Customer Review

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unleash the Darkness, February 8, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: The Darkness II - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I had begun to forget how much fun videogames could be. Shooters especially. The genre is just so uninspired it seems. It feels like the market is flooded with Call of Duty clones and I don't see that trend changing any time soon. I really loved playing RAGE last year but even that was a pretty derivative game, no matter how tight the shooter mechanics were. The Darkness II is a beacon of hope. The shooter genre isn't doomed to endless, uninspired knock offs. Not yet at least.

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed The Darkness. I liked it but I didn't love it. There were some cool ideas and an interesting story to be told but it didn't grab hold of me and thrash me into submission. The Darkness II, I'm glad to report, is exactly what I would ask for in a sequel. The story of The Darkness II finds Jackie Estacado, anti-hero of the first game now the head of mob. It has been two years since Jackie last allowed the Darkness to crawl out of its cage and he has had time to mourn the loss of his love, Jenny. Out of nowhere a hit comes down on his head and Jackie is forced to unleash the Darkness to defend himself and those he cares about. The story of the first game was an origin tale, the explanation of how Jackie came into this evil power and why he uses it. The story of The Darkness II is a much more intimate experience, as Jackie lives through the guilt of what happened to Jenny. For a game with such hyper-violence it is really unique to find such a soft, sweet side. The player relives memories through Jackie's eyes and it's not difficult to see why he fell in love with Jenny to begin with. Jackie's dialogues in between missions are also very telling of his personality. He may be a cold blooded killer. But he has a heart. The story also introduces The Brotherhood, a group of fanatics obsessed with obtaining the Darkness for their own schemes, at whatever the cost. I liked this inclusion of an enemy that new the true nature of the Darkness because it made them a lot more challenging to deal with than simple mobsters. The voice acting is fantastic, especially the voice of the Darkness - it is as creepy as ever, and a thumbs up to the voices of Jackie's darkling buddy and Johnny Powell.

Now for the gameplay. The Darkness II finally disproves the theory that developers have to leave the main protagonist as hollow as possible in first person shooters so that the gamers can fully immerse themselves. This is just lazy storytelling and don't let anyone tell you differently. The Darkness is a game of two parts. Light and dark. Players experience the tender heart of Jackie when he is around Jenny and Aunt Sarah. But then players go out and start shooting guys and flinging fan blades at them with one demon arm while decapitating them with the other demon arm. In The Darkness II you quad-wield and your survival depends on it. At first it can seem a bit much to keep track of, grabbing things and throwing things and slashing and shooting all at once. But once you learn to multitask you will feel like a God. It's intoxicating. The Darkness becomes an extension of your will and soon you are slaying rooms full of enemies with gleeful abandon. There is an upgrade system to tailor the combat to your preferences and the point system that pays for your new abilities will encourage you to perform gruesome executions. The game is bloody. But due to a smart move on the developer's behalf, the cell-shaded comic style graphics make all the gore less disgusting. This time around the enemies have their own supernatural weapons at their disposal, a noted improvement over the last game.

Multi-player. I'm not usually one for multi-player, co-operative or competitive, but The Darkness II offers a really cool co-op experience that actually goes so far as to enhance the single player campaign. There are four unique characters to play as, each with a special Darkness imbued weapon, and success in co-op will require making full use of each.

Final remarks. The campaign is about five or six hours, standard campaign length for a shooter these days. This isn't a good thing but I'm not going to dock points for it either, when every other shooter that comes along is the same length with half the fun. And that assumes you find all the relics on your first go around which I doubt you will. I'm not much of a collector when it comes to in-game trophies but the relics offer really really cool insights into the lore of The Darkness franchise. Oh, and on one of the review sites I read the critic had problems with bugs and glitches. Now maybe I had a really lucky play through but I didn't experience a single one. So as far as I'm concerned docking points for lack of polish seems a little silly.

If you liked the first game you will love The Darkness II. If you loved the first game you will want to marry The Darkness II. Annnd if you're just looking for something to break up the mundane tedium of Call of Duty and Co. I suggest you give this game a shot.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2012 4:02:12 PM PDT
R.E.D. says:
Truly an amazing description of this game. Just started playing it 2 days back, I did not play The Darkness, but I still easily follow the story line.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2012 4:48:01 PM PDT
Thanks for your feedback! I hope you enjoy!
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