Developed by top cows and published by 2K Games (Take 2 Interactive), the highly anticipated game Darkness 2 has finally arrived. Jackie Estacado returns in this shock horror comic sequel, with a style of game that delivers in every aspect you would expect it to. As with the original you get to shred up your enemies in the shadow of darkness. Along with your undead minions at your command, you slay your enemy, rip them limb from limb, and use the environments to your advantage. The fully immersive environment allows you to use car doors, parking meters or whatever you can lay your hands on to take down the enemy.
The combat system feels more fluid and better than the original game, this is unfortunately blemished though by the story line itself. When playing the original game you really felt for the character from the get go and felt part of the experience, this time it feels rather slow at the beginning and takes some time to get into the story.
Years have passed since we last got to play Jackie and we find him now in full control of his dark powers. Soon after his organisation is attacked by an unknown group of bad guys the darkness inside Jackie is unleashed. Bring it on; the scene goes dark and out comes his demon arms, this is where the fun starts. Jackie is back to square one recalling his lost love Jenny and controlling the darkness inside all over again.
With the thoughts of Jenny, the love of his life, always in the back of his mind you feel for him. This makes you connect with the story line on a personal level, feeling that you are not the fly on the wall but taking the journey for vengeance with Jackie. I did start to feel a little sorry for the guy, on one side is his struggle to control the darkness then on the other is his emotional feelings for Jenny. Though this being said you will not experience any edge of your seat movie sequences that you find in other games.
Back to combat, I found this very satisfying to control and manoeuvre. One option of combat is human arms, offering straightforward duel wielding guns which deliver an all too familiar kill. The other option available is demon arms, which will quench your thirst for violence with the ability to rip your enemy apart or to utilize the environment to make the kills more horrifying. I often found myself thinking “How can I kill the next dude?” “The more gruesome the kill the better.” Or just the fun aspect, “What item can I use?”
Darkness 2 offers a brand new ‘experience system’ not seen in the previous release. This uniquely designed system allows you to unlock special skills by actively experimenting with all the killing techniques offered. A point system is used to enable the unlocking of these darker powers; so if you were in love with one particular skill and continuously used it, then your skills wouldn’t be as extensive as someone who uses his/her skills intermittently. In my experience the more outlandish the death the more points received. I would primarily shoot the hell out of the basterd’s, then alternate into my demon arms and rip the guy a new one. It does help to embrace this new system as eventually you will need some of the darker powers to defeat the harder enemies as you follow the story to its conclusion.
The action in the game is excellent, it is also fun to play and gruesome in a few places, this however was brought down by the bugs. Quite often I would see an AI fall through the floor for example or get stuck half way and there was some animation glitches, which seem to happen a lot and for me, this possibly is the only thing that ruined it. There were some other minor bugs, but nothing really to write home about.
What else? Ah yes! Enemies! Unfortunately they were all the same no real changes to their design; it felt like a bad imitation of the clone wars. I can see why they decided to go for the copy and paste approach; it is a simple way to create loads of enemies in a short period of time. To be honest not what I would have done, I would have expected more from a highly renowned company. Come on developers more testing before releasing and spending a bit more time on game design will make a game complete and give it more scope.
Darkness 2 multiplayer feature is tainted by the awful frame rate issues; it does not altogether spoil the gameplay experience, but you do wish yet again that the game developers spent more time in testing. The multiplayer aspect needs to be more refined as it is the only real way the game can be extend and keep the attention of the players; sadly the single player story being short may not retain the player base. When playing the multiplayer you will find out that most of the missions will tie into some of the scenarios within the main story line; this is a new feature in the sequel. You may be wondering how this is achieved well, let me enlighten; the multiplayer feature allows you to take direct control of one of the four dark powered assassins that are commanded by Jackie himself. During one single player scenario you, as Jackie, ask one of your assassins to kidnap someone and so it goes off to accomplish the task; in multiplayer you are the assassin that takes on this task.
Despite the flaws with Darkness 2, I still found the game extremely thrilling to play, the combat especially was so enjoyable, yet seeing the same cloned enemy again and again did get a little repetitive. The story admittedly was short, but the multiplayer added another layer to the game. I wouldn’t say the game is worth its current price of around £29.99 but if they fix the bugs and lower the price a little it should be worth picking up.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game