REVIEW - The Darkness II
It’s been almost 5 years since the last time gamers were able to step into the shoes of Jackie Estacado. The Darkness II takes place two years after the events of the first game (it‘s not necessary to have played the first game, but doing so does add a little more depth to the story), and Jackie has been able to control, and keep out the super-natural force that is the Darkness out of his body. But what fun would playing as a regular guy in control of his inner demons be? Good thing too, since within the first few minutes of the game, the Darkness comes back into Jackie’s life; and the fun begins.
The story in The Darkness II begins with a hit being placed on Jackie‘s life, and all hell breaking loose. On the verge of death, Jackie calls upon the powers of the Darkness. Jackie plays host to this supernatural entity, and a key plot-point is who is in control of who. As the Darkness vies for control over Jackie’s body. Jackie is haunted by hallucinations of his murdered girlfriend, and would do anything to save her soul.
There is also the secret organization that’s come to take the Darkness away from Jackie, and they think they’re the good guys. At first this sounded like it could have been a great contrast between Jackie and the mafia; but it quickly becomes apparent that the secret organization is far more cruel than Jackie and his compatriots. There are some problems with the plot, and I could see some twists coming, but it‘s still engrossing throughout.. The story being placed center-stage is one of The Darkness II’s strongest features; and just like the first game, it really kept me interested up until the very end.
There’s also some very intriguing moments in a metal institution, but I’d rather keep quiet about that. It‘s safe to say, those are some of the .strangest moments the game has to offer.
SOUND AND VIDEO:
The graphics lose the dark grittiness of the first game, in favor of a cel-shaded look that gives the game a more unique “comic-book” feel. It looks great, but the game was a bit too bright for it’s namesake. The game also runs well, and has a consistent frame-rate throughout.
The games sound is equally as good, with every gunshot, blood-curdling cry, and flesh being sliced coming out nice and clear. The voice-acting is also top-notch, and listening to the Darkness (voiced by Faith No More‘s Mike Patton) may send chills down your spine.
Of equal treat is listening to Jackie’s interactions with the Darkling, and the Darkness itself. I was actually a little disappointed that the Darkness doesn’t get to interact with Jackie more
The player is able to control Jackie, and two demon arms that protrude out of Jackie. The player can choose to shoot his way through the game (I.E: be boring), or use the demon arms to tear and maim everyone in their way. There are many ways to dispatch your foes, shooting them, slashing them, throwing the Darkling at them, tossing objects at them that will either impale them or by a number of other nasty deaths. Jackie can also pick up enemies with the demon arms, and can execute them with the press of a button; though by the end of the game, you will have seen the executions used over, and over.
Three Darklings could be used in the first Darkness, though only one can be used in The Darkness II. The game is also pretty short. I was able to complete the game in under 6 hours. There’s also a New Game + option that allows you to replay the game with all of the powers and abilities you’ve already unlocked intact.
Enemies aren’t the brightest, but they know when to take cover, and use debilitating flashlights and stun grenades often. There are still quite a lot of enemies in the game to seem to ignore the cries of agony emanating from their comrades, and just continue to rush towards you.
The game is very linear, and by the end of the game; you’ll have decapitated more heads, and devoured more hearts than you’ll know what to do with. This feeling of repetitiveness isn’t helped by the minimal amount of guns available in the game. Luckily, the game’s short length actually helps eliminate some of the repetitiveness.
There is also a cooperative multiplayer mode available, but it should be regarded to as an extra. Since players do not play as Jackie in this mode, and playing without the Darkness powers just isn’t as fun.
Despite its short-length, and a little bit of repetitiveness, The Darkness II provides a dark, and satisfying ride; as it proves that eviscerating your enemies is just way too much fun. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another 5 years for Jackie to return into the gaming limelight.
Recommended Purchase Price: $20-$30.
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
The Darkness II earns it’s Mature rating by having intense violence, lots of blood, gore, and strong language throughout. This is NOT a game for children.