Review: The Darkness II PDF Print E-mail

The Darkness was released amidst much fanfare five years ago. It was a fresh take on an old genre and came at a time when first person shooters were mired by World War 2 stories. 

The game centered around Jackie Estacado, a member of the mafia whose body was consumed by a demonic presence known as the Darkness.

The Darkness 2 picks up two years after the climax of the first game, and Jackie is now firmly cemented as the head of his family, having managed to suppress the Darkness within him.

However, an attack at a restaurant leaves him mortally wounded and the Darkness reaches out to him (quite similar to Ares assistance to Kratos in God Of War). Jackie acquiesces and The Darkness takes over once again.

The Darkness 2 has a familiar feel to it, leaning on many themes that were prevalent in the first game. However, there are some improvements which warrant the sequel (as opposed to just being relegated to downloadable content).  One of my favourite additions is a tactic called "quad wielding", which allows Jackie to use firearms as well as the Darkness simultaneously (in the first game he had to switch between them). There is more of an emphasis on the environment, and Jackie is able to rip out car doors and use them as shields.

The graphics are crisp and impressive, and the use of light (The Darkness cannot manifest itself in the light) and the lack of it affects the gameplay in a much more satisfying way than Splinter Cell Conviction. There is a healthy amount of gore, which never feels gratuitous and unnecessary. The Darkness 2 employs a cel-shading technique so that it resembles the graphic novel that it was based on more closely.
The story (which is one of the games strong points) is a somewhat disappointing seven-hour journey, which increasingly is becoming a trend for first person shooters. While it was fun, it was all over too soon and I find it difficult to recommend for a second play-through.
The Darkness 2 finds itself in an enviable space of being released after the holiday rush, and this adds to the appeal (I do feel that it would have been lost in the shuffle had it been released during the festive period). While it was a fun game, it was largely much of the same.
I recommend this game to fans of the series, and recommend that fans who are new to the series try the first game before picking this one up.
Reviewed on single player mode only.
Pros: Twist on a tired genre; Godfather meets Chronicles of Riddick; graphics are deliciously gory.
Cons: Too similar to the first game; story mode is short.
Rating: 8/10
Price: R529
Contact: BT Games - 

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