Darkest of Days Performance Testing Reviewccokeman - September 20, 2009
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Darkest of Days is a historical first-person shooter that takes you through a maze of time periods and battles to try and change history, for the better. You play the game as Alexander Morris, a soldier who really gets the wrong end of a deal by getting transferred into the 7th Cavalry right before the battle of the Little Big Horn! If you know your history, this is where General George Armstrong Custer's troops met their grisly end. So how do you play a character that dies? Well the wonders of time travel allow Mr. Morris the opportunity of a lifetime, as he is rescued from certain death by a traveler from the future. When you come to, you have been brought to the briefing room to fill you in on the details of your mission. The opposition is trying to rewrite history to suit their needs and ultimately your goal is to prevent this from happening. Your tasks take you through the Civil War, World War I and II, and even the fleeting moments of Pompeii! Launched on September 8, 2009, Darkest of Days is brought to the masses from 8Monkey Labs for both PC and Xbox 360. For this game 8Monkey has broken away from the Unreal engine and developed an entirely new engine that goes by the name Marmoset. The Marmoset engine features an advanced AI and richly detailed landscapes. To get that realistic look 8Monkey has chosen to use Nvidia's Physx technology. Throughout the game, Physx technology is used to make the effects pop or come alive! I'll show you a few of the screen shots of the game, as well as seeing just what kind of perfromance you can expect with some of today's latest video cards.
One thing that stands out right away are some of the vistas you see while playing through the game. These four shots show how visually captivating and how well the game is put together. The top left is a scene where you are a sniper protecting Petrovich, one of the people you are sent to retrieve. The one on the top right is from the dying moments of Pompeii, as Mt. Vesuvius lets loose the gates of hell! The other two shots show the luscious greens you can expect to see in your travels
The water in the Civil War scenes is out of this world and reacts just like you would see in nature. In these two shots you can see the ripples in the water radiating away from the point of contact. The water is crystal clear and you can see the leaf debris along the bottom of the creek. What is more subtle are the reflections of the surrounding landscape on the water's surface. Pictures just dont do this effect justice. Can you notice the one thing in the pictures that just seems out of place? These shots are during the Civil War, while the weapon is from the 20th Century! This is a feature of the game where you will get to use weapons from different time periods to your advantage.
The weapon damage throughout the game is reactive. Wood splinters realistically and when those splinters hit the ground they react to it. While watching the in-game benchmark run, you can see the effects without concentrating on the game play. This way you can see what's really going on. The first two shots are consecutive and show the effect of the cannon shell exploding. Just through the cloud of smoke you can see the horse and rider that have been felled by the blast, while closer to the foreground the bodies of the soldiers are flying away from the blast. You can also see the dirt clouds thrown up by the blast and the leaves flying through the air.
The other effect that is really great would be the smoke and fog. After you fire your weapon, the smoke comes curling out of the barrel like a living, breathing thing. This smoke reacts to the wind and twists and curls while it is slowly whisked away by the wind. The fog reacts to the firing of weapons, as well as objects, such as horses and people walking through it. And much like any FPS game, when you get shot, you die. In Darkest of Days, you can tell you are on the edge of life by the bloody red haze that envelopes the screen!
Now that you have an idea of how the game looks, it's time to see how a cross section of today's top video cards perform in this game. Cards from both ATI and Nvidia will be represented.