The Darkness II

Old Blood And Guts

The Darkness II tears into your PS3. Then rips it in half. And eats its heart.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: March 11, 2012
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Way back before the PS3 had cool stuff like trophies and cross-game chat (oh… what's that?), they still made games believe it or not. Those were actually dark times, with precious few quality games to play on your $600 gaming media center. Those dark times did produce the occasional gem though, and one of the darker titles to guide us through the dark period was The Darkness. Featuring an innovate combination of melee and gunplay tied to a highly compelling narrative, that first game from Starbreeze Studios might still be best known for letting you watch the entirety of "To Kill A Mockingbird" in-game but there was a solid game there too.

Starbreeze has since moved on to Syndicate, but before they left they turned the keys to The Darkness over to Digital Extremes (best known for Solar Winds and Epic Pinball, right?) who put their own spin on the series and churned out The Darkness II. They kept a lot of the same tone (and the constant implementation of the first person view throughout the whole game) while smoothing out a few of the rough edges the first game had. Did we need more of The Darkness though?

Shit. Fuck. Fucking shit. Shitty Fuckers. Fuckers shit fucking shitty shit. That's a lot of what I took away from the continuing tale of Jackie Estacado. The narrative picks up several years after the end of the first game, with Jackie being in control of the crime family. He's managed to keep the Darkness repressed all this time but a traumatic event frees the beast and sets the stage for a decent story centered around The Brotherhood, a cult-like entity out to grab the darkness for their own avatar of evil. Those who are into the comic (this is all [loosely] based on a Top Cow comic series) will find the story sets its own course independent of the canon, but the spirit is still there with bucket of gratuitous gore and some salty dialogue.

Some changes have also been made to the core gameplay. While the gunplay hasn't been tweaked all that much and won't make you forget about Call of Duty, the melee system has seen a radical overhaul. The Darkness still manifests itself as a pair of tentacles that feed on the hearts of your fallen enemies, but now you have more control over their actions. By holding down one of the shoulder buttons, you can freely wave the arms around using the right analog stick. Besides letting you gut the bad guys in creative ways, you'll also use this power to cut wires and open doors and basically just about everything. The Darkness has a much more active role this time around. Also missing are some of the slower-paced powers from the first game, such as the ability to send out an exploratory tentacle. Rather than summon random Darklings to help in the fight, you have a more permanent one deck out in a sweet Union Jack t-shirt (so punk!). They've also added in some gnarly execution moves whenever you grab a scumbo with your tentacles, and depending on which move you do you'll get back some health, ammo, or shields.
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