Dripping with visceral style, and bloody atmosphere.
As a comic book fan, I try to pick up every game like The Darkness 2, because I enjoy recreating the experience in an interactive environment. Well, The Darkness 2 delivers on that experience with its no holds barred, violence driven attention to detail. This game made me giggle with glee each time I ripped a man apart, or had one of my tentacles burst through his chest, Alien style. This game is not for the faint of heart, so don’t let your mother catch you playing it. The Darkness 2 tells the tale of Jackie Estacado; a Mafioso type who is living the American dream in the way that only a criminal can. Since the last game, he has taken over a noted crime family, and become the Don. You see the perks of this in the first five minutes of the game when he is escorted to his table, and two strippers are sitting there waiting for him. Of course, this all goes to hell with in a few minutes when a group of gun toting mobsters crash the joint and start shooting up the place. Jackie is injured in the initial attack, but is pulled to safety by his pal Vinnie. The two of them manage to escape, but not without paying a price. You see, Jackie is the inheritor of an interesting entity known as The Darkness. Since the last game, where he lost the love of his life, Jackie has been fighting The Darkness’ influence. The problem is, if he doesn’t let it out, he will die, so Jackie makes the only logical decision he can – embrace it. Once The Darkness is let loose upon the world, you are set upon a journey to find out who is after Jackie, and why they want The Darkness for themselves. The story isn’t Hollywood worthy, or even great comic worthy, but it is competent and interesting enough to keep you moving forward. The Darkness 2 isn’t a complicated shooter, but it is a lot of fun to play. The controls are simple enough for anyone to pick up and enjoy, but there is an upgrade system beneath the surface that makes you feel pretty powerful by the end of the game. I personally enjoyed eating hearts and throwing black holes, but others maybe enjoy beefing up gun play. There are three tiers for upgrading, and they all focus on different aspects of the game play. No matter what path you take, by the end of the game, you will feel like you can take on anyone. Of course I don’t want to paint the end game as a simple endeavor; there were plenty of challenges to keep me interested. The additional powers alone aren’t enough; you will need to use some skill. The graphics in this game, though not amazing, are perfect for the style used. Cell shading has never looked so right for a game before. The Darkness 2 has a strong comic book feel all the way through, and it creates an immersive atmosphere that really pulls your interests in. The character models throughout the game aren’t that varied, but it only becomes really noticeable towards the end. This is just a minor complaint though, since most of the time you are too busy spreading the blood to care what a certain enemy looked like until you are face to face with his mangled corpse. The sounds are competent enough that they never drag you out of the experience, but the voice acting is rather good, especially from Johnny Powell. His manic stuttering is almost perfect, and he ended up becoming my favorite characters in the game. Everyone else did a fine job as well, but Johnny just stands out. One of my favorite aspects of this game was the relics. This could have been a throwaway aspect of the game, where you just collect items and get points for it, but instead, each item goes into a room with other Darkness relics. In between missions you can go into the room and learn about all the interesting things you’ve picked up along the way. Each description is narrated by Johnny, who gives each item a little more personality. Being a nut for the occult, I really enjoyed this, but most probably wouldn’t care.
most of the time you are too busy spreading the blood to care what a certain enemy looked like
Vendettas is a fun single and multiplayer addition and adds a few hours of game play to an otherwise short narrative. In these side missions, you will play as one of four Darkness imbued characters who are set out to do whatever Jackie tells them to. The missions take place during the events of the single player campaign, and have a direct correlation to the story itself. There are points in the main story when Jackie needs things done, but is too busy exacting revenge to do it himself. Vendettas is the story of these missions. While I didn’t get the play the Co-op here, I did enjoy running through and shooting a few more people after the campaign was done. The Darkness 2 is for all intents a niche game, and a great one at that. If I could base this review on bias alone, I would rate it a 9/10. The problem is, this isn’t a game that will appeal to a wide audience, and while I may find virtue in certain aspects, I can see how others wouldn’t. There aren’t a lot of technical issues to keep this game from greatness, but the short campaign (I beat it in less than 10 hours) just isn’t enough to justify the sixty dollar expense. If there was more content here, this would easily be a 9/10, but I’m going have to give it 8/10 because games are expensive and they should offer more value for the buck. I can’t stress enough, if you enjoy ultra violence or are fans of comics, then get this game! If not, then you should wait until the price drops and then try it out.
The Bad: Violent, Campaign too short, not the most competent shooter,