The Darkness 2
I loved the comic book
of the Darkness and was thrilled when the first game came out, and got a
real kick out of playing my way through it. Iím a fan and I guess I have
a fan boyís enthusiasm for the title, but I do have an extremely
critical eye when it comes to spending mine and your money. I just
thought I should add that as Iíve been reviewing for a very long time
now and some people think you get a little jaded about the ďfreebiesĒ.
Not at all, over the years as your responsibilities increase, I find I
tolerate mediocrity less and less.
The story isn't one that you need to have bought the first
game in order to get the gist of what is going on here. Basically you
are Jackie Estacado, and an ancient spirit inhabits/shares your body and
all we know is that itís called The Darkness. What we do know is that it
has a whole host of badass abilities, not the least of which is allowing
you to survive some pretty major punishment.
You are the
leader of a crime family, and whilst they donít come out and say it,
there are plenty of allusions to the Mafia, along with the clichťd
accents and mannerisms. Jackie is a 21 year old wise guy with the voice
of a 40 odd year old. Odd. But I am sure that considering two demonic
entities spring forth from his arms with immense killing power, his
lackeys would have no issues with taking orders from the young leader.
I guess I should tell you this, the game is a first
person shooter, albeit with a bit of a difference. Darkness 2 glorifies
in bloody combat, just as it should in staying true to the comic and the
game that came before it. Itís a weird control system too, which you
will master fast enough, but essentially you will need to get used to
using L2 and R2 just as much as L1 and R1 as the 2ís control the
Darkness arms. The left arm is used to manipulate items and pick up dead
bodies, yes that is right, dead bodies and use them as weapons. You can
also use the right arm as your primary weapon and blood and gore flow
As the Darkness
can only function in.... well, the darkness, it is a learning experience
to keep Jackie out of the light and in the safety of the dark. Lights
are often in your way so you need to find ways to destroy them or work
around them. Enemies are often equipped with light guns that will keep
you pinned in the shadows, waiting for the chance to strike. In the
dark is where Jackie's powers (which can be purchased by spending energy
from kills) work best.
Playing through the game is an engaging experience, made
all the more so by the story which really goes above and beyond what you
would normally expect from a shooter. I must confess that it kept me on
my toes throughout the entire game as Jackie is kept on his toes
wondering if he is going insane, or if the world of the Darkness is his
reality. There are so many twists and turns to keep you going throughout
that tipped this game over an eight out of ten score for me. One scene
in particular was the utter moment that I went from thinking it was a
neat story to a great one, and itís one that I so badly want to tell
you, but it will trash the tale for you and this is a game that is worth
playing through to the very end.
When I say play
through to the end, I do mean that. Yes Iím going to spoil something for
you but I also hope you thank me. After the credits there is a small
playable scene and movie highly relevant to the rest of the game. I
donít know if this scenario plays out if you skip the credits, so donít!
Here is something for you to keep this objective... The
enemies are on the repetitive side. By that I mean that they throw the
same bad guys at you all the time throughout the entire game, even when
toward the end things have changed and you are fighting in a different
location, all theyíve done is reskin the characters. I know Iím being
ambiguous by saying different location but once again it boils down to a
key storyline detail that will wreck the fun this title provides if I
tell you. Hopefully itíll be enough for THQ to know just how much of a
kick I got out of this one without buggering up the surprises they have
instore for you.
style is very unique and something that I canít recall having seen
before. At first you just want to say itís another cell shaded title,
but itís way more than that and then some. The outlines of people and
objects are most certainly outlined in the way cell shading is
traditionally done but then the rest of it is finished in what appears
to be a painted style. It looks incredible and is a very cool way of
bringing the game to life.
The audio in the
game is excellent and really adds to the immersive nature of the story.
The soundtrack is ambient, ramping up during times of action and then
subsiding again. Environmental effects are amazing, the soundscape
creating a living, breathing environment. Weapons fire is realistic and
fills up your speakers with awesome booms and rattles. The sound is so
good in fact it becomes a character in itís own right. That character is
called The Darkness!
The voice of the Darkness is downright creepy, at times
scaring the heck out of me. It ratchets up and down your eardrums to
great effect. The guys who made the game also incorporated the Dual
Shock controllers vibration feature to work with the Darkness audio so
quite literally at least twice I nearly dropped the controller when the
Darkness spoke/shrieked at me. It was utterly freakiní awesome.
All things said
and done I loved this game. It looked good, sounded great and the
storyline was something I consider quite special with its twists and
turns. Yes the enemies repeated themselves a hell of a lot but the story
carried at such a pace that you didnít really care. I would find it hard
to believe that almost any fan of shooters wouldn't like this story. I
will warn you that it does embrace its own high level of gore with
special moves called executions that eviscerate foes. The Darkness II is
a total bloodbath that delights in its own malevolence. Highly enjoyable
and of course highly recommended.