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The Darkness II

Bloody Battles And New Mechanics Excite In The Darkness II
by Bryan Vore on Mar 08, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Platform PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher 2K Games
Developer Digital Extremes
Rating Mature

When The Darkness released back in 2007, it garnered plenty of praise mixed with a few complaints so a sequel was is no way guaranteed. Four years later, I'm happy to say that the franchise is back and it's looking better than ever.

Developer Digital Extremes (Dark Sector, Bioshock 2 multiplayer) has taken the reins from Starbreeze with the intention of amplifying the good parts and fixing or all-out cutting the bad.

The debut demo of The Darkness II begins with hero Jackie Estacado nailed to a cross with large metal spikes in a small, dark torture room. A disfigured villain dubbed "The Crippled Man" is drawing the darkness powers out of Jackie into a lantern-like device and toying with him.

The perspective cuts back and forth to a seemingly brighter times when Jackie is visiting a fancy, bustling restaurant. It's been two years since the last game and in the meantime he has become the don of his crime family. Patrons go on about their business and some nod in respect. He sits down at a table  with a pair of ladies for a good time. All of a sudden, one of them gets sniped through the back of the head and the whole wall of the restaurant explodes behind them.

Jackie's laid out stunned and one of his legs is completely mangled. His mob soldiers are well aware of his powers so a trusted lieutenant drags him towards the back alley for a fresh dose of darkness. What follows is an atypical rail sequence with the player fires off gunshots while he's being pulled backward, leaving a trail of blood behind.

Once he's outside, Jackie can finally start using the darkness. Attacks are fundamentally different this time around. Of the two tentacles onscreen, one is now reserved specifically for slashing while other handles grabs. The slash can instantly slice off limbs and heads and is cleverly controlled by holding down the right bumper and flicking the right stick in any direction. I didn't get to try it myself, but this seems to allow a great degree of flexibility. The grab mechanic results in even more close up graphic attacks that are customized to specific body parts. Aim for the chest and the tentacle will wrap up a goon and burst through his chest and eat his heart. Go for the legs and the tentacles will rip the poor sap in half like a wishbone.

Back in the torture room, Jackie gains strength in desperation and rips his own hand out of the spike. An enemy moves to subdue him and Jackie grabs the other stake and jams it into the guy's head. The disfigured villain escapes Jackie's wrath before vowing that he will do whatever it takes to take the darkness for his own. I can't wait to see him try this fall.

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The Darkness II

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
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