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Darkest of Days Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With such an intriguing concept behind it, Darkest of Days only succeeds at squandering a good idea. It's a time travel game that seems content with just showing you what you've already seen before. Want to go to World War II again? Well, you don't have a choice. And the American Civil War and World War I aren't much better. Throw in some severe performance issues and you have one of the worst first-person shooters of the year! Rating: 10%
Darkest of Days
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  • Review Score:

  • D-
Without a doubt, Phantom EFX has published one of the bleakest first-person shooters in recent memory. You play a time traveling soldier with the unenviable task of going back to some of humanity's most depressing moments. We're talking about time periods full of despair, hopelessness and injustice. And just when you thought that was bad enough, they turn around and call the game Darkest of Days. It looks like I'll be needing that Prozac prescription refilled after all.

The story here is completely ludicrous, to such an absurd level that it actually gets in the way. Usually I'm all for an intriguing time travel adventure, but the story it's wrapped in makes absolutely no sense. Apparently in the future a company known as KronoteK has figured out a way to travel through time and unravel some of history's biggest mysteries. Unfortunately, doing this has created some problems that require fixing.

Darkest of Days (Xbox 360)

That's where you come in. Thanks to a clerical error (yes, this entire story happens because of paperwork), you have been transported from 1876 (where you are in the middle of the Battle of Little Big Horn) to the 22nd century. Your job is to go back in time and collect and rescue several war heroes and make sure you haven't disrupted anything significant in the time stream. Of course, that's easier said than done. Your quest will take you through some of this planet's darkest days, including the American Civil War, World War I and World War II.

But here's the problem, it doesn't make sense to draft a fighter from the 19th century. I simply do not buy that this young kid who was about to die in 1876 is able take on multiple sides of World War I and get himself out of trouble in World War II. What's more, he doesn't bat an eye when he sees his first automobile and airplane. And let's not forget that he seems to be an expert at using weapons that were invented hundreds of years in the future. The whole concept is baffling. Why not just bring somebody from the future back, at least then they would be adequately trained to take on these enemies.

In what can only be called a predictable twist, there seems to be another group of time travelers who seem to be trying to mess up your mission. Who are these people and why are they fighting against you? This completely generic mystery ends up being the crux of the story, all the way up to the less than convincing ending sequence. Even when everything is revealed, it seems like there could have been another way. If we're dealing with time travel, then why not just go further back and fix this before it got out of hand?

Darkest of Days (Xbox 360)

Perhaps it's apropos that a game about the distant past feels like it's from generations ago. When playing Darkest of Days I had a hard time believing that this was a product in the 21st century. This is a game that gets many of the most basic gameplay mechanics wrong. It's trying to be Call of Duty, but fails in every possible way. For one thing the computer-controlled characters (on both sides) are complete morons. Your allies barely react when being shot at and the enemies lose track of you even when they're looking right at you. You'll also find that the aiming and basic gun play never feels right, mostly because you're using such crummy weapons. Having to reload after every shot tends to slow the action down.

When you first load up a level you'll think that you're in a giant open world. Unfortunately, each area is built around a series of frustrating invisible walls. What's especially annoying is when your checkpoint is right in front of you, but you can't get up that hill because there's a wall blocking your path. And to make matters worse, if you get too far away from the pack, you'll instantly die. No warning, straight to the continue screen.
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