Monday, 12 March 2012

The Darkness 2 Review - Twisted, Dark and Satisfying

The First Person Shooter's is argueably the most popular genre within the gaming industry and has been for quite some time.

While many other genre's have generally been able to provide us with unique experiences (a lot of the time at least), the FPS genre has always been flooded with titles that are either too similar to their competitors, or even lack any type of originality entirely.

Occasionally however, an FPS comes along that gives us something new and although this is a rarity, it's always refreshing when the game turns out to be worthwhile.

The first Darkness game (released in 2007) was just such a game, and gave us a unique and emotional story, coupled with an interesting combat dynamic which allowed you to utilize two demon "arms" which gave you a great advantage against your enemies.

Based on the Comics of the same name, this game was a rollercoaster ride of mayhem and destruction and became a firm favorite of mine.

Unfortunately it wasn't very well received and ended up being relatively unnsuccesful, but The Darkness 2 was recently released with greater success than it's predecessor, and has turned out to be quite impressive to say the least.

The fact that the game was developed by a completely different studio is also worth mentioning. - (Digital Extremes)

As in the first game, you play the part of Jackie Estecado who has now become Don of the Franchetti family, and has managed to surpress the Darkness and its powers, but is still haunted by the death of Jenny. (his girlfriend)

The game starts with the relaxing setting of a restaurant, but quickly changes when a truck crashes through the window where you and your two dinner guests are sitting. What follows is a chaotic attack of the restaurant by an unknown enemy.

The games tutorial fits nicely into the story, teaching you the basics of combat while being dragged from the scene to safety. Eventually all hell breaks loose though and Jackie is forced to release the Darkness once again.

The game's graphical look has changed dramatically, with a less realistic cell-shaded style implemented as a possible thumbs up to the comic books. It's also reminiscent of Borderlands which is most likely due to influence by the games publisher - 2K games.

Combat has been significantly improved with the games signature "Quad-wielding" dynamic. Certain guns require being held with both hands and therefore give you the added benefit of looking down the scope (similar to Call of Duty), while other guns like pistols and Sub-machine Guns can be Dual-wielded for added damage.

The Quad-wielding aspect comes in with regards to The Darkness itself, which manifests as two snake-like entities that hover on either side of the screen. Each entity has it's own purpose, with the left one allowing you to grab objects for cover or to throw at enemies, and the right one being used for slashing at enemies or power boxes.

This combat system may take a little getting used to, but becomes second nature after a while due to the layout of the buttons on the controller. Trigger buttons are used exclusively for firing weapons and the bumper buttons are in turn used for each Darkness entity. The button layout is logical and werks well.

As you progress through the games relatively short storyline (approximately 6 to 8 hours), you continue to be pulled in to the gritty and emotional storyline, feeling more and more powerful as you unlock further Darkness powers within the game.

Executions are brutal and gory, and serve to give a greater level of satisfaction when taking out less powerful human opponents.

There is a simple RPG dynamic behind the game, and as you collect "dark essence" to power your abilities (a point system that varys depending on the different ways you kill your enemies), you start to unlock different options which help to fill the game out a bit. Upgrades include increased ammo capacities, increase health accumulated by eating the hearts of your victims and making objects thrown explode on impact.......but the more interesting unlocks allow you to add to the already devastating power of the Darkness.

You aren't alone in the game either. Many times within the game you are assisted by a "Darkling" who can be used to throw at enemies and helps out with some of the more difficult enemies.

You are able to release a swarm of darkness to stun enemies, develop darkness-based body armor, summon a black hole to suck in enemies, and even see through walls. Many of these come in handy when surrounded on all sides (which does tend to happen at times)

The most damaging (and also the most annoying) thing within the game is light, which prevents the darkness from manifesting and allows your enemies to deal a great deal of damage. Taking out light-sources is necessary in the game in order to progress (light fixtures, lamps etc.), but when that light-source is purposefully used as a weapon against often gets a lot harder than expected.

Added additions to the game are a nice touch as well, such as the Co-op multiplayer portion of the game called "Vendettas". In this mode, you are able to select one of 4 seperate characters with different darkness powers to complete arena-style levels to unlock artifacts. You have the option to play through this seperate story online or on your own. While a nice feature, there is little to keep me playing this mode for an extended period of time, and if anything I would rather play the additional "New Game +" which is a second playthrough of the game, but allows you to continue the progression of Jackies abilities.

Having played both games, I can say with confidence that the second game is a vast improvement to the first. The new graphical style fits, and the story progression is interesting, intriguing and at times disturbing. Although the campaign was short, I played the full length of the game in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from it.

An interesting game, with an equally interesting combat system it's certainly one of the best First Person Shooters released this year so far.

The game is available for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

8.5 / 10


  1. When I was over at a co-workers house from DISH yesterday, I noticed that Darkness 2 is something else altogether. It's still early in the year, but this game may be my sleeper hit for 2012. I'm not saying it is the best FPS to come out, but I honestly think it’s a 4 star game, but factoring in that it wasn't on my radar and thus coming in with low expectations, it really did surprise me in how much fun it is. There will be some who won't feel so strongly but most anybody who liked the first one will really enjoy playing the sequel. I liked it so much I added it to my Blockbuster@Home queue. I can’t wait to start playing it in my own home. I would just buy the thing, but I’ve come to the realization that if I just rent games for a flat monthly fee, I save a ton of money in the long run.

  2. I definitely agree on it being a sleeper hit.....however, the release of Bioshock Infinite, Halo 4 and Farcry 3 later in the year will probably overshadow it. Really is a pity if this is the case, because Darkness 2 was certainly loads of fun and worthwhile playing.

    Other than that you hit the nail on the head with it being a 4 star game.....and even after finishing it so recently, I may start my New Game + and play it all over again sooner than expected.

  3. You can use different accessories on your gun that can make you more comfortable and easy to use your gun. Scope is one of the most important accessories that you can use with your gun. There are different ways in which people use gun in their lives. long range hunting


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