I believe that image says it all.
In the year 2007, many great games were made. Mass Effect, Assassins Creed and CoD4: Modern Warfare all showed us what they were made of and why they needed sequels. However, there was another game that made its appearance that year: The Darkness. While it never amassed a large following, it managed to keep a small number of gamers interested with its unique plot and gripping characters. Now it has a sequel in The Darkness II.
The Darkness features the tale of Jackie Estacado, a New York hitman for the mob, who on his 21st birthday finds out that his is the host of an parasitic demonic presence as old as time itself, known as The Darkness. The plot involved taking down you Uncle Paulie, who was the head of the mob, using your new found talents. This however took a back seat to Jenny, your girlfriend and the only shining light in the swirling, black abyss that was your life. Paulie saw this however, and in an effort to get to you, kills Jenny. This story line of Jackie's struggle to cope with Jenny's death really stole the show and the connections made with the antihero really kept players entertained.
But that was five years ago, so lets get to the Darkness 2.0. You are the Don. It has been 2 years since the events of the first game. You pull up in your limo and are greeted by your friends as you walk into a five star restaurant. As you stroll to your "usual table" most of the patrons greet you, and you know that you don't know half of the people here, but they all know who you are. You come to your table at which two, young, blond women are already seated. One of them asks if you remember them, the other says, "well of course he does." You then respond "I really wish I did."
All in all your feeling like the king of the world, until the right girl's head explodes and then a car runs through the wall. Its a hit! Of course that shouldn't surprise you since your a mobster. Either way, seeing only two options of submission or death, Jackie releases his inner demon and escapes.
And the Darkness is back.
I'll admit that my first impression was that everything looked weird, like it had been drawn or animated strangely. I was setting in for a long haul of having to look at a strange appearing world...then I summoned my demon arms.
Ah don't you just love the way it silhouettes in the moonlight.
"Yes this I can work with," I said. Eventually after about five seconds I forgot how everything looked wierd as I couldn't take my eyes of my dark tendrils.
Gameplay really took a step up from the first game. In The Darkness you ran around to different areas taking subways and shooting people while maybe using your tendril to grab a car door and throw it at someone and stun them. In The Darkness 2 I went up against my first enemy with the darkness powers returned. I said, "All right, lets see what that quad wielding thing is all about!" I hit the left bumper and the left tendril shot out and hit the guy.... and did absolutely nothing. I groaned and set in to just go about the game shooting people. A pop up hint came up and told me that I needed to stun enemies before grabbing them. I looked down at my controller and saw I had another bumper. I pressed it hoping to stun the guy so I could grab him. I must have held the bumper too long because my right tendril shot out and cut the dude in half! "I am pleased" I said as I devoured his heart and set to work to find more hapless idiots to destroy.
The quad wielding system is complex and takes some getting used to. It allows you to wield two guns while still giving a full range of Darkness abilities. As well, you can start to mix it up by ripping off car doors and shooting from behind them. The game is incredible visceral as the bloodier the kill the more you get for it. You rip people in half, impale them on walls with thrown pipes, rip their heads and hearts out and even (I seriously did this and I can't get over it) rib people's spinal cords out of their ass. Once you get used to the controls you can really go and feel nigh indestructible as you slaughter you way through enemies.
As with the last game the main story line of taking down the people who tried to kill you (an ancient group called the brotherhood) takes a back seat to Jackie's dealing with Jenny. You'll start seeing visions of her and soon the lines of reality, lies from the Darkness, and faded memories begin to blur as Jackie descends the slippery slope of insanity. I really felt like I connected with Jackie, due to fact that he did have a bad life and was a total antihero, but he did have that one glimpse of light in Jenny. This makes him a really cool and interesting character.
The realism of the character's emotions are only bolstered by the strong voice acting. Brian Bloom (Jackie) does a great job of projecting pain and anger and Mike Patton [The Darkness(or you might know him as the angry sphere from Portal)] has returned to bring his "unique" voice to the game which is as beautiful as ever. (When i say beautiful I of course mean horrific, creepy and terrifying. Seriously its amazing to hear).
The Darkness was short that is my biggest complaint. But it was a first person shooter so they're not that long typically. I beat it on the lowest difficulty in four to five hours. However, it does have some replay value as it has two ending (at least I think it does I was given a choice close to the end of the game to commit suicide or not commit suicide) As well as a host of collectables called relics. Each relic gives you experience and you can go view it and learn some background about it (I'm a lore nut).
You also gain experience as I have said. As you run through the missions you will came across dark alters at which you can use experience from killing and collecting to upgrade yourself and buy new abilities (like being able to throw black holes).
Oh and did I forget to mention your little darkling minion that talks in a British accent and enjoys pissing on corpses? I didn't? Well good, because he's there and a few times you'll need to take control of him to stealthy take down a source of power (and therefore light) so Jackie can continue. He adds a little comic relief. I'm still not sure why he calls you monkey though.
I had a lot of fun playing the Darkness 2. I would recommend playing it as it does have mulitplayer over Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, a "new game plus" mode where you start the game with all your powers and a bunch of collectable relics to find. I'd tell you go pick this game up and while your at it why not rip out some dude's spine out of his ass and then piss on his corpse. It's strangely satisfying.
P.S. Talk to everyone and stay for a cut scene after the credits that will make no sense unless you get info about it. (Note: only after the proper ending)
Come on The Darkness 3!