The Darkness has return to wreak havoc all around Jackie Estacado. The quad-wielding has returned, and with that a new comic book art style and a story that leaves you guessing the whole way through. Unfortunately the main campaign is relatively short but this is certainly a game where quality trumps quantity and slices you up in the process.
Once again, you take the role of Jackie Estacado. After being hit, you’re left dying and the only way to survive is to once again release the darkness; something Jackie has been able to keep at bay for a couple of years. Now, utilising more powerful darkness powers, Jackie must fight off the whole new threat to his mob empire.
Jackie is still reeling from the death of his girlfriend Jenny, to the point he visualises her within the world. The story itself is brilliantly paced with adrenaline fuelling battles broken up at the right time with more story focused sections. The game also throws a twist or two out of left field that may leave you thinking and guessing its impact even many missions down the line. The portions of the story with Jenny feel a lot like the original, although while playing throw the story all falls into place.
It’s not that often that you get such a focussed narrative in a First Person Shooter, and it’s even more rare when they work as well as The Darkness II though. The single-player campaign though can be completed in just over five hours but you won’t feel ripped off. The story plays out well and don’t forget to watch after the credits for more of the story to really sink into place.
The game also features a well-designed co-op campaign. Most co-op campaigns have little to no connection to the single-player, or just don’t really feature a story at all. Thankfully, the co-op campaign in The Darkness II is a lot of fun. It’s not that long though. A playthrough of the co-op campaign can be completed within two hours but you have a choice of four different characters, each with unique talents to mix things up with.
The star of the whole game though is the gameplay. Moment to moment, there is just so many options to try out. You can simply kill an enemy for a small amount of XP, or you can try pick up an object and slice them in half, or get close enough to pull of an execution for even more XP. The XP, or in this game, essence, can be used to level up your character to add even more variety to the gameplay; whether It be more executions of new options entirely.
The quad-wielding has greatly improved over its predecessor. It feels much smoother and the demons arms are able to perform more tasks. Coupling that with a tight shooting mechanics, The Darkness 2’s gameplay is extremely fun. Holding a car door to shield yourself while laying waste to a pack of enemies is just as satisfying as unleashing hell with your demon arms. Even after you’ve completed the single-player campaign, you can start a new game + with all your upgrades to make you feel like a real monster.
The visuals are quite different to the previous game but fit well given the game is set from a series of comic books. They can be bright and beautiful but allow you to be shocked by how gruesome it is without feeling offended. The game is also much more linear than the first game, so much in fact I felt a little too closed in at times when I wanted a more open area to raise hell.
The Darkness II is short but quality really does triumph over quantity here. Executions are gorious (yes I made that word up) the gunplay is fantastic and the gameplay all-round is so much fun that it’s easily worth taking the single-player around a few times. It leaves the series in a very exciting place for the future, let’s hope there is one.