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The Darkness II - Playstation 3
Platform: PlayStation 3Change
Price:$15.98+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
It appears as though my enjoyment of this game puts me in the minority. Oh well It isn't a common occurrence these days to find a shooter that's built primarily around the single player experience, and despite the inclusion of some coop multi-player, The Darkness 2 is just that. A single player game, with a well written story, good to excellent voice acting, and an outstanding visual presentation. The gun play is solid and the darkness powers were a blast front to back. The story beats include a number of quiet moments and encourages you to spend time talking to the inhabitants of this world. When was the last time an FPS actually made you give a damn about the peripheral characters? Regarding length, it took me about seven hours to make it through the campaign, which is about average for most non-RPG's these days. I understand others are saying five but I suspect those people are just blasting through the game without spending time exploring the world or talking to the NPC's. That's their choice of course, but playing that way is missing the point entirely. And the point is this. The Darkness 2 tells a compelling story, filled with interesting characters. Also you can tear dudes in half. So there's that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Darkness, released for the PS3 back in 2007 was a surprise hit at the infancy of the "next-gen" console era. In fact The Darkness is the second game I played on my PS3 in beautiful HD glory on a (then) brand-spanking new 46" Sharp Aquos. It's no wonder I enjoyed the game so much. So when the Darkness 2 was announced for the PS3 I didn't hesitate in picking up the title.

What's changed in the last five years? Well plenty in the gaming community but The Darkness 2 holds staunchly to tried and true gaming practices that might leave you feeling like you've done this one too many times before. In fact besides the shift to a cell-shaded graphics style there's not much that's changed at all.

The Darkness 2 once again puts you in control of Jackie Estacado who has been living the dream life of a Mafioso gangster in NYC. It becomes apparent that Jackie has been trying to control "the darkness" by limiting his usage of the creature. Events quickly transpire that force Jackie to once again release the twin-headed beast and take on an army of magically-infused baddies intent on stripping Jackie of his powers. The Darkness 2 transpires pretty much entirely on NYC streets and buildings with a brief exception near the end of the title. There's not a whole lot of variety to the locations you'll visit in the game but really you won't have much time to tire of the setting because this game is very, very short.

Even for a shooter this game can be finished easily in a few short sittings. This in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. But The Darkness 2 does absolutely nothing new. You start of the beginning of a level and mow down wave after wave of mostly idiotic AI bots that run right at your overpowered character. Once you've purchased enough upgrades (there's a very basic upgrade skill tree) the game becomes ludicrously easy even on the hardest difficulty setting.

Once you've finished the 6-8hr. campaign there is an additional mode called "vendetta" where you assume the role of one of four generic characters and tackle a series of side-jobs for Jackie. These side missions add a bit to the story but not much. Many of the side missions take place in the exact same levels you've already cleared with Jackie. You can, at least, invite a friend to play vendetta mode with you in online cooperative gameplay which is really the saving grace. But once again expect a very brief campaign.

As a shooter The Darkness 2 is a relatively solid title, however, it's clear that there wasn't any particular motivation to innovate or bring anything new to the table. The price of this title plummeted shortly after release and for the right price is definitely worth picking up and playing. However, the lack of any meaningful replay value, the short campaign length, and the predictable story all deter this title from the accolades reserved for the likes of Bioshock.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2012
All the hate I see surrounding this game seems to be exclusively concentrated on it's length. I have to say, it was quite short. It was also good enough to drive me to play through the whole thing again right after. The story, while only having a few predictable moments, did still manage to surprise the hell out of me at times. It was very interesting how it stylistically (gameplay wise) started out like Starbreeze's interpretation of The Darkness IP and transformed into something else. For those of you who wanted an accurate representation of the comic's tone in the first game and missed it, this is for you. It's also relieving to see a good old fashioned gib-fest shooter in the midst of all these "shoot em and watch em flop over" farces. An uzi in this game could blow a limb off. It's unrealistic and I love it.

There are the glaring issue of linearity. It is quite inexcusable, even for a narrative driven title like this. If it weren't for the Darkness powers, this would have killed the game for me. The powers give the player an unparalleled control over the battlefield, though it's still possible to be overpowered *on the hardest difficulty*. On any setting lower than "Don" the game is piss easy. Wasn't an issue for me, however, as I played exclusively on Don. I recommend everyone else do the same unless they're really new to shooters. But... yeah. The powers. They're good. It takes a bit of "exercising" to get used to manage four limbs at once instead of the usual one in a shooter, but when you do it's really satisfying. Most of the powers from the first game are back, including the creeping dark (where you control a darkling instead of one of your snakes). What annoys me about the creeping dark is that it's completely scripted and you can't actually choose to use it. I can't really complain that much, as the more linear format of the campaign would render the creeping dark useless. The vortex is back, though it works completely differently. In The Darkness, you could point at a spot, and shoot a vortex over to it. In The Darkness II, it spawns in a random corpse on the map in the place of their heart. You eat it like you would a heart, and you throw it like you would in the first game. I'm still not sure how I feel about this. The darkness guns are gone, I never used them in the first game so meh. I guess the gun channeling ability replaces them anyway. You can no longer spawn purpose built darklings, but one singular darkling does follow you around. This guy becomes a pretty major character too. The tentacle from the first game has been split in functionality. As you probably already know, you control two arms. One grabs, one slashes. In the first game you had to do both with one, and it didn't control very well.

Subjectively, I felt the story was incredible as far as shooters go. They certainly carried the Starbreeze baton with this. In the last two years I'd chalk it up with the best out there in a single player game; up there with Batman Arkham City and Portal 2. The actual narrative was pretty straight forward, but there were enough twists and turns without it all getting convoluted. Couple this with excellent voice acting, and we got a winner in my book. Now, the voice of The Darkness (Mike Patton) did a great job as usual, but his performance was 85% screaming. This is understandable, as he had a lot more at stake than in the last game, but I did prefer the low rumbling tone he had in the first game. The screaming does get a bit irritating and naggy, but I suppose that could be intentional given the nature of who/what it's coming from. The voice of Jackie Estacado is different. He's not Kirk Acevedo, but then again, this is a different Jackie. He's had more time to himself, and two years ghoul-free. He's less monotone and PTS-ish, and a lot more "passionate". That being said, when he needs to be angry, he can sell it. There's a lot of other returning characters like Butcher Joyce, Aunt Sarah, and Jimmy the Grape, but I don't believe the original actors reprised their roles.

Graphically, the game chose to look like the comics rather than a film based on the comics. I don't really have a preference either way. I can say that this game when in motion is pretty damn gorgeous. This is one of those games that just doesn't look good in stills. It's gotta be moving to be appreciated. One thing that surprised me is how smooth the visual continuity is from the first game to the second, even with this sudden change in style. All the returning characters are instantly recognizable, and despite the change in color palette (in that there actually is one) the game retains the tone of the first one quite nicely.... in it's beginning. As the game goes on, it steadily deviates from Starbreeze's The Darkness and transforms into Top Cow's The Darkness (eventually hitting 100% Top Cow towards the very end). The greatest thing is how smooth this transition is. You don't notice the game getting more and more comic bookish on you till you think about it in retrospect.

Audibly, it's alright. The voice acting is top tier. The foley is pretty good too. All audio related to The Darkness itself is awesome. The problem is the weapon noises. You'd think gun sounds would get a little more love in a shooter, but nope. They have the bass and treble, but they just don't sound like tubes hurling metal at hundreds of miles per hour. They don't sound like sound barrier breakers. There's no "pop", only "pfft". The sample rate of each gun sound seems to be different too. Lots of the SMGs sound pretty good, but the pistols sound like they could be playing at 22khz or less.... to put it less technically, some gun sounds sound like they came from 2011-12, and others sound like they came from 1998. It's not good. I wish I could replace them. The music is quite awesome though. Jane's Addiction and plenty of other great stuff from the 90s and before is included in the licensed music. The score itself is serviceable. I wish a few melodies from the first game would have made a return. Especially "Jenny's Theme". It was almost the first game's theme song. It's strange it didn't return. Overall, the score could have used a bit more demonic sounding choir too. Ah well.

I haven't really touched vendetta mode, as none of my friends have acquired the game yet. I do look forward to it. It doesn't look as bad as it could be.

Overall, I foresee this game being underrated and passed over by the masses just as the first one was. There's gonna be a lot of "IT WAS TOO SHORT AND LINEAR THIS GAME SIUCKSK". As long as the writing and acting stays this on point I'll never leave this franchise's side. The first game made me a huge fan of the property. This game didn't deter me at all. I do wish it coulda been longer and a bit more free, and I had to knock off a star for that, but I am fine with what I got. Everything else more than made up for it. I'm hoping for some substantial DLC in the future to rectify the issues of the vanilla game. I'd happily give The Darkness more money. I wish it the best. I want dat movie.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2012
Do you like comics?
Do you like atmosphere?
Do you like having two demonic tentacle heads protruding from your back that allow you to whip, grab, dismember, and look bad ass?

Welcome to The Darkness 2.

The Darkness 2 has a great story that loosely continues from the first game, don't worry there's a quick reintroduction by Johnny, but the game also grows on its own in many ways. Being possessed by this evil being you switch between realities, questioning your sanity as you try to discover why a secret group is searching for the Darkness.

Along the way you relive past painful memories, protect your turf as a mafia boss, and literally destroy people in some of the most horrific scenes of dismemberment and butchery. Killing and eating hearts, yummy, will add to a counter of Dark Essence that you can use to unlock more advanced powers and bonuses. This gives the game a nice balance of action and attributes, allowing you to specialize and eventually master, all of the four talent trees.

The action itself is done well, a mix of gun fighting and Darkness powers that can get pretty challenging on the highest difficulty towards the end of the game. You can always press select to show you the next location and the game auto saves enough that you never get frustrated with having to replay a long sequence. The voice acting and the care given to the characters is top notch and for those of us who appreciate it, very rewarding.

The single player campaign is not too long depending on difficulty level and your level of expertise, but I found the story and atmosphere so refined that I thoroughly enjoyed my play through and recommended it. Also of note is the Vendettas campaign. There is a 4 player online co-op that intertwines with the single player story filling in some back story. Overall Vendettas is a fun diversion with friends but a little repetitive. You don't get to play as the main character Jackie, instead one of a set of four mercenaries that each have a personal weapon infused with Dark Essence.

It's a cool story and Digital Extremes did a great job creating a world that feels true to its premise and rewarding for those who want to live it. Great characters like Johnny whose rants are hilarious as much as they are insane and the ever grunting Chief are some of the reasons everything resonates so well. The Darkness 2 is the best FPS I've played in a long while and it's definitely worth the time for someone who wants to go beyond the yearly mediocre call of duty.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
I loved the first game, then again the The Darkness comics are one of my favorites to read. First off, they changed the art style to be cel-shaded. This, as it turns out, was a great choice as it does have that comic book feel while you play. The graphics in general aren't bad, although it is sort of rough around the edges. There is a small amount of texture pop-in, but definitely not something that ruins the experience. The sound, in my opinion, is excellent! I play with my surround sound turned up and the immersion is great. Granted when the game launches from the XMB, during the intro bit the sound cuts out for a second or two, I haven't run into any other sound problems. Some others have noted that the PS3 has to check trophies, but it does not take too long so they should stop complaining. The story is superb with a somewhat predictable, yet sweet ending. Let's just say if they make a third game, it will be even more epic story wise. Anyways, the characters are well done, and by the end I absolutely HATED Victor, the main bad guy. Content wise it offers about five hours of gameplay, give or take depending on difficulty. There are four difficulty levels, but no one should have problems even on the hardest level, Don. Back to content! After the story, you can choose to do a New Game + where everything carries over from your previous session. Besides that, there is another mode called Vendettas where you can pick one of four characters to use for mini missions. Each character has their own set of powers to level up which if you want to max out should add a few hours to your overall gametime. Bottom line, I highly recommend this game. I paid $60 for it, and don't regret a single cent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2015
ok this game is great and if you want to play it go for it youll have a blast campaign is short but the vendettas makes up for it. the story ends here cause sales were weak so the "good ending" is the closest youll get to closure sucks giving in to the darknesses wish but thats currently the true ending for this series as of right now. yes two endings and replay value its a good purchase pick it up if youre interested
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
I was excited to hear there was going to be a sequel to the first Darkness that I found so fun and interesting and the second one definitely takes the cake. The story is intense through out the whole thing but it was so short! I started it at night then beat it the next morning. Other then that, it was great!!
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on November 9, 2012
As I played through The Darkness II, I kept having flashbacks to my youth, when I was completely obsessed with over-the-top, bloody horror movies that depicted violence and carnage without any sort of filter. Taking control of Jackie Estacado and guiding him through this journey of insanity and horror feels like one of those movies come to life. It's visceral, intense, and definitively not a game for younger gamers (I'm actually surprised it got by with an M for Mature rating). But for those of us gamers who have fantasized about having the most powerful and sadistic type of superpower, and using it to lay waste to the scum of the earth, it doesn't get any better than The Darkness II.

At it's core, The Darkness II is a very competent first person shooter. The guns in the game are awesome, loud, and powerful. The shooting and controls all feel very good the way a modern FPS should. The Darkness II's twist is that you also have control of an evil power, which is known as the Darkness. This is manifested in several of the game's mechanics, most prominently the two demon arms that protrude from Jackie. One of the arms is used to grab and throw objects, weapons, and enemies, and the other arm is used as a slashing melee weapon. Together, they can be used to inflict extremely brutal executions upon your enemies that are a highlight of the combat. Another main component of the Darkness power inflicting you is the Darkling, an small, impish creature that proves to be one of the best AI companions that I've ever experienced in a game. He assists you in your journey as much as he assists you in mass murder. As you defeat foes, you gain a sort of currently known as Essence, which is used to upgrade various abilities across 4 skill trees. Unlike other games of this sort, the abilities in The Darkness II's talent trees are all very useful, and are structured in a way where you can pick and choose several from each tree in order to create a custom build that suits the way you like to play. Since you don't get nearly enough Essence to completely max out the skill trees on a single playthrough, I really appreciated this, and was able to easily create a powerful version of Jackie that I really liked.

What caught me off guard about this game was how engaging the story is. I found myself completely wrapped up in Jackie's plight, genuinely moved at certain moments, and never really quite sure what was going on until the very end. It's a suspenseful, personal story that will keep you on edge the whole way through. The game features a nice cel-shaded art style and a good soundtrack too. But what really drives The Darkness II is the excellent, enjoyable gameplay. If you have the stomach for this sort of game, it is extremely satisfying to play, and feels good from start to finish. My only major complaint about the game is that it is very short. I finished the campaign in around 6 hours, and while I don't normally take issue with short campaigns in games, The Darkness II feels like it could have been longer to fully flesh out more of the story, as well as explain a bit more about the lore of the Darkness. I didn't feel 100% satisfied at the end, and felt like there should have been a little more content here. But regardless of this, the game is excellent. It's a brutal, violent fantasy come to brilliant, interactive life. If this sounds like something you may enjoy, like myself, you may just have a little bit of the Darkness in you, and I therefore recommend this game without hesitation.
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BRIEF

The initial Darkness was the very first paid-for (not coming with the box) PS3 game we purchased way back in 2007. It didn't get much play at the time because the kids were still small and the sound effects alone were enough to terrify them. Kids are older now, they played the first installment already and Darkness 2 appeared on a birthday wish list.

The game is a fun rampage shooter game to get through and play again if you are bored. The graphics, sounds and animations are a giant improvement and make the game look like a living comic book. While beautifully executed, the game feels incomplete since the story is way too short considering the creativity in writing and gameplay. The ending was not as fun as it should have been - if 'fun' can be associated with the game total gruesomeness, and the Vendettas should have had a bigger and longer role since the characters had fun personalities and powers.

The Special Edition comes with a nice Darkness 2 art poster, two extra powers for story mode, and an alternate costume for the darkling. These are nice things to have but do not really help in the grand scheme of the game. In other words, whatever you can accomplish in the Special Edition is achievable in the regular game as well.

ATMOSPHERE

Playing 'The Darkness 2' is like living inside a horror movie with you cast as one the monsters. You are Jackie Estacodo who is the Don of the the mafia in New York. The show opens with an assassination attempt by an mysterious group. You/Jackie survive by awaking your evil super power, the Darkness which you have repressed for three years. You use this horrifying power to investigate why 'the Brotherhood' is trying to kill you and why you are haunted by visions of your girlfriend who was killed in front of you years ago.

PLAY

Unlike the first installment where you could freely go wherever you wanted, the story mode in Darkness 2 is very directed - that's why I'm comparing it to a movie. Side-missions are gone but hunting for artifacts is introduced.

Artifacts come with a boost of essence which you use to get new powers and power up your darkness abilities. They also come with little stories (not bedtime stories though) that relate to the Darkness' role in history and the Bible.

- Guns

The gun-fighting in the game is unique. You would generally get weapons and ammo from enemies killed in the game. You can only hold three weapons at a time, which you can toggle using the d-pad. You can hold one assault rifle or shotgun, and two pistols. Something that I liked was you can shift between using one pistol for accuracy, or dual wield guns so you can cover a wider range of enemies in front of you or fire off a clip from one gun and keep shooting with another. There is a wide verity of guns but the ammo for one type matches with a another. For example, you can collect the ammo form a discarded twelve gauge and put it into a riot shotgun. In combat shooting and aiming is very smooth, but a tad unrealistic since there is absolutely no recoil and the scope does not move at all while shooting or aiming.

- Powers

While shooting is a big part of the game, the really fun part comes with the Darkness Powers. They are fueled and improved by the 'essence' which you get after killing an enemy or from artifacts (ahhhhh). The various powers are accessed on pillars of essence and are purchased on a skill tree system. You start the game with the classic tentacles but unlike the last game where they were only good for eating hearts and for singular powers, the tentacles play a vital part during combat. One tentacle is for slicing and dicing, the other is for grabbing and throwing, and holding up car doors and other things for cover. unlike the previous game . They are also used in one of my favorite parts of the game, the over the top, and extremely gruesome executions - I'll leave what happens there to anyone's imagination.

- Darkling

You only get the one berserker like darkling in Darkness 2, but he is a lot smarter and you can throw him if you need too. The darkling is now a legitimate character and plays a vital part in the story. There are also a few parts where you play as the darkling and crawl through vents and use your claws as a knife and act like a mini assassin.

ONLINE

In the online mode, Vendettas, you play as one of the four Darkness powered hitmen (actually one is a woman) hired by Jackie to help him fight the Brotherhood. They each come with their own darkness powers, also skill tree based, and have a darkness artifact, each with different powers and executions. There are two online modes: story and hitlist.

The story mode consists mostly of fighting trough hordes of bad guys (badder than you?) and fighting bosses in medium to large environments while you communicate with whomever is in charge at the time by phone. The story is the same for whatever character you are playing as but the phone banter is well written and quite funny.

'Hitlist' is more for leveling up and fun. You play through a story mode level and finish at the boss. Both modes can be played with friends, but they have to choose a character not yet chosen.
___________________________________________

NOTE: I would not play this game if or when children are around.

--
>> Brush your teeth, it's the law! <<
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on April 18, 2014
Let's start with the good points. The combat, for the most part, is very satisfying. If you've played the first game in this series then you'll be familiar with the combat mechanics. In this game, the developers have simply refined and streamlined the system. Whether you use the guns or melee combat, the action is really satisfying. Above average story and a nice look to the game, but some of the voice acting is kind of lackluster for the mob characters. Thankfully, the main character, the Darkness, and even the token crazy guy, are all competent. The skill trees for the in-game abilities offer plenty of variety, especially the higher level abilities. Which brings me to power-ups and gore. This is a game that proudly earns its M rating.

Now, the not so great. The pacing of the game is really uneven in places with long cutscenes that you really can't skip. Add in several walk and talk sections that offer great story points but zero action...kind of a momentum killer. Some of the combat conditions also get a bit overwhelming and kind of lazy, IE light blindness. Also, the game is linear, very linear. Within a level section you can explore a bit and look for a few bonus items, otherwise, you're on rails with no way to backtrack.

The co-op is not exactly anything to write home about either although some of the characters in that have the best lines.

So, why the 4 star rating? The good points plus the price. Would I have been happy with this game at full price? No. But, a few years later, heavily discounted, free DLC, and free shipping as part of a larger order? Oh yeah, very happy with this game. Just a few gripes, but I have those about almost every game.
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