Do you like to shoot bad guys? Do you enjoy leveling up your character, unlocking new skills and perks? Do you like snake arms? Then The Darkness II may be for you.
The Darkness II is the follow-up to 2KGames’ 2006 game (by the same name only without the II). In The Darkness II you follow the hero/anti-hero mob kingpin Jackie Estacado. You have been afflicted by a demon called the darkness and now you must avenge the death of your girl friend. Let the blood fueled, scary monster filled, sex provoking, gut ripping violence proceed.
The Darkness II follows a theme as you might suspect, Darkness, and it is very dark. The rating on this game should be taken seriously. Lots of blood, sex, violence, language.
Now as you have been granted this gift of a Kaa impersonating (Jungle Book reference) group of arm snakes your one true rule is stay out of the light, which you will hear over and over throughout the 10 hours of gameplay. If you see a light then you should shoot it. Every time you forget to shoot a lamp-post or garage light you are reminded by the Darkness. Stepping into the bright and shiny bad place will cause you to lose the Darkness along with all of you super awesome killing machine powers until you return to the shadows.
As you go through slaughtering all the Italian stereotypes you can find, you will gain XP or “Dark Essence”. These points will give way to new and improved abilities such as larger ammo clips, or everything explodes when I throw it, or rip even out that man’s spine and skull out through his anus and yes that is actually a move. Again stay out of the light or you will turn into a 90-year-old wheezing baby until you return to your happy dark place. This will become annoying, trust me.
Now speaking of ripping and tearing things you will gain some special abilities to regain your health. These attacks are brutal, violent, graphic, and tiresome. As you play you will get sick of ripping everyone apart or popping off their head. There is not enough variation in these animations to make them enjoyable. I eventually found myself taking a death over having to sit through another fatality just to get a half bar of life.
So what is your other option? Well guns of course silly. Yes there are guns everywhere and there is a good variety in this game. The gun play is very entertaining. I found myself getting excited when a large group of baddies showed up or a boss fight began because I instantly knew that I would soon get to shoot everything with reckless abandon. Unfortunately as the game continued forward I was forced to rely less and less on my guns and more on the Darkness. This really being the only major complaint with the shooting system. It was slightly annoying that it took an unrealistic amount of bullets to take down a rather unclothed enemy, as well as the complete lack of a cover system. All that aside the first person shooter element is not terrible.
Your main goal in this game is to follow a very linear mission path reaching checkpoints and killing specific targets as assigned to you by the story. This is fine, it is what it is, a comic book turned into a video game. Not every game can have a huge open world environment and not all should. I am the type of gamer who requires a linear focus to some extent otherwise I end up in a field shooting a rocket launcher at collapsible buildings and street-walkers. The storytelling is done very well and the voice acting is enjoyable. I felt like I was reading the comic and I was very happy with how the entire game played out on the cut scene front.
The Darkness II does deliver on the graphics. I had to tell my self a few times that this game was developed in 2006 so it isn’t going to be amazing, but the cell shaded raw shadowy visuals really look great. The game’s default brightness settings really did not fit the environment that was being presented but after darkening everything up a bit the spooky hellish atmosphere finally fell into place. A real standout moment for me was near the end during the rail shooter section of the fun house. I truly felt I was on the ride as Jackie and would jump whenever anything popped out.
The Darkness II Final Thoughts
All in all The Darkness II is not a terrible game. It could really go for some more polish, more shooting, more variation, and a little more of everything in general. Does that make it a bad game? Not by a long shot. It is definitely not a groundbreaking role-playing first person shooter. But if you are looking for a game to fill some time this is definitely worth taking a look at.