Last night, I found the pleasant surprise of seeing The Darkness II available on Steam as a demo. Having never played the first one, but still hearing a bit of clamor and news surrounding the release of its sequel, I couldn’t help but click the Download Demo button. Coming in at around 1.6 GB in size, it’s a pretty small demo on the PC. But man, it sure wasn’t limited in the playtime.



I loaded up the game, and was greeted by a simple, darkly-themed menu screen. Almost immediately, I dug into the Display Options and set the graphics all to High. Once I clicked on start, a quick loading screen brought me into the game, where I found myself in a room, with only one light glaring in the corner, a strange glowing centerpiece in the center, and several sleazy-looking guys. With all of this being in cut-scene, I look to my right and find that my hand has been pinned to a plank of wood, with a stake driven right through it.




I glance over to my left hand to only find it as the same, and I notice that blood has been flowing out of my body freely. After the initial cutscene, the game flashes white and places me into another, this time inside a very nice restaurant, in what reminds me of The Olive Garden in fashion.




I’m walking down a row of tables, following a buddy who is greeting everybody along the way. My first thought is that we are a part of the mob. I am introduced to two attractive women. However, conversation with the two is quickly halted, when the female on the right is shot straight through the head, with blood gushing everywhere. The second woman screams in shock, and I can only watch as a car comes speeding through the window, running her over.


Ah crap.


I get dragged away by my faithful henchman, given a pistol to shoot oncoming bad guys along the way. While I’m left to sit down as my buddy works at getting the next door open, I notice that my foot is burnt to a shriveled crisp.




I will come out and say it, the game is definitely not for people weak at heart, taking liberty at ripping out people’s hearts, slashing torsos in half, and even at the end of the demo, ripping the stakes out your hand and smashing them into a guy’s head, and then looking straight through the hole in your hand.


I think I may just hurl.


If you don’t like how that sounds, keep away; it’s gruesome. But while we’re on the topic of visual display, I’ll share a bit on the graphics. The developers pulled off an interesting art style, which reminded me of Borderland’s detailed, cell-shaded style, but still managed to keep a 3D fidelity and feeling of depth. As for graphic quality between lowest and highest settings, I couldn’t really tell, myself. The detail is really pulled off well because of the art style, and in side-by-side comparisons there is not much of a discernible difference.


Lowest Highest

There's almost no difference...


When playing the game, I was offered many cool options to destroy people with. A big thing that the developers really wanted to get across in the demo was the ability to use the darkness (hence the title, obviously). With these powers, you get a little demo monkey who helps torment enemies for you, and these awesome snake-looking things called Darklings.


I'm glad I'm not that guy.


The Darklings open up a ton of gameplay options, all of which I felt offered a great novelty and breath of fresh air when playing; with the Darklings, you can melee sideways and vertically while you’re using you’re guns (which dual-wield), eat dead people’s hearts in the middle of combat to regain health, grab humans and execute them to regain health, or grab objects. The coolest functionality of the grab feature was definitely the ability to rip doors off of cars and use them as shields, but you still have the hands to wield two pistols.


Because doors are impenetrable kevlar shields.


Not only that, but once you’re done with the door, throw it like a Frisbee and slice somebody in half with it (I’m not a sadist, but I still think this is pretty awesome)! Besides the extra features, gunplay felt pretty solid, and the guns all seemed powerful and balanced; the shotgun wasn’t ridiculously powerful at range, the SMG’s didn’t rule like God’s finger, and Pistols’s weren’t too weak. All in all, the game has a pretty balanced framework going on, and I think I could get through the game without feeling very bored of any mechanics.


I spent a good amount of time playing the demo –even bothered to play through it twice.


I love you, Steam...


I walked away feeling pretty satisfied. While not a heavy hitter, I do think it’s going to find its own footing somewhere in the market, and whoever picks it up will find themselves pretty pleased with what they play.

For those you who may be interested, I've uploaded two gameplay videos of The Darkness II demo to YouTube:


Here is Part 1 to the lengthy demo:



And here is Part 2 to the game:




And that about does it for my Darkness II coverage! I don't know much about the game, and I probably won't buy it. But I do recommend it to people who think that it may look interesting to them, and I'm definitely going to put it on my Gamefly list. What do you guys think about the sequel's release?


~ GoldvsSilver