First Thoughts: The Darkness II
The Darkness successfully transitioned from a much-loved graphic novel to a popular story-driven first-person shooter for PS3 and Xbox 360. Players itching to continue the tale of demonized mobster Jackie Estacado will be surprised with the action, story, and new darkness powers that The Darkness 2 brings to the table.
For a behind the scenes look in to The Darkness 2, check out our developer interview with Digital Extremes Project Director Sheldon Carter.
Here are our first thoughts:
One of the biggest things that Darkness fans will notice is the wonderful cel-shaded look that separates this game from the rest of the FPS pack. Fans will also notice that the action is far more intense than the first game. Gunplay is refined to the point that I don’t think I could go back and play the first one after trying the sequel. I loved how much easier it was to aim and shoot this time around. Guns also had a weighty feel to them, each shot fired felt real and powerful. And of course I have to mention all the John Woo-inspired stylish shootouts peppered throughout the demo.
Extreme violence is the name of this game. (Actually, it’s The Darkness 2 – Lee) As expected from the adventures of Jackie Estacado, the game opens with him being brutally nailed to a cross; a type of torture no normal man could endure. From there, Jackie gets his legs ripped to shreds, blown up, shot and mangled; all in a span of two minutes. Gorehounds will find lots to love about this game.
Of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without Jackie’s signature Darkness tentacles and Darkling. Players control demon arms with the R2/L2 shoulder buttons, while aiming and shooting guns using the L1/R1 buttons on the Ps3. Of course having to control four arms takes some getting used to, but after a few mintues, i got the hang of it and was ripping mafiosos in half while shooting others in the face.
Unlike Jan, the demo for The Darkness 2 was my first experience with anything Darkness related, comic or video game. I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, the mix of FPS and rail shooting seemed pretty generic but with the inclusion of some surprisingly strong characters, dark storytelling and wicked humour (Darklings FTW!).
The Darkness 2 doesn’t shy away from violence. I quickly found myself experimenting with close-up tentacle kills, a variety of guns, and versatile throwable weapons from the environment. Having four arms to play with really adds options to the game. It’s hard not to enjoy a game that forces you to answer difficult questions such as “Do I eat this man’s heart for health or crush him anaconda-style for extra XP?”
Speaking of XP, killing dudes, destroying lights, and finding relics all adds to your cache of points that let you access unlockable bonuses that improve darkness attacks, health regeneration and ammo capacity.
Judging from the demo, The Darkness 2 is a must-have for anyone who’s looking for a bloodbath FPS that is smeared with supernatural goodness. I’m looking forward to the full game.
The Darkness II is scheduled for North American release February 7, 2012.