The Darkness 2 Review - February 15th 2012

It has been 5 years since The Darkness was unleashed back in 2007, and after almost losing his life, Jackie Estacado must once again embrace The Darkness.


The Darkness II is set two years after the first game; Jackie Estacado has taken his place as the Don of the Franchetti crime family and has found a way to repress The Darkness, keeping it from controlling him. Based on the comic book series by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl, The Darkness II brings to the table a story which focuses more on The Darkness and its origins, which is something the first game lacked and really needed. What players get this time around is a story which is more grown up and mature, which is a welcome change from the previous game.

The new executions are amazing.

New life has been injected into the franchise by way of developer Digital Extremes, known mostly for their work on the Bioshock series; this is their first entry into The Darkness saga. As such, they have made some welcome changes, refining and tweaking features from the previous game to make it more of a user friendly experience. They have primarily expanded on the way players gain Darkness abilities, by using a skill tree very similar to that found in Skyrim. This gives players the option to choose exactly which abilities they want to learn, at a price of course. In order to obtain new skills players must collect "Darkness Essence," which can be done by dispatching enemies in the most brutal ways possible using Jackie's Darkness powers, or by finding relics hidden throughout each level. Relics are another new addition to the game, and replace the collectable phone numbers from the original. Unlike the previous game these collectables delve more and more into the history of the Darkness, which is another welcome addition.

However, not everything Digital Extremes have added to the game turned to gold. The controls haven't changed that much, but when using the Darkness powers they feel a bit awkward and clunky at times. Gone is the large free roam environment which made the first game great, and instead has been replaced with mission based gameplay which offers little to no free roaming ability. This could have been forgiven had the missions been more innovative and had less of an obvious linear feel to them. By far the biggest issue with this game is its length; the main story can be beaten within 8 hours on its normal difficulty. Even with a revamped 4 player co-op system we were still left wanting more, and at the time of this review no DLC has been announced in the form of extra missions.

This is not going to end well.

Many times throughout the game players are forced to make choices which will affect the outcome of the game. However, as the player progresses through the game The Darkness will do everything it can to convince them of what it wants them to believe, leading players to question everything they see and do within the game itself. Another big change comes from the musical score, which in the previous Darkness game only featured licensed hard rock music played during action sequences. The Darkness II boasts an original musical score by Tim Wynn which fits each twist and turn in the story like a glove. The original score by Wynn alongside the phenominal voice acting of Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton as the Darkness capture exactly what this story is all about.

Graphically the game looks fantastic; the dark and gritty look of the previous game was ditched for a more comic book-esque cel shaded style which gives players the feeling that they are playing a scene straight out of the comic book series. Although the Cel shading style gives the game a more vibrant colorful look at times, the game still retains all the brutal blood and gore the first game was known for. Ultimately, The Darkness II is a solid shooter with a great plot, but with no free roaming environment and an extremely short story, it falls short.


RJ Barranti

 

Gameplay:

Gunplay feels solid and well balanced, but controlling the Darkness powers is awkward.

Audio:

The voice acting of Mike Patton and musical score of Tim Wynn bring the atmosphere of The Darkness to life.

Graphics:

Cel shading is exactly what this game needed to fully grasp the feeling of the comics.

Longevity:

With a story that can be beaten in less than a day, and no known DLC in the works, this could end up collecting dust on the shelf.

     

Final Score:



Fans of the series will love it, but first time players will be left wanting more.

 

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2K Games
Digital Extremes
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PC PS3 360