Gaming & Technology

'DarkStar One,' on Xbox, is big fun for 'Wing Commander' fans

DarkStar One, on the Xbox 360, is ported from a 4-year-old PC game. The strategic possibilities are varied, but the genre hybrid suffers from gameplay repetition.
DarkStar One, on the Xbox 360, is ported from a 4-year-old PC game. The strategic possibilities are varied, but the genre hybrid suffers from gameplay repetition. Games Press

DarkStar One: Broken Alliance is unique on the Xbox 360. Developed by Gaming Minds Studios, this space combat simulation is ported from a 4-year-old PC game.

It stands alone simply because these types of games are not published anymore. It's sad for fans of this genre, but it's a truth: Space combat simulations simply aren't readily available on current-generation consoles.

But if you enjoyed Wing Commander all those years ago, then you will enjoy DarkStar One.

Players assume the role of young fighter pilot Kayron, whose father has just been killed while working on a new top-secret spacecraft. Kayron inherits the spacecraft, the DarkStar One, and proceeds to hunt down his father's elusive killers.

During the game, players will acquire alien artifacts that interface with the ship and allow the DarkStar to evolve in a variety of ways. There are limited artifacts and many evolution possibilities, which make for an interesting endgame.

Some players will have completely offensive deadly fighter ships; other players might end with a large defensive trading shuttle that is ready to fight off any mercenary attack on its cargo.

The game was designed as a hybrid of many genres, which works both to its advantage and to its disadvantage. Once the main story is started, the world is open, and players are allowed to pursue one of many avenues of gameplay. Whether smuggling illegal goods, hunting pirates, trading items or simple reconnaissance, there are many options for players beyond the main story line.

This works well in the beginning of the game, as the varied gameplay keeps the interest level high and allows players to do many different things. However, a few hours into the game, the disadvantages of this hybrid delivery becomes apparent: repetition. DarkStar One is very much a jack of all trades, master of none. Each distinct gameplay style is shallow, and once players have spent some time in each one, well, get ready to rinse and repeat for a long time.

Since this game is a port of a 4-year-old PC game, the graphics are not going to impress anyone, but the flying and fighting aspects of the game are solid and fun. This type of game is hard to come by in today's world, so if you were a fan of the old Wing Commander titles, this is definitely for you. Just go in with a bit of patience, and you will enjoy yourself immensely.

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