The Darkness II Review
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: First-Person Shooter
NA Release Date: February 7, 2012
EU Release Date: February 10, 2012
JP Release Date: February 23, 2012
Trophies: Total: 51 / 1 / 3 / 3 / 42
The Darkness II is set 2 years after the events that ended the first game and you continue to fill the role of Jackie Estacado, who's become the Don of the Franchetti mob family. In the beginning of the game, he will still have his darkness powers, however, he chooses not to use them and contain it. He's worked hard in the events between the two games, but that will shortly change with some events that occur. The Darkness II will expand upon the abilities and story started in The Darkness released back in 2007.
The Darkness II plays very similarly to the first game, putting you in the first person view of Jackie in control of the darkness powers and wielding numerous firearms against your foes. New additions in this sequel include the ability to duel wield your weapons and also use the darkness tentacles to grab foes, items, etc and attack as well while not having to switch between them. This definitely adds a new level of fun to the game and more control over how you play.
Also, the game expands on some of Jackie's abilities with a talent tree of sorts. You're able to visit different points in the game and customize your abilities using essence points, which come from killing enemies. Different methods such as head shots or using an execution with your darkness powers will give more points, while simply gunning them down in the body will give a standard amount. The ability tree to choose from has four different branches, each upgrading and expanding different abilities. These range from perks to Jackie, your gun abilities, or just enhancing with new abilities all together such as the Black Hole, similar to how it was used in the first game to suck up all the enemies around it, instantly killing them and spitting out their limbs. This would be a good idea, but most of the abilities will be easily forgotten and are nearly useless, other than a handful of them. I found myself with a ton of essence points, but didn't care or need to use them.
Example of grabbing an enemy with your tentacles while being able to dual wield. Also still capable of attacking with the right arm.
Jackie will also be able to wield a large number of guns in the game, varying from your standard pistols to shotguns and several machine pistols/rifles. These are very fun to shoot, but sometimes the aiming feels sloppy and you'll find yourself largely spraying over enemies in each room wondering why they aren't dead yet. Several times, I would get multiple headshots on enemies and they would keep coming at me. One issue with so many guns is that you will find yourself not really caring what you have and just switching between them as you run out of ammo firing wildly at foes, or atleast I did.
The Darkness powers in this game feel very fun to use and give different methods of playing the game compared to other First-Person Shooters out there. With the left tentacle, you're capable of grabbing enemies and items or interacting with the environment to pick up objects to throw at your foes. This is fun and annoying at the same time. While it makes it easier sometimes to get through sections, when alot is going on it feels very messy. You may try to grab at an enemy, but instead, grab a gun and auto switch out one you have equipped or pick up a random chair that you didn't even notice there. You just have to watch and be careful how you use it to fully enjoy this ability. When using the right arm of the darkness, however, you can attack your enemies by smashing or knocking them down. This proves to be a very quick method of killing in the game, even more powerful at times against certain foes than your guns will be. Also it's used to interact with special switches and objects you will find in the game.
Similar to the first game, the light in this game will affect how you play. Before, you were limited in your powers when you stepped into the light, however, in The Darkness II you are hurt and have no use of your powers when you're directly in the light. You're nearly invincible in the dark with your healing factor, but all of this is void if an enemy shines a light on you or you step in front of another source. The only challenge in the game will really come from trying to manage through the lights enemies bring into the battles. If you can neutralize all light sources, you should have it made. You can still be killed if you just let the enemies attack you and don't do anything, but as long as you drop into cover for a few moments, you will heal back completely and quick.
"Outta my way! Let me at him!!"
The story of the Darkness II opens with Jackie in control of the Franchetti mob. He's kept his darkness powers under control for the past 2 years since the events of the first game and everything is going great for him so far. However, they get attacked by some unidentified people and Jackie is nearly killed, until he has to let loose the Darkness to save his life. From here, it's a downward spiral through the game of trying to fight off the Darkness taking over Jackie completely while finding out answers to the attack and his revenge.
The game plays by having Jackie generally inside his home and talking to members of the mob or other people close to him to progress the story. You're then usually directed to meet someone and meet them by the exit and from here the game will load the next area to continue forward. It will repeat this for the most part during the game, so expect some monotony and lack of free roam. Everything will play very straight forward, just like the first game.
If you don't want to play co-op with others, you can take part in the secondary story "Vendettas" alone. This goes through some new characters to add some back story and missions to the game to experience. It's a bit shorter than the main game which isn't that long to begin with, but will definitely prolong the fun you have. You will have a few different characters to choose from during this experience.
With all the different First-Person Shooters out there, The Darkness II tries to alter the typical competitive multiplayer aspect and goes for a co-op only addition to the story mode. One other thing is you can play the extra story alone which is nice for those that don't care for the co-op gameplay. You also get two different modes to play. The first mode, Vendettas is a full side campaign detailing some back story and behind the scenes actions but they are completely new and different from the main Single Player story line. Also, you get special unique missions in the form of a mode called Hit List, where you play some of the Vendetta missions with a primary goal as well as a few new stages all together.
Bout to lay the hurting with his bad ju-ju stick.
You will experience nothing extraordinary from the MP experience in this FPS, but it is definitely a nice addition to the game and makes up for the short length of the main story. During the modes you can play, you choose from one of four different unique characters each with different Darkness abilities and weapon styles to use. You don't play as Jackie utilizing the full powers at all except during the main story line so keep that in mind if you're expecting that. These modes are fairly short themselves as well, but they are nicely done and they tie into the rest of the game.
One big change you'll notice from it's predecessor is the updates in the graphics department. If you expect realistic amazing graphics, then you will be sorely mistaken. The developers decided to go with a different art style and cel-shaded engine to fit better with the comic book style. Everything does still look really nice, but for some gamers, this may make it or break it so to speak. I personally don't care much for this style, but the Darkness II pulls it off and I still found myself enjoying everything.
The controls work fairly decent as well. You will utilize each of the four bumper buttons ( ) for your main controls but this can get a bit bogged down with how you aim your darkness tentacles. You swing with and aim the direction by shifting the right analog stick up, down, or side to side. Starting off it will feel a tad bit sloppy, but over time you will become more adjusted to it. Also, you'll need to be careful of when you use the left tentacle to grab or pick up weapons and items. You'll often find yourself accidentally switching out weapons and grabbing things around what you're really trying to get to.
A few more technical tweaks could of been made in the gun control department as well. You may find yourself at times, shooting enemies, but the hit radial won't register it or constantly hit off mark, even with a direct shot. I noticed this several times in the game, and becomes annoying when you're on harder difficulties trying to shoot out a light so you don't die and it's not going out despite you knowing it was hit. For the most part, it works very well, just at times like this they could use a little more fine tuning.
The trophies unlocked in the Darkness II are similar to your typical FPS and most other games you will play. You have your few story related ones, including some difficulty trophies and completing certain objectives during the game that can be missed. Also, you have your standard FPS trophies to kill certain enemies a specific way a number of times. Nothing particularly stands out to be difficult or out of the way ridiculous in the game, but you may find yourself grinding some points. You can gain most of the multiplayer trophies whilst playing alone, so if you don't have access to the online play, this isn't too much of a big deal.
The Darkness II comes in swinging hard where the Darkness left off. It continues that epic storyline that the original started and gives it a bit of a twist while bringing in quite a few new game features and trophies. The game was a complete joy to play, and it definitely worked out a few technical issues from the first game. The biggest change was the graphics engine reverting to a cel-shaded format vs the realistic graphics previous title had, but this was to fit with the comic element and still looks really nice in-game. You will love playing through the Darkness II, but will be disappointed with it's overall length. If you're going for trophies, then you'll have a bit of a longer experience.
The game plays fine, minus the need for a few tweaks to make it better. It's definitely a fun experience that needs to be played at least once by any Darkness fans and new gamers all together.
Great story that follows up where the Darkness left off and continues Jackie's struggle with controlling the darkness powers and surviving in this world. It's very short, but worth while.
Short quick missions that are capable of being played either co-op with friends or solo that adds additional playtime to your game. Nothing special or ground breaking, but it's more story for free.
A few technical hiccups hold it back from being perfect here, such as some loose controlling and hit points not being full worked out, but no major glitches or bugs that seem to break the game. The graphics are good for their style and it's fun to watch the videos and animations in-game.