I would like to get one thing out of the way here. I have not played The Darkness. I started The Darkness II with no idea what was going on in the world of Jackie Estacato, nor did I have any clue that I have been missing out on a seriously dark and splendid game. So lets just jump right into the dark world of The Darkness II (TD2).
We start off the game in a nice restaurant with all of the nice mobsters in the family. You sit down with two beautiful women to enjoy a nice meal. Suddenly, a van smashes through the door into the crowded restaurant killing the two ladies. This is how we begin our new dark journey. This game has a lot of ‘in your face’ moments making you yell out, “HOLY SH*T! DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?? SOMEONE! WATCH THIS!!” TD2 isn’t afraid to throw in shock value for its players. Whether it’s getting headshots on enemies or be-heading them with your demon arms, you get your money’s worth of thrills.
The main story follows Jackie Estacato. He’s a wealthy mob king who’s had a rough life growing up. He fell in love with a girl (Jenny), only to watch her die right before his eyes. He has a demon of sorts called “The Darkness” living inside of him, yet he’s been able to keep it bottled up for two years — until now. After the hit at the restaurant leaves Jackie clinging to life, he finally releases it back into the world to reek havoc and spread its evil. TD2 gives you lots of abilities to boost your fighting and survival skills. You get abilities like tearing enemies in half with “executions” that make GoW3 feel like an episode of My little Pony (Brony up!), ripping spinal cords through chests, or going Alien-style and punching holes through your enemy’s chest. There are many fun abilities to unlock and use, but only if you are in the dark. Light is your mortal enemy; you can’t use any ‘darkness powers’ if you’re doused in light. This game really plays out the Dark vs. Light angle.
One thing I truly loved about this game was the twists and turns at every moment. TD2 could give Tarantino a run for his money. There are scenes where you are having a warm fuzzy moment with your lost love, letting you forget about how awful things have become. Then suddenly, you’re back to the hell-on-earth you’ve been dragged into. They really play on emotions with this story, like fighting to get back Jenny’s soul and figuring out if you’re actually insane or just loosing your mind. TD2 gets your mind racing, forcing you to ask a lot of questions, giving you a different style of play than most games.
TD2‘s environment isn’t ‘real world’ style, but it’s a definite customization to the game. It could be compared to Borderlands, with its interesting direction and gameplay style mixed with aspects of a typical shooter game with gore and bullets. It really fits the game well, and helped me enjoy playing it more since the mood wasn’t too serious. The voice-overs for each specific character were spot on. Even the demonic voice (that at first sounded cheesy) ended up fitting the mood perfectly. The gameplay was smooth and laid out, with different areas orchestrated to fit each style of player, using strategy and well-planned ideas on what they would like.
Every character in the game was unique, they weren’t all the same goon-faced mobster. They had personality and individual traits that made you remember them from start to finish. The Vendetta Campaign is a major bonus to this game and really features the individualistic features of the characters. You can play online co-op with four people, or go it alone offline. You play as four different people all trying to help Jackie do the things you couldn’t do in the main campaign. Each person has their own darkness abilities that can be leveled and customized to your liking.
Achievements/Trophies are a big part of the gameplay, and yet another great aspect TD2 has to offer. This game had some of the most fun achievements I’ve ever had to earn: throwing an enemy in the air and shooting them before they hit the ground, slicing people in half X amount of times, etc. They aren’t too difficult, so you could get most of them in one play-through if you really tried. I would recommend playing this one on ‘normal’ the first time so you can fully enjoy the crazy, dark story and feelings of bad-assery!
The Darkness II really hit me on all levels as great game. With a story that keeps you guessing, fun co-op, extremely graphic executions, and scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat, this game is one wild ride. I would ask all of you to go out and give this game a rent at very least, if not a purchase. The Darkness II lets you release your inner demons with delicious delight.
The Darkness II gets 5 “Darklings” out of 5.
by Luke Wyatt