The Darkness II Review

-Marcus Lawrence

It’s been 5 years in the making and darkness has finally descended upon us…well The Darkness that is. Jackie Estacado is back and he’s bringing the stuff of nightmares with him. I’m talking about The Darkness II, people and I couldn’t be any more pleased with this sequel. A lot has been improved upon and there are things that have been scrapped, but that doesn’t stop this game from being one crazy ride.

Plot: It’s been two years since Jackie inherited The Darkness in his blood and when his childhood sweetheart, Jenny,  was brutally taken from him. After seeking and acquiring revenge on his uncle Paulie and NYPD Captain Eddie Shrote for the death of Jenny, Jackie became the don of the NYC Mafia and vowed to never use the demonic powers of The Darkness again. That is until a mysterious group attacks Jackie and the family, forcing him to unleash The Darkness. Fueled by anger, Jackie embraces his dark powers once more to find out why he was targeted.

Gameplay: The Darkness II is an FPS with a twist. Implementing the “Quad-Wield” system, players can slash, grab, and throw with the Demon Arms as well as fire two weapons. This is a huge improvement from the first and allows for a much more effective way to end your enemies’ lives in a not only effective, but also quite entertaining way. Think about it; you could grab a pole and use it to impale someone, infuse your guns with dark essence and shoot the remaining foes all at the same time. There are plenty of weapons that you can find in the environment to grab as well, ranging from car doors to parking meters. Then, once you finished maiming all life, and if you’re feeling a bit hungry, you can devour hearts from the dead bodies. This helps you to gain health and a small bit of experience.

Speaking of experience points, depending on how you kill someone, you gain experience that can go towards upgrading your weapons and Darkness powers. They can range from increasing the amount of bullets you hold to summoning a swarm to attack and distract foes. You can customize these powers so that they suit your playing style. The best powers to invest in would be the executions. There are four different kinds of executions and each one has a different effect that tips the odds in your favor. Early on in my game, I upgraded these before anything else because I tend to get up close and personal, which the executions are perfect for. One thing I heard a lot of people complain about was the way you had to travel in the original, people didn’t seem to enjoy the subways for some reason. Well, now all of you people can’t complain because the developers made it chapter based. Once a mission is done, it’s done and you move onto the next chapter. Oh, and there is no longer an option to choose which kind of Darkling that helps you. There’s one main Darkling that follows you on this bloody path and he even helps you by distracting and killing enemies. Some segments even allow you to play through as the Darkling to perform actions that Jackie can’t do himself. If you played the predecessor to The Darkness II, then you will notice some major changes but nothing that should make you frown upon this title.

Co-op Play: I have a question for you; do you remember the online multiplayer for The Darkness? If not, you’re saving yourself a lot of bad memories. If you do remember…well, sorry for bringing it back up. The developers over at 2K Games made a smart move by not including multiplayer, but instead adding a four player co-op campaign called Vendettas. In Vendettas, you can play as one of four unique characters that all have some sort of dark power. Nothing like what Jackie can do, but they can handle themselves. The campaign runs parallel to Jackie’s story and ties up some of the unknown factors. Each character has their own weapons and abilities unique to them. Honestly, this was the best way to go in terms of online. It’s fun, fast-paced and you get to play with friends.

Graphics/Audio: As many of you know or don’t know, The Darkness is originally a comic book published by Top Cow Productions and created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl. The first Darkness game had a very gritty and dark vibe, which did a great job to capture the comics. But, what better way is there to capture the feel of a comic book? By making the graphics look like a comic book and that’s just what the developers did. The Darkness II looks like it was ripped right out of a comic and it doesn’t lose that gore or dark ambiance, this is definitely a step in the right direction. The Darkness is still voiced by musician Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), but the voice actor for Jackie has been replaced. The same goes for pretty much all of the other main characters from the first one. I just wished the old voice actors would have come back, but these ones are just as good. All of the shootouts are accompanied by a nice track that makes the killing seem more…stylish. It is indeed a step up from the original. 

Honestly, I’m a huge fan of The Darkness and I did this without being bias. It may be a great game to own or even rent, but it definitely has flaws. For one, the game is way too short. I picked this up on release day and beat it the very same day. Plus the ending… I won’t say anything to give it away but just be ready for a Darkness III. As much fun as I had with ripping people apart, the action can get a bit repetitive, especially if you’re playing for hours. But the good outweighs the bad; I can’t find one terrible thing about this title besides how short it is. If you never played the first one, but you are curious about this, give it a rent at least. Before you start, there’s a “previously on” cutscene that fills the gap for you.

Verdict: 85%

The Darkness II- Launch Trailer

Have you played The Darkness? Are you interested in The Darkness II?