2009 Reviews

Darkest Of Days

  • Review Date: 2012-07
  • Release Date: 2009-09
  • Developer: 8monkey Labs
  • Rating: 6.5

8monkey Labs and Phantom EFX should have put more budget into paying off the reviewers. Perhaps then they could have made enough sales to enable further games. Instead Darkest Of Days flopped, barely heard of, and this looks to be 8monkey Labs only ever game. Which is a real shame because it's really not that bad for a developers first shooter.

It's clearly budget material and was probably released with a price tag a little too high. The premise and setting doesn't sound inspiring, the cover looks terrible. And of course the critics love to rip to pieces the budget shooters while their acclaimed Call Of Duty pulls the same tricks year after year yet is rewarded for it.

Darkest Of Days is a time travel adventure. It takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and the German World War II prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III.

It's a nice plot set up, but doesn't really live up to it's potential. You spend half of the game trying to track down two civilians for unknown reasons, and the entire story doesn't really make much sense until the last few minutes of the game when everything is roughly explained.

The levels themselves don't actually look too bad, especially good considering 8monkey Labs created their own engine. It lacks the post-processing effects of other mdoern engines (Unreal Engine), but most of the open terrain levels look good enough.

The combat is where Darkest Of Days treads a fine line. The enemies are often in large number on both sides, because you're fighting as part of a war. The rapid fire weapons are good fun, but the single fire Civil War era weapons are horribly slow. You fire, wait around three seconds to reload, then fire a single shot again. Rinse and repeat over again. It's very slow combat but it's designed to be realistic, and 8monkey Labs did achieve this. So I give them respect for maintening realism with the weapons in the different time zones.

This game does take a bit of time to get into it. The first few levels I was unimpressed but as the game wore on I started to like it more. I think mainly because I got used to the weapons; their pros and cons.

One interesting aspect to the combat is that you don't have to be perfectly accurate. If you miss an enemy by a foot or two, you'll still get them. I know a lot of players won't like this, but when you're dealing with single shot weapons, it'll get too frustrating having to be 100% accurate all the time.

Overall the game is pretty fun and even a decent length for a first person shooter. The story needed better development and the combat might not be for everyone, but in my opinion this is a much under-rated shooter.