Darkstar One: Broken Alliance

5.0 Overall Score

Written by on October 30, 2010 in

Have you ever wanted to pilot your own starship and travel to distant star systems only to do repetitive, mundane tasks for various alien species?  Well, Darkstar One: Broken Alliance is just the game for you.

Overview
Darkstar One: Broken Alliance was made by developer Gaming Minds, published by Kalypso Media and was released on July 20, 2010 for the Xbox 360.  The game is actually a port of the PC game “Darkstar One” which was released back in 2006 so it’s a very strange move to have this game released for a console so many years later.  The game as a whole, holds up pretty well after all those years, but it’s definitely showing it’s age.

Story
In Darkstar One: Broken Alliance you play as Kayron, a young space cadet who inherits a starship, the Darkstar One, from his murdered father.  The Darkstar One is no ordinary ship though, it has the unique ability to be upgraded by use of hidden artifacts found throughout the galaxy.  By using his newly acquired ship, Kayron vows to stop at nothing to bring down his fathers murderer which means that he’ll have to fly to many star systems to search for clues for his whereabouts.  Along the way, you will meet many different alien species and characters that eventually will help you on your quest.  Overall, it’s a pretty good story, but it becomes very predictable and it even steals themes that feel very much like Star Wars.  I am a big fan of Star Wars, so this didn’t bother me too much, but I found myself wishing I was playing an actual Star Wars game so that’s not a good thing.

Got Salt?

Gameplay
Darkstar One is a pretty unique space flight simulator that really doesn’t resemble anything on the Xbox 360 at this time.  What’s great about the game is that right from the start, you get a massive amount of freedom on where to go and what to do, the entire galaxy is your playground.  The galaxy is also very large, consisting of over 300 star systems, talk about freedom!  Although you have all that freedom, your ship’s level will restrict you from moving further, to correct this, you will need to collect artifacts so you can upgrade your ship, the only problem is that they are hidden.  When I say “hidden, I don’t mean that you will be flying around for hours trying to find one, rather, the game kindly points you to where these artifacts are, but all of them are out of the way and take a few minutes to reach.  Once you have collected enough artifacts, you will be eligible for a ship upgrade.  This is where the game shines, you have complete control on how you will upgrade the Darkstar One and it becomes quite fun trying to figure out what upgrade you will make on your ship.

Even though Darkstar One offers immense freedom and an addicting upgrade system, something has to be said about the story missions.  As you work your way through the story, you will be going on various story missions and side quests that will take you to the distant corners of the galaxy.  The problem here is that there is very little variety on the mission types and you will end up doing one of about six different missions over and over again till you beat the game.  This really doesn’t become a problem during the first few hours as you are still becoming accustomed to the game, but it quickly becomes a repetitive grind and very boring.  I really wish the game would have had more variety, it would have made the experience more enjoyable.

Visuals
The visuals for the game are hit and miss.  The majority of the game takes place in space and the graphics here are quite realistic and beautiful.  Throughout the game, you will be flying through many different star systems and each one is unique in its design and they all look really good.  The problem is with the cut scenes.  The visuals in these scenes seem very dated and fall short by today’s standards.  Considering that the story is told through these cut scenes, the bad visuals stick out and are very noticeable.  It feels like these scenes were from the original 2006 release of the game on PC and they don’t hold up in 2010.

“Flying is not like dusting crops kid”

Achievements
The achievements in Darkstar One are not too hard, but a couple of them will take you a few hours extra to unlock.  Most of the achievements are acquired by just playing through the story and doing normal tasks, but if you want the full 1000 gamerscore, you’re gonna have to put the time into it.  One achievement in particular requires you to land on 300 different trade stations which is just about every one in the game so you better make a list of those that you’ve been to.  Another achievement is unlocked by robbing 100 cargo ships which takes roughly 3 hours to do. So overall, it’ not a hard achievement list, but it will take some patience.

Closing thoughts
I was looking forward to play Darkstar One: Broken Alliance and I really wanted to love it, but I’m afraid that the game fell short of my expectations.  I absolutely loved the unique upgrade system for your starship and I thought that the visuals while in space were beautiful, but the rest of the game really let me down. For the first 5 hours, the game was great, but after that, it felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again.  Darkstar One is not a bad game, but I wouldn’t  say it’s particularly good either.  There might be some people that will love this game and I think that’s great, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them.


A copy of Darkstar One: Broken Alliance was provided to TMG for the purposes of evaluation and review.

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Author: Miles Messenger View all posts by
I'm a 28 year old guy who enjoys all things gaming. I am married to a wonderful woman who is working on a career as a published author and I'm so proud of her for all that she's accomplished. For my day job, I am a supervisor at a Home Warranty company. It's not the greatest job, but it brings in the bacon.

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