The Darkness II: How Changing Developers Matters
The Darkness II takes place two years after the first one. It follows Jackie Estacado and his new role as Don of the Franchetti Family. He uses his tentacles of evil known as “The Darkness” to fight the Brotherhood, which is a mysterious group who wants to use Jackie’s power for their own evil purposes. For those who haven’t played the first one; the darkness is the corporeal manifestation of Chaos and Creation giving the wielder almost godly powers.
This time around you jump from location to location constantly revisiting the sanitarium (an antiquated term for the nut-house), and chasing after the ghost of your dead girlfriend Jenny Romano. In the sequel you also have a permanent darkling companion who is both crass and almost useless. Not having read the comic books but having played the first one, he seems out of place. He’s too silly, but then again the story isn’t as dark and serious this time around.
It may be a sequel to the first game originally put out by Starbreeze Studios, but Digital Extremes decided to over haul it. The biggest difference you’ll notice right away is that The Darkness II is a lot more vibrant and has a cell-shaded quality to it. It looks great and the animation is fluid, but for a game that is called The Darkness the whole “darkness” deal doesn’t really fit. Even dark alley-ways are well lit with a bluish-purple overtone, leaving nothing in the dark. I loved the noir look of the first one and it fit the game well, but this doesn’t seem to translate well to the sequel. The visuals look good, but it is almost too cartoonish.
Notice the cell-shaded look of TD2
Another thing that changed since the first iteration is the challenge, this one almost literally holds your hand and help is just a button press away via the right-trigger on the Xbox360 and R2 on PS3. When you press it a purple haze trail appears in front of you, and even if that is too confusing your personal darkling is there to help you. Combat never really gets hard which allows you to pull off gruesome 1-hit-kill attacks. One attack is called the “wishbone” which uses your two darkling tentacles to turn a guy upside down and ripping him in half.
The gore in this game is great and has some decent variety. Instead of using three or four death animations for head shots, explosions, falls, and normal deaths; they have dismemberments. You can rip off the limbs of your enemies, cut them in half, perform fatalities, take objects in the environment and turn them into projectiles and behead them. The deaths alone are rather rewarding and fun. Though the lack of challenge and the constant ability to heal yourself by consuming hearts that you pull from the dead quickly leads to monotony.
Blood and guts O’plenty
All in all, the game or what I’ve played of it thus far isn’t bad, but doesn’t amount to much more than a nice distraction. Some of the great features introduced like quad wielding are fun, but are really hard to use since it requires you to use all the shoulder buttons to control each gun. So it quickly becomes a marionette act; my suggestion is only use it when you have full automatic weapons to give you a nice spread effect and avoid precision based weapons like a pistol unless you’re skilled enough. The story this time around doesn’t seem as strong either since it lacked the whole revenge angle that the first one had. If you are considering buying this game, I’d recommend renting first, that way you can use it as a litmus test.
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About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a grant researcher and writer for CulinarySchools.org. Along with her passion for whipping up recipes that incorporate “superfoods”, she recently finished research on culinary schools in pennsylvania and culinary schools in ca.
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