Saturday 12 October 2013

Game Review - The Darkness II

I was a big fan of the original game, it stood apart from many FPS games at the time by virtue of its excellent story telling at the time as well as being a fun game to play. It took me a while to pick up the sequel as I was worried that the new developers would have lost the magic of the original and the new art style didn't interest me. Both turned out to be foolish concerns and with the game now available for only a tenner I thought it time to give it a try.

It is different from the first game in that it lacks the open areas from the original that connected the various levels. In this one the mansion acts as a hub, but the game unfolds in a much more linear fashion. That doesn't matter too much as it retains the original's capacity for telling the story, in particular it keeps the monologues from Jackie during the loading screens, they're still a nice touch.

The story continues a few years after the first game, Jackie Estacado is now the boss of a crime family and has suppressed the darkness that dwells within him. In his case the darkness is no metaphor for his internal rage, it is a demonic entity that grants him supernatural gifts.

These powers add another dimension to the game, as well as the usual FPS shooting action you can access the Drakness' powers, although only when you are in the dark. This is a violent game, some of the finishing moves are quite gruesome. Killing enemies grants dark essence that can be used to gain new powers and improve existing ones.

The gameplay is solid, but as with the first game it's the storytelling that elevates it. I also respect the fact that it's willing to take you away from the action to a slower pace, the hospital sequences were well done and provided additional interest. The story itself is a little predictable, I predicted the ending early on, but it's well told and sets up a new sequel well.

All in all it's a fun game and a well put together experience.

The Darkness II is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed 2007 release, The Darkness, and features an original story by acclaimed comic writer Paul Jenkins.

It’s been two years since Jackie Estacado, now Don of the Franchetti crime family, used The Darkness to kill the men responsible for his girlfriend’s murder. He’s been unable to shake the memory of Jenny’s death since bottling up his supernatural power and now The Darkness wants out.

A sudden, unprovoked attack on Jackie’s life heralds the start of a full-scale mob war which has clearly been orchestrated by some outside force. The botched attempt opens the door for The Darkness to re-emerge, and sets Jackie on a journey to hell and worse as he unravels the mystery behind the attack and the motivations of The Darkness itself.

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