Twice the Darkness, twice the fun

Fighting the Brotherhood | The Darkness II

It has been five years since the Darkness crept into consoles but Jackie Estacado is back. Unleash your inner darkness with all new powers and an improved “quad-wield” control system. Slash, rip and blast like never before. So Turn off the lights, rip out a few hearts and show everyone why you’re the head of the Franchetti crime family.

This sequel takes place after the events of the first game. Jackie has been able to contain the darkness and is now the head of the Franchetti crime family. Life should be good, but Jackie can’t get over the loss of his beloved Jenny and the darkness wants out. On top of all that, a mysterious group known as the Brotherhood wants the darkness for themselves. Unleash the darkness and destroy your enemies.

The Darkness II implements the same combat system with some great upgrades. A “quad-wield” system allows players to not only independently fire two weapons but also use both demon arms to decimate your enemies. The use of the demon arms have been greatly improved allowing you to slash and dice enemies as well as grab enemies and objects. I was very impressed in how the arms work. You can rip a door off a car and use it as a shield or lift an enemy up and tear their heart out through their back side. Any object can be used as a weapon which is a great feature. Its really cool to throw a piece of rebar at an enemy and shish kabob them. It works well and is a bright spot to this game.

Fighting the Brotherhood | The Darkness II

Light can be used as a weapon against Jackie. Stay out of the light.

The relationship with light has also been greatly improved and integrated into the game. Unlike the first game, light can kill in Darkness II. If you are caught in the light, your powers will fade as well as your life. Destroying light sources and sticking to the darkness has become a must in this sequel. This was something that was lacking in the first game.

Another feature which fans will enjoy is that your Darkling is always by your side and plays a greater roll. He will attack enemies, you can throw him at enemies and he will even guide you to waypoints. The “creeping dark” has been removed but has been replaced with the ability to control the Darkling to get to those hard to reach places.  You can also sneak up on enemies and take them out steathily with a neck gouge.  It’s a really cool feature and a fun way to play.

Darkling | The Darkness II

He may be small but he is a deadly wingman.

The Darkling now has a personality which helps make him a more “lovable” and key character. He will talk smack to your enemies as well as Jackie. He will also urinate on dead enemies which is rather amusing. It does have a purpose though. He usually pees on dead enemies who still have their hearts. It helps you to devour all the hearts in the area.

As cool as the Darkling is, there are some issues. At times the Darkling can get “stuck” in certain places of a map or randomly spawn and be removed over and over. Not a huge issue but it needs to be fixed. I’d also like to see the Darkling AI improved. He will sometimes just sit there instead of attacking enemies. I also don’t like the fact that there is only one Darkling. In the comic book, Jackie has many different Darklings at his disposal. The first game utilized this ability with the use of different Darklings. I would have loved to have had more types to use or even a couple more roaming the map with me.

A new feature which adds to the Darkness II is the ability to purchase new powers and abilities. Every enemy killed, heart devoured and enemy urinated on gives you “dark essence” which can be used to purchase new abilities at “talent shrines”. You can purchase abilities like swarm which summons a swarm of flies to disorient your enemies. My favorite ability is “black hole” which sucks in all surrounding enemies. When the black hole collapses, a fountain of blood is spewed all around.  “Dark essence” is just a great feature which allows you to customize your character. It definitely adds more depth to the gameplay.

The Darkness II

A cel shader is used to replicate that comic book style to the graphics.

Besides improved game mechanics, Darkness II implements far superior graphics over the last. The level of detail is amazing. From your demon arms to the Darkling and environmental objects, the game just looks great. A cel shader has been implemented to give a “comic book” feel. I would have rather had a more traditional style. Again, light and dark play a huge factor in the style of the game. You have that dark, gritty feel which is a great homage to the comic book.

The storyline in this sequel is just a perfect continuation to the last game.  The game takes you from the stereotypical mob restaurant to a rundown amusement park and even a brothel. And yes, you see what goes down at the “candy shop”. This is definitely a mature game and has not been censored so keep the kids away from this one. It is a great story but has some flaws. I don’t want to spoil the game so I won’t go into details. Some aspects of the story seemed rushed or not fully thought through. An example is that you get captured and fall into traps to many times and doesn’t make a solid story. You wield the Darkness and are a bad *** killer, so why do you keep getting captured? It just seemed like a weak way to explain how key events happen.

Multiplayer and New Game+

The Darkness II introduces a new co-op multiplayer game mode, Vendettas, which allows you to play with up to four players. Vendettas storyline runs parallel to campaign mode where you play as one of four new characters who have their own special relationship with the Darkness. Now I was never a huge multiplayer fan until Gears of War 3. It’s one of those feature that I now like to see included with a title. After beating campaign mode a few times, it’s great to have a new story to play through. This is a nice feature. You can also replay the game with a new Game+ which is an added bonus.

The Darkness II has some flaws but what game doesn’t. It has a solid storyline, great graphics and amazing game mechanics. While some aspects of the story felt rushed and there were some glitches with characters, this is an amazing game. Fans and newbies alike will find themselves loving this game and spending hours ripping hearts out and impaling their foes.

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