Looking for a fast-paced, gory shooter to blast your way through, with its own unique spin on ripping enemies apart in Mortal Kombat fatality-like fashion? Then The Darkness II is a game for you!
The Darkness II starts you out in a restaurant with twin girls, when one of the girls is shot and a car crashes through the window. You’re immediately thrown into a chaotic scene, in which you’re sliding across the floor while enemies are shooting at you. It doesn’t take long to attain your demon arms, allowing you to chuck objects at enemies and execute them, destroy gates, and rip doors off cars (Yes, I feel like a god!). If you’re in a particularly destructive mood, you can hurl objects and people around all day. Needless to say, this is game filled with an excess of blood and gore.
I appreciate the diversity in attacks, using your guns (with dual wielding capabilities) like a regular shoot-‘em-up game or using your two demon arms to perform moves like a “head whip,” “wishbone,” or “slice” (ex. hurling a car door at the enemy). Even on the PC, the game plays well – you can click the middle of the mouse and move it vertically or horizontally to yield special attacks.
Your little “darkling” creature aids your character while providing some comic relief. In the beginning of the game, the darkling climbs to a box high on a wall. When he uses it to open the gate below, he electrocutes himself and shoots across the screen. It depends on your personality or mood: you may find his habit of urinating on dead enemies funny or disgusting.
You can upgrade your abilities to make your darkling more useful. For example, “Air Darkling” is the ability to “Grab the Darkling and throw him at enemies. He’ll latch on and tear them apart with glee!” Talents are purchased with the essence gained from killing enemies at glowing purple areas. There are four branches to the talent tree (a circle really) – one focused on upgrading weapons, another with “swarm” abilities, one with execution upgrades, and another for objects/enemies/etc. grabbed with the Demon Arm (like the “Air Darkling” ability). The first talent available is “Eat hearts,” in which you eat the hearts of nearby corpses to replenish health and earn essence, and herein lies my personal beef with the game…
It’s probably just my own impatience for anything that slows down game flow even remotely (especially in a faster paced game like The Darkness II), but I found it rather tedious to get close to fallen enemies in order to eat their hearts. Whatever happened to games like Conan, allowing you to clear an entire stage of colored runes all at once with just one button! With The Darkness II, it’s best just to grab enemies with your demonic arm and then eat their hearts. (For reasons I can’t explain, the demonic arm has a longer range than the “Eat hearts” talent.) It really doesn’t take all that long to run around and eat hearts, except when there are a lot of fallen enemies and you want to be sure you got them all. It comes down to the fact that in an action packed game like this, I just want to go around killing as many enemies as possible, not stopping to eat hearts!
As a gamer, you know how frustrating it can be when you think there is something you may have missed. So when the darkling told me to “stay away from the light” as daylight was approaching, I had to escape down these stairs and was unable to make sure I got the hearts from all the corpses in the area. Basically, when you get near a light source, the screen flickers into grayscale and your abilities don’t work. Therefore, it is necessary to shoot at or otherwise destroy the light (1 pt. for each light destroyed). Things like shooting the lights, yeah sure, that’s part of the whole darkness experience, but eating each individual heart is just unnecessary…not when older games like Conan have an improved system. But by now, you clearly know my stance on that aspect of the game.
Overall, The Darkness II is a good game. It has an excellent balance of gameplay, story, and character development. Although it is a relatively easy game, Digital Extremes does deliver a variety of ways to kill enemies and four different settings for difficulty (Don, Thug, Hitman, and Mobster). The story maintains enough mystery while telling the tragic story of a diseased loved one and the agony of the one left behind. In the middle of an intense battle, you are briefly transported to a kind of psych ward with people you know spouting nonsense – like Tony saying, “Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between a fruit and a vegetable .”- making you wonder what the game will deliver later down the road.
The Darkness II has some impressive scenery – a fancy mansion with a view of the city – in which you can explore and interact with various objects (faucets, radio, etc.) and enjoy a mini-game with Dolfo, shooting bottles off a ledge as fast as you can. The game has a nice mix of music, including both classical and rap. You can skip cut scene and conversations, plus there are auto-checkpoints and the ability to sprint (unlike other games that claim you are running/sprinting, you actually do travel significantly faster than in walking mode).
KitGuru says: Although The Darkness II is a fun and engaging game to play through, we recommend not buying the game new. Despite some opportunities to explore, the game is very linear and only allows for about 5 hours of gameplay.
Do you really want to shell out the big bucks for only 5 hours of gaming? We recommend the game but encourage you to wait for a price reduction before picking up a copy of your own.