7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
partly better, partly worse than the first,
This review is from: The Darkness II - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
first of all i absolutely loved the first 'darkness'. it is one of my favorite games. the story really drew me in, the gritty feel and mood and atmosphere felt just right, it was fun to play, and i even liked the soundtrack. i was very excited when i saw that part two had been released. does it live up to how i felt about the first one? well, it is different.
on the positive side, i love being able to use weapons and use the darkness at the same time. i didn't use the darkness as much in the first game, because i concentrated more on shooting. it was too much of a pain to worry about switching back and forth, so i stayed more with the guns, and there is probably a lot more i could have done with the darkness powers that i just didn't figure out. in part 2, i find myself using combinations of the two, and finding new ways to be even more powerful and destructive towards my enemies, and it is intoxicating. it seems like you can use your environment (car doors, poles, desks, wheels, etc.) more, and slicing an enemy in half by throwing a shield or a door, or impaling them with a javelin, is just awesome. there are also more different types of guns that you can use, which makes things interesting. the special execution kills you can perform are gorey and graphic and satisfying. i don't really miss some of the extra powers from the first game, like summoning the various little gremlin guys (now you just have the one, and that's fine with me, plus he has more personality and is funnier) or having the creeping darkness power (i found that kind of a pain to use. at one point in the story you do get a kind of similar power, but i won't give it away.) in fact, one of the positives in the new game is that you can earn credit towards customizing jackie with new darkness powers of your choice.
the drawbacks: the story isn't as compelling. the first one took you on a crazy journey, you start out by discovering your powers, and unravelling the mystery of where they came from. in the middle of the game, the plot goes crazy and takes you to a very unexpected place, but still builds upon itsself. i couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. in part 2, you know what you are, and there really are no big surprises. they try to give the story some suspense by adding a new antagonist, but it's a little predictable and not very surprising. i'll compare it to the 'saw' movies. when i watched the first movie the first time, i was blown away by the ending. in every sequel after that first movie, they tried so hard to make the plot twisted and give a big reveal at the end, but you just knew it was coming, after watching the first one. that's kind of how i felt about the darkness 2, i felt like they tried to come up with an interesting twist but it just didn't keep me in suspense like part one. also, the cut scene animations are very long and feel forced. i like that you can interact and talk with different characters in the game, and some of them are pretty funny, but you don't really learn any more about the story by doing this, and eventually it becomes a little tedious.
i also prefer the graphics in the first game. even though they are actually a little more detailed and 'pretty' in the new game, (for instance this one is much more colorful), it just doesn't fit with the atmosphere of the game in my opinion. i LIKED the dark, dirty, grimy street graphics of the first game. the same goes for the soundtrack... it was just spookier, more ominous, more moody in part one, mixed with a more rock/metal-ish feel to the battle parts. i also miss the voice of the original jackie... (and personally it bothers me a little bit that the characters look different.), although i'm MORE than happy that mike patton is back as the voice of the darkness!
finally, there is the fact that this game does not have an 'open world' as much as the first. in some ways this is good and in some ways bad. i miss being able to explore a little more, and not just follow as much of a pre-set path. it felt more like you had to figure things out, discover things, choose the order and the path of your journey through the game. on the other hand, this also meant you spent a lot of time going back and forth over the same areas constantly, which got a little annoying. so in some ways the more 'streamlined' focus of part 2 keeps things interesting and keeps up the pace. it also makes the game a little shorter, which i have seen people complain about (but then that seems to be a constant gripe with most games.)
overall, i really have enjoyed playing this game, especially the actual gameplay, and i loved the continuation of the story and the characters from the first. i'll admit i liked the first game better overall, but that's mostly due to what i personally like in a game. it was worth the time playing and the money spent, and i'm looking forward to a part 3, hopefully sooner than it took them to do this sequel!