We’ve all had them, haven’t we? At one time or another, we’ve all pondered the idea of time travel and what uses we would make of it. Some would decide on an altruistic use, wondering what a world without Adolf Hitler or Al Gore would be like. Others take a more pecuniary route, planning a stock portfolio populated with thousands of shares of Microsoft, Google, and Enron stock. Hey, even time travelers can make a few mistakes, right?
Some take a middle, more pragmatic approach. Those folks realize that if one person has the ability to travel through time, others are quite likely to have it as well. To them, this presents an unacceptably high risk that someone will go back and change something that alters the course of time such that we are no longer able to purchase a Barack Obama Chia Pet in the year 2009. Oh, the horror! These poor, tortured souls envision something more akin to a law enforcement role for themselves, whereby they travel through time either preventing others from making changes in the first place, or repairing the delicate fabric of time after the fact.
Which, at long last, brings us to Darkest of Days, brought to you by the awesomely named 8monkey Labs. For anyone concerned by the name of the development studio, rest assured that no chimpanzees or rhesus monkeys were harmed in the creation of this game, or so they say. Pursuant to the time travel discussion above, Darkest of Days inserts you, as a character named Alexander Morris, into a story revolving around an organization named KronoteK whose stated purpose is to prevent and repair damage to the timeline. Morris is essentially drafted into KronoteK after being rescued from a near certain demise during the Battle of Little Big Horn. After a brief training period, Morris and his trainer/mentor/partner Dexter are assigned missions by a sultry-voiced super computer and transported to and from different eras by means of a large, liquid sphere. Yeah, that’s a bit odd, but given that none of us really know what a time travel apparatus would look like, we have no basis to argue against its realism.
The stated purpose of the missions is to find and rescue individuals that are critical to maintaining the continuity of the timeline, but have found themselves somehow misplaced from where they should be. Unfortunately for Dexter and Morris, these two people have gotten themselves misplaced into some very dangerous places. One is facing an untimely (so to speak) end in the Civil War, and the other is facing stiff odds against survival in WWI. Or, as I like to call it, The War Before Call of Duty. Finding and rescuing these wayward soldiers requires Dexter and Morris to insert themselves squarely into the middle of large scale battles, survive those battles, and track down a single person in all of the ensuing mess. Sure, it helps that the person in question is surrounded by a bright orange aura, but still… there is quite bit of real estate to cover in the quest.
For those players weaned on any of the plethora of WWII or more modern war games, it will be fun for them to find themselves fighting in bloody battles using musket loaders and single shot carbines. As with most shooters, the enemy guns will more than likely be better than the archaic weapons provided by your side. This is certainly the case in the battles where a dead enemy can be found clutching a Henry Repeating Rifle in his cold, dead hands. Having to depend on slow firing, slow loading firearms presents a somewhat new challenge to players used to machine guns, plasma rifles, and the BFG. It’s actually a shame that the designers didn’t restrict the game to that model. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before you find yourself toting around a post-modern, futuristic machine gun or repeating shot gun. Hey, there’s even an ultra-cool bomblet tossing thingy that you can use to hammer the Kaiser’s finest.
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