Darkness II, The (Video Game)
Developed by Digital Extremes
Published by 2K Games
Rated M (Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content)
Available on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed) and PC
The Darkness began as a comic by Top Cow Productions, Inc. back in 1996. Its legacy grew from there, and in June 2007, The Darkness video game was released for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Since then, the cult comic and game have grown in popularity and fame, and now, the story continues in The Darkness II.
The Darkness II continues the story of Jackie Estacado--the main protagonist in the series who controls the power of The Darkness. The sequel picks up two years after the events of the first game. Jackie still hasn't gotten over the loss of his girlfriend Jenny despite the fact that he killed the men who were responsible for her death. He sadly continues his life as Don of the Franchetti crime family; however, there are others that would like the power of The Darkness for themselves. After an attempt on Jackie's life, the once contained Darkness within Jackie awakens and sends him spiraling into a head on collision with another mob family while thoughts of Jenny still run rampant through his mind.
The story of The Darkness II is a touching one that anyone who has lost a loved one can understand and appreciate. It's also easy for anyone to pick up and play the title even without extensive knowledge of the series' history. The storyline often contradicts the gory violence and action presented throughout most of the game, but Digital Extremes makes it work for their game. The Darkness II is a shooter at heart, and the storyline is one of the deepest you'll find in the genre.
One of the unique gameplay mechanics The Darkness II presents is in the quad-wielding aspect of the game. The Darkness creates another set of demon-like arms for Jackie to utilize in combat. The Darkness also comes with a number of useful skills in combat such as super strength that will allow Jackie to throw enemies long distances or rip doors off of cars for cover or the ability to consume hearts and perform other grotesque actions for bonus experience points. Experience points gained in the game will allow Jackie to unlock even more special abilities and keep the game interesting for far longer.
The powers of The Darkness cannot be used in the light, so you must be careful to stay in dark areas to utilize the full extent of Jackie's powers. Of course, most all of these things were available to you in the first The Darkness, but everything has been overhauled for the sequel to make combat a much more fun and fluid experience.
An interesting new addition to The Darkness II is the character known as the Darkling. The Darkling is a creepy little creature created by The Darkness that acts as Jackie's companion during the game. He will guide Jackie to important items, give out important information such as enemies' weaknesses and offer some comedic relief, but the Darkling is also useful in other aspects. Jackie can take control of the Darkling to get stealthy kills or to access previously unreachable areas.
The biggest drawbacks in the game are its length and difficulty. You will probably finish the game in around 5-6 hours and never really feel challenged as Jackie is extremely overpowered. You can crank up the difficulty and still manage to not die very often. The game does offer up a cooperative multiplayer mode called Vendettas, but even this mode is short-lived. It allows you to choose from one of four characters with unique powers and team up with other players to complete missions that coincide with the original campaign.
The Darkness II is a really fun game that should be played by any fan of the series or the first-person shooter genre. It brings some awesome concepts to a genre that has been run dry with boring and uninspired ideas for years. The storyline is really intriguing and rewarding, and gameplay is fun even if too simplified. Be warned the game is short, so you may only want to give this game a rent rather than a purchase, but The Darkness II is a must play!
The game was released on February 7, 2012 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. For more information, check out the official The Darkness II website.
3 out of 5