Darkwatch: Curse of the West - Review
Darkwatch is an overlooked FPS that is a refreshing change from the constant sci-fi and modern military shooters that are everywhere today.
It's time for another review I owe from the SGC Kickstarter.
This time I’ll be reviewing Darkwatch, which was suggested by Atomic_Tomato. Darkwatch is a first person shooter developed by High Moon Studio and published by Capcom in North America and by Ubisoft in Europe. The game was overlooked by many, but should it have been? For the sake of this review, I played the Playstation 2 version.
Darkwatch is a unique first person shooter. The genre is generally devoted to modern or older war time scenarios or sci-fi space shooters. However Darkwatch combines the steampunk genre with the horror genre in a fantastic blend.
In Darkwatch, you play as Jericho Cross. I always find it odd when a character’s name fit the scenario they’re in. Cross is an outlaw who happens to rob a train owned by the Darkwatch. The Darkwatch is a group of vampire hunting badasses. While robbing the train, Cross accidentally releases the Darkwatch’s greatest enemy, Lazarus Malkoth. Lazarus escapes, but not before biting Cross and turning him into a vampire as well.
You control Cross throughout the rest of the game as he tries to cope with his newfound vampirism. Cross must first make his way to the Darkwatch Citadel and meet the Darkwatch commander, Clay Cartwright. Upon entering the citadel, Cartwright snipes Cross and subjects him to a series of trials designed to kill him.
When Cross survives all the tests he is sent to work for the Darkwatch with his new partner, Tala (a sexy Darkwatch agent, who’s hungry for power). Cross and Tala help civvilians, defeat undead creatures, and even retrieve some artifacts together. After a night of passion, Cross bites Tala and turns her into a vampire as well. Tala uses her newfound power to destroy the Darkwatch from inside. Now Jericho Cross must defeat Lazarus and Tala or succumb to the power of darkness and become the curse.
It’s up to you.
The presentation of Darkwatch is fantastic. I played the Playstation 2 version of this game, but after looking online all versions seem the same.
The overall setting of this game is a gothic/horror theme. It is combined with a Wild West and Steampunk aesthetic that I’ve never seen before. The only other piece of media that comes close in my opinion is From Dusk till Dawn combined with Wild Wild West. However, this unique design is also somewhat of a negative in this game. There’s one snow and mountainous level in the game, but the rest of the game is filled with dark interiors full of gothic design, or outdoors desert levels. Because of this, many of the games environments blend together and seem very dark. The only standout is the ice cave level.
The game uses music to convey the conflicted emotions of Jericho Cross. It does a great job of doing so. In addition, every voice actor sounds perfect for the role they were given. The few standouts are Tala played by Rose McGowan, Cartwright played by Michael Bell, and of course Lazarus played by the fantastic Keith Szarabajka. In addition, Darkwatch managed to secure the rights to the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and they have their own remix.
When this game was developed they wanted it to be a combination of Halo and Silverado, I think that’s exactly what they got. This game is a first person shooter with a few things that make it unique. Since Jericho Cross is a vampire, he has certain vampiric abilities. From the start, Jericho has a blood shield which is basically a regenerating shield, double jump, and blood vision which highlights enemies and other important objects.
Darkwatch has a sort of morality system built into the game. You can either be a force of good and try to rid the world of Lazarus’ curse, or become evil and basically become the new Lazarus. If you choose the good side you get certain vampire powers such more bullet damage, stronger shields, or bolts of lightning striking enemies. If you pick evil you steal the life of enemies, or turn enemies to your side. They try to balance good and evil so both are fun, but evil is so much better. Mainly this is because if you pick evil you get the ability “Blood Frenzy” which grants immunity from damage and increased damage for your melee attacks. Now your melee attacks in this game are already overpowered, they seem stronger than bullets and are the best option for dealing with all enemies, except the flying ones… fuck them. Blood Frenzy makes melee attacks even more overpowered and make the game a breeze.
The action is occasionally broken up by on rails sections where you shoot from the back of your horse, or other sections where you drive a vehicle with a mounted Gatling gun on the back. In addition, you have some protect and escort missions. The biggest gameplay change are missions that take place during the day. The sun will take away all of Jericho’s powers and will hurt him.This game could have used some more variety in terms of missions, and more boss battles would have improved the game greatly.
The Xbox version of this game is the only one that features 16 person, online competitive multiplayer, although I’m sure no one is playing anymore.
You could also play local competitive Team Deathmatch against your friends in very large and dark maps. This makes it tough to find and kill your opponent. Guns and vampire power powerups are scattered throughout the maps. It’s a fun diversion.
In addition, you can play through the story mode with a friend in local co-op. You each play as a Darkwatch regulator instead of Jericho Cross, but Cross appears in the cutscenes, so there are inconsistencies everywhere.
Although it’s a repetitive, the short campaign ends before things get too stale. There are a few things that could’ve greatly improved the game, but that doesn’t make Darkwatch bad. The good and evil powers and multuiplayer add replay value, and it’s a fun game.
8 outta 10
Overall I really liked Darkwatch, and am glad it was suggested as an SGC Kickstarter review so I could finally play it. I wish it was a critical success so sequels could be made because apparently they were going to have Darkwatch games in different time periods with different character.
If you see this game for cheap anywhere pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.
The Xbox version is pretty cheap online, but IDK... keep looking it's worth it.
Its a great one.
I remember seeing games for this ad, but no one actually trying it, though it looks like a solid fps for it's time.
I really wanna get this game, to bad I can't find it anywhere :(
it was fun until I lost my copy XD