Saturday, January 1, 2011

Most Potential 2010 // Dark Void

The "Most Potential" award goes to the game that sounded awesome on paper and had real flashes of brilliance, but could still be so much more. Hopefully this game will get a sequel that can deliver on its promise.

Dear Dark Void,

Remember the first time we leapt off that cliff together and activated the jetpack? And those UFOs came chasing after us and we had to do some pretty fancy flying to take them out? They were no match for us. We were a great team.

Or how about the time we had to destroy that crazy, rotating cylinder? Where, instead of taking cover behind those moving platforms, I just rocketed past everything, set it to self-destruct, then flew past everything again to escape? Wow, what a rush! Those were some really fun times.

But I also remember you taking me on lots of incredibly generic third-person shooting adventures too. Those were never your strength, so I don't really understand why you did that. We were having such a good time mixing ground and air combat that I just don't get why you insisted on having missions that focused on one or the other. Staying solely on the ground highlighted that you were pretty bland as a third-person shooter, and staying solely in the air highlighted that you weren't a fantastic air combat game either.

When we first started seeing each other, things were really exciting! You're different than the other games I've played in the past. You had some really cool, fresh twists on an established genre; ideas that I still think sound fantastic. And occasionally, they were. But too often, you fell back on tired gameplay tropes we've both seen elsewhere, done better.

Why didn't you stick with the concepts of dynamic environments, vertigo-inducing scenarios, and nonlinear levels, designed to allow freedom of play style with the jetpack? Sometimes, it felt like we were revolutionaries, man. Breaking new ground. Changing the world. But too often, it felt like we were just playing it safe.

But the thing is, I know you can become the game for me. You really impressed me with your creative ideas and visionary ambition. You always felt like you were on the cusp of something wonderful, something truly amazing. With a little effort, I think know you can soar to heights other games could only dream of.

I believe in you, Dark Void. Hopefully I'll see you again soon.


Runners-up: Split/Second, Heavy Rain

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