighter and battle the minions of said dark god. Honestly, this game struck such a chord with me that I consider it amongst my top five all-time favorite games. Just the fact that it was a Wild West game, but with zombies and monsters coming after you ... awesome, just awesome.

Then in 2001, Capcom made the so-good-I-can't-stop-playing game Onimusha for the PS2. This time though, you were a masterless Samurai who discovers that Demons are planning on taking over the world. Yet another of my all-time favorite games and it too had the appeal of a ninja/swordsman game but with zombies and monsters coming after you ... again, awesome.

Why did these two seemingly different games have such an effect on me. Because they both take place in a very factual periods of human history. Blood in the American West and Onimusha during a very famous battle in Japanese history (the plain of Okehazama). So I guess you could say I think it's just cool to see these games that kind of bend their respective genre's by throwing in all these weird creatures and fictitious weaponry.

Here, hold my buckshot.

Can you tell where I'm going with this? In Darkwatch you play an outlaw who's bungled attempt at robbing a train has unleashed a once captive vampire names Lazarus. In a perverted form of thank you Lazarus bites you on the neck. From there you join a secret society that's been charged with staving off all things evil while slowly turning into a vampire and since turning into a full-blooded vampire is the last thing you want, your No. 1 priority is giving Lazarus a dirt nap.

It's a first-person shooter for goodness sake, and on the PS2, and I'd be buggered if I didn't tell you that it handles like a dream. The folks at Highmoon Studios definitely wanted to make a smooth controlling game and they did. Both analog sticks are used in unison and they are good and tight. The game has an auto-aim feature to help you out a bit, but it's unobtrusive to the game play. And because the developers must have wanted to have some realistic physics, you can only carry two guns at once. Never mind that you develop a type of night vision and can jump 30 feet in the air, dagnabbit, you can only carry two weapons at once. Throughout the course of the game, you run into these little scenarios that prompt you to make a decision based on good or evil. Depending on how you consistently answer, you will begin harnessing either dark or light powers. Both have their benefits and the fact that you must make these choices gives the game some replay value.

Hey buddy, you got something in your eye.

 I like the moody dark graphics that are featured. Since you are slowly becoming a vampire, the games missions typically take place in dark places and during the night (although there is some nifty situations that develop). The monsters are pretty cool and it helps to have a quality TV because otherwise you won't see the little touches that make this game cool. Things like missing lower jawbones on the reanimated skeletons. The Indian brave feather poking out of a zombie who's trying to scalp you or the tapeworm-like mouth on the fat monstrosity that spews bile at you. The game has some rather scary images so you can bet I only played this one when my boys went to bed.

While you adventure through the game the Darkwatch will begin assigning you missions, the voice acting isn't too bad and I thought that the subtle accents of the characters were pretty much spot-on, but since this is a Capcom game, and they are most famous for the horrible voice acting of the Resident Evil games, you can expect a few groaners or otherwise not appropriate-for-the-situation comments.  And I don't mean not appropriate in a vulgar way, I mean not appropriate in a 'no one would say that if this was really happening' kind of way. The cowboy music was pretty cool though and I doubt anyone who plays this title won't recognize some of the audio tracks.

Try the new South Beach Cage Diet, it really helps the pounds come off.

For as cool as this game is and for as much fun I have been having playing it, there is a downside. Here's a hint kiddies, there is always a downside to every game. The truly awesome high-scoring games' downside is usually very small and miniscule, but they all have a downside.

And Darkwatch's downside it the story behind it, and the world in which it takes place. With a little more dialogue, and a little more spit and polish (story-wise), Darkwatch could be another HALO or Half-Life, but since the back-story really leaves you wanting, you may feel a little bit slighted; I know I did. You don't realize how much you really miss and want a strong story moving things forward. Sure, the action switches from traditional FPS to horseback riding and even vehicle driving, but that one key element is a solid, engrossing plot line. Too often I felt as if I was just running and gunning, never getting to that meat and potatoes conclusion.

Review Scoring Details for Darkwatch

Gameplay: 8.5
Sweet controls and varying action scenes. I love those 19th century gattling guns and the evil-looking blades on the hilt of every weapon, perfect for eye-gouging the undead. 

Graphics: 8.2
Dark, just what you would expect from a game called "Darkwatch." But who am I to judge, the game practically begs you to play late at night with the lights off so you can become fully immersed in the shady world of evil incarnate. Neat little touches add to the game's value.

Sound: 7.9
Better-than-average voice acting, I wanted more of a Snake Plisskin/Clint Eastwood type voice out of our hero Jericho Cross, but nope. Love the western themed music, bring on the saloon girls!

The women sound hot, because they are.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
Playing on the games normal setting of cowboy is a challenge, playing on the Deadeye difficulty mode is downright impossible. My 10-gallon hat's off to anyone who can beat this game on the Deadeye setting.

Concept: 8.8
Did you read the beginning of this review, this game is right up my alley. It takes place in the Arizona Frontier in 1886, and there's monsters everywhere. It's as flipping cool as the other side of the pillow.

Multiplayer: 7.0
Yowch! No where near as good as the Xbox's multiplayer, must be because you can't go online and play, it's only split-screen two-player.

Overall: 8.0
This game should have been a 9.0! But weak plot pacing and that feeling that something is missing kept it from being so. Still, it is a ton of fun to play and still sitting in my console. Yes, I believe it's worth purchasing, but remember what I told you. Good luck, cowpoke.


Darkwatch Comments

GameZone Review Detail



GZ Rating

Nothing like emptying your shotgun into some toothy beast's gullet to get you into the mood for lunch.  Darkwatch, the feel good game of the season

Reviewer: Mike David

Review Date: 08/29/2005

ESRB Rating

Blood and Gore
Intense Violence
Sexual Themes

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