The Darkness II

25 January, 2012 - 10:32 pm by
About 5 mins to read

The Darkness II follows on from the 2007 game in which mafia supremo Jackie Estacado is thrown into a world of demons on his 21st birthday. The first title was a little on the short side and had a few issues regarding aiming and control of the demons that possessed Jackie. After raising to the heights he did in the first game, 2K games are continuing his story straight after the ending to the first game.

In this hands on we get a look at how the game is progressing and what improvements have been made since the first outing. For those who haven’t played this title let me fill you in. The Darkness was a first person shooting game with a difference. Firstly our hero could wield two guns at the same time and fire them using L1 & R2 shoulder buttons. This was nice but aiming was tricky. Secondly Jackie has been taken over by the Darkness, a creepy sounding demon that projects two tentacles which eats hearts and doesn’t really like lights and is interestingly voiced by Mike Patton from rock band Faith No More.

Not to spoil the story but Jackie has to use the Darkness and visa versa for each of them to benefit in their relationship. The game itself was good, if flawed and a little on the short side. 4 Years later and we have arrived at this point. From the get go our mafia boss has been crucified and the Darkness is being sapped out from his body. Normally Jackie would let this go and give up the demon, however he is royally pissed off because of the events that lead up to this moment.

Cue a flash back where he is arriving for dinner in a posh New York restaurant filled with American – Italian mafia types complete with stereotypical names such as Joey and Paulie. They also care not for manners and appearance as they are as foul mouthed as they are taken straight from a scene in the Sopranos.

Once control has been given to the player, it is clear to see the improvements of the shooting system. While you have one gun the controls are the same as standard First Person Games such as Call of Duty, including the handy snap that makes aiming so much quicker. If you have played the first game you will realise how much of a difference this makes. With two guns you do have to manage without the snap but the game slowly does it for you. It does take around a second and a half if you are still but as this is a demo we can let that slide. It is annoying to stand still when there are multiple enemies but if this is just tweaked slightly there would be absolutely no complaints.

Controlling the darkness is much more fun this time around. It is still able to eat hearts but this time multiple deaths an be performed such as “wishbone” where one arm holds up the enemy where the other will pull the other end and split him in half, like as the title suggests a wishbone. Plenty of blood and guts as per the previous instalment, which is always nice!

The graphic overhaul that 2K games have brought to The Darkness II is far superior than its predecessor. The characters still have the look of partial cell shading, which does suit the game’s dark and gothic nature and mixes beautifully with the violence that accompanies it. Movements are more fluid and free. This is especially noticed when baddies are being flung around like toy dolls.

All in all The Darkness II is taking shape nicely. I got my hands on the original demo back at MCM in London back in October. Then, it still had the old style shooting system so it is with joy from myself knowing that 2K Games have decided to delay the game and revamp the entire mechanics and make it easier and more enjoyable to play. I still can’t help but feel that when wielding two guns the auto-target could work a little faster but there is still time for little adjustments to be made.

Based on this demo The Darkness II is almost complete, just a few minor graphical details regarding the interaction of objects and characters – occasionally they don’t quite marry together – and a tweak of the combat system is all that is required to make sure that this game is just sublime and not another First Person Shooter. The demo is available now on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace. The Darkness II is scheduled for a 10th February 2012 release.