You’re Jackie Estacado. You’re an italian Mafia hitman who is about to turn 21. Got that? Good. Now.. what you DON’T know is that your Estacado bloodline dooms you to inherit The Darkness. An ancient being from before the creation of time itself that twists and contorts it’s host into the emotionless vessel of evil and a literally immortal manifestation of the bringer of death… but you’re about to find out. Now, you are left for dead and swear to get revenge on the mob family that killed you. Well, you get your revenge and kill the Don of the family you once swore oath to, but in the process of all of this, your girlfriend Jenny has become collateral damage in the eyes of the mafia (they killed her in front of you). Still with me? Alright, that ends the recap of ‘The Darkness’. Now let’s skip ahead 12 or so years, to the family you now lead, and The Darkness you have sealed away for this long… Until now.
I won’t spoil the game for those of you who have yet to pick it up. My aim on this is to give you my point of view and some in-game insight on how it plays, compare it to the first installment, and to show you what this game brings to the table in terms of innovative gameplay. Class is in Session.
As previously stated, the game takes place 12 years after the first. A lot has happened since then, and a lot more is about to. One of the first things you’ll notice is the use of cellshaded graphics which are already different from the somewhat substandard 3D rendering of it’s early generation PS3 launch game counterpart. I’m normally not a huge fan of cellshading (I really didn’t like ‘Zelda: Wind Waker’ for this reason primarily), but being a game based on a graphic novel, I must say, it made my skin crawl with how well it worked. The Cellshading worked in concert with the sharp rendering of the characters and the details in Jackie’s signature M1911 handguns, plus the added effects of comic-like sketching on some smaller details like clothing wrinkles and bedsheets. Overall, Graphics would get a 7 out of 10.
Let’s continue into gameplay. If you have EVER picked up a control for an FPS game, you’ll eventually wish you could do more with your other hand other than weilding a gun. Well with recent games, dual-wielding has gone from being innovative to standard with games like ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Battlefield’, and ‘Medal of Honor’ having hit shelves. Well, ‘The Darkness II’ has dual-wielding as well, but square that. That’s Dual-Wielding², also now known as Quad-Wielding. ‘Darkness II’ introduces quad-wielding to its already quite immersive gameplay. Difference being is that unlike the first game where you had to choose between Jackie or the Darkness (only being a single recon, snake-like killer… unless it was a special thing), you can now use Dual-wielding Jackie AND both personalities of the Darkness. One being a slash attack and the other being a grab. Let me put this in perspective for you. You’re running into a room of dudes all shooting you and junk. You’re dualing submachine guns in both hands. you reload and while you do, you’re slashing them with one demon, and grabbing them out of the air and performing an instant-execution with the other. Still not in perspective? How about this? Dual-wielding some guns, use both Darkness demons to pull off a car/van door and use it as a shield AS you light up some enemies. Throw the door across the stage as high speed, choppin’ enemies into mush, grabbing not-so-nearby ammo and auto equipping it with the demon arm and slashing others in some not-so-dainty manners of violation and brutalities… WHILE STILL FIRING OFF YOUR DUAL-WIELDED GUNS! The possibilites are endless to create bloody, gory, and just plain wrong executions that could replenish health, ammo and possibly power you up in the long run. Here’s the E3 trailer of the game, which sums up how the game looks and plays. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2quaj3iTSyY] Get it now? Good. Gameplay and Innovation gets an 8.5 out of 10. Oh, and the light is bad for you… very bad for you…
The multiplayer option in ‘The Darkness II’ isn’t quite like what you would expect. I’m not quite sure how I would put it, so I’ll just explain it briefly. You choose one of four playable characters (none of them Jackie). You’re all mercenaries. You have missions to complete. As you play, others can join in as any other character and assist you in completing these quite challenging missions. Each character also has unique Darkness abilities that can come in handy when you’re being overwhelmed with gunfire coming at you from all 360° around you. Multiplayer gets a 5 out of 10.
Let’s see what the scores are that we have…
Graphics: 7 out of 10
Gameplay/Innovation: 8.5 out of 10
Multiplayer: 5 out of 10
I’m going to add more ratings here so let’s see…
Difficulty: 8 out of 10 (damn those brotherhood scientists and their lights)
Replayability value: 3 out of 10
Replayability value isn’t too high. Once you beat the game, you can play it again to collect the relics you missed, and keep the upgrades you already have gotten from your previous playthrough, but other than that, I don’t see myself going through the same story again just to collect relics.
OVERALL RATING: 6.5 Shots
Not a bad night there. 6.5 shots? Enough to get you happy… but you couldn’t get that last half down??