The Darkness started out in 1996 as a comic book series that spawned a video game in 2007. The game went on to sell more than a million copies, and the sequel was planned. Finally, on February 7th 2K games unleashed The Darkness 2 upon the masses. This was my first taste of The Darkness, so lets get to it.
The Darkness 2 is the story of Jackie Estacado, a mob boss who has a family curse of sorts called The Darkness. It’s been two years since Jackie’s girlfriend Jenny was murdered, and Jackie is trying to cope with the loss. With the help of occultist Johnny Powell, Jackie has been keeping the Darkness bottled up, but it has been yearning to get out. After escaping an assassination attempt, Jackie is forced to unleash the Darkness and he quickly gives into the dark temptation as he hunts down those responsible.
Artistically, the Darkness 2 is phenominal. Written by comic book author Paul Jenkins, the plot and story are the main attraction here. The game even takes time between insane battles to occasionally slow things down and give you a story heavy chapter. Graphically, Digital Extremes chose to make the game a moving comic book which I believe was a smart choice to give the game it’s own personal look. Also worth noting is the voice over work which is fantastic. This really helps to make the characters feel like living breathing people which doesn’t always happen in a video game.
Now onto the most important aspect of a video game, the gameplay. The Darkness 2 is a first person shooter, but more in the style of an in your face arcade shooter over a strategic shooter like most games on the market. The enemies typically run straight towards you and you really don’t have much time to plan ahead and find a good place to take cover. Instead you’re usually doing your damnest to bounce back and forth between your firearms and your Darkness powers to do what you can to survive onslaught after onslaught. This was a slight negative to me, because I felt like occationally I won battles more by luckily mashing the buttons than I did my shooting abilities.
The main story will take roughly 8-10 hours to get through, but you trophy and achievement whores will have to run through the story at least twice to collect them all. On top of the main story is the Vendetta mode where you take a different mobster and a Darkness powered special weapon and go through some side missions linear to the main story. The Vendetta mode adds roughly 2 1/2 hours to the total game play, but with four different characters each with different magical weapons to use the replay value is there. The Vendetta mode is also the online co-op mode for those of you looking for that added value. There is an option on the games main menu for downloadable content, but nothing was available at this time, so I gotta guess there will be more content added in the future. As an added bonus for those you like me that were not familiar with The Darkness, the current limited edition also gives you a free download to read digital versions of The Darkness Origins Vol. 1 & 2 which collects 12 comic books giving you some back story.
Now for you horror buffs out there, is The Darkness scary? In a word, no but that’s okay. There was a really cool chapter where you were on one of those amusement park haunted house rides where you had to shoot the real people that jumped out in between the fake attractions. For those of you looking for it, the game is covered in blood and gore. The executions are frequent and brutal, the only downside to them would be the repetition. A few more options for Darkness kills would’ve been nice, but that’s just nitpicking.
I was not familiar with Jackie Estacado and the world of The Darkness until this past week. I wish I had met him and his lovable group of foul mouthed mobsters sooner. Reguardless, The Darkness 2 is a fun romp for fans or those of you looking to try something new.