In the future, biological warfare has become a reality. Haz-mat suits and breathing masks are now the norm, and those without protection have become hideous walking undead creatures, driven mad by the pain of their infection, fuelled by nothing but violence and anger.
It is in this world that you play Hayden Tenno, a Special Forces clean-up man who suffers from a disease called congenital analgia, which renders him incapable of feeling pain. Sent on an assassination mission to the virus-ravaged nation of Lasria, Hayden is attacked by a mysterious antagonist and infected with the same virus that is affecting the entire country.
When Hayden is exposed to the virus, his inability to feel pain means he doesn't become a monster like other sufferers. Instead it mutates his right arm, giving him the ability to grow a three-bladed weapon, known as a glaive, at will. Now, under fire from all sides, Hayden must make his way back home while finding out who is behind the plot to kill him.
Dig your own Glaive
All the action takes place from a third person, over-the-shoulder viewpoint, very similar to the one seen in Resident Evil 4 or Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Unlike those games however, the main weapon you'll be using throughout Dark Sector is the Glaive. Razor-sharp and three bladed, the Glaive can be thrown from a distance, or used up close as a melee weapon.
As you progress through the game, you unlock new abilities for the Glaive ranging from being able to guide it in mid-flight using the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller, to using it to retrieve far-off weapons from enemy bodies. The Glaive can also be charged up to unleash a super-powerful throw that can cut enemies clean in two, and imbued with elemental properties such as fire and electricity to burn down doors and break electric locks.
You won't just be using the Glaive though - there are plenty of conventional weapons for you to use throughout the game. You start with a simple pistol, and money you find throughout the levels can be spent on new firearms such as shotguns and assault rifles, or on upgrading your existing weapon through a Resident Evil 4-style upgrade system. All this takes place in the underground black market - literally underground in this case as the weapons shops are located down hidden manholes throughout the levels.
You can use enemy weapons, but they are fitted with an infection-detecting detonator that will cause them to self-destruct if they spend too long in the hands of an infected person like Hayden. You're going to have to learn how to use everything at your disposal to your advantage, as you'll be facing some monstrously tough enemies along the way, including Special Forces troops in haz-mat suits, infected humans driven mad from the pain and huge freakish monsters, mutated beyond recognition by biological weapons.
Dark Sector's visuals help to create a palpable sense of despair and hopelessness that ties in perfectly with the game's dystopian plotline. The washed out blues, blacks and greys are in sharp contrast to the vividly realistic character models and the brightly coloured haz-mat suits your enemies wear. The animation is fluid and lifelike, and some excellent cutscenes and voice acting all add to the impressive presentation.
In addition to the story-driven single-player mode, Dark Sector comes complete with some interesting multiplayer modes. The first mode, Infection, features one randomly selected player as Hayden, complete with powers and Glaive, while the other players all assume the role of enemy soldiers who have to try and take the Hayden player down as quickly as possible. The Epidemic mode is similar, but splits players into two teams, each with their own Hayden. The aim of the game is then to be the first team to kill the opposing team's Hayden. Both modes are interesting departures from the usual deathmatch modes and should keep fans playing long after the single-player mode is finished.
With its unique weapons, story and incredible atmosphere, Dark Sector is an engrossing thriller that gets its hooks into you and refuses to let go until the very end. Factor in stunning visuals and online play and you've got a worthy addition to any action fan's game library.