Review: The Darkness II

I don’t know where to begin. The Darkness II is fun to play, the story isn’t too off-the-wall, and it looks good. But something is missing. It’s not easy to put my finger on. During my various play sessions I was not compelled to continue playing. I didn’t think about the game between sessions either. But I did complete the game, making this perhaps the most challenging review I’ve ever written.

 

Production Fidelity: Sound is passable – nothing much to say about it. The visuals are also meh. I was not impressed with the cell-shaded appearance. It didn’t fit the nature of the game, which is a fairly serious story about a guy redeeming the soul of his woman. Voice acting is fine, but I really don’t approve of the voice of “the Darkness.” It’s over-the-top and reminds me of one of my drunk buddies doing a Chucky impression. Hard not to mute the TV during those scenes.

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Gameplay: This is not your typical FPS. You are armed with gaming’s typical arsenal: pistols, shotguns, and rifles. What makes this different is the incorporation of The Demon Arms. Think of these as your two spare hands, used for swatting and grabbing. With each kill you gain skill points which are then allocated to various aspects of your arsenal: arm powers, gun-play, or health. It’s fun to tinker, but there are few obtainable points through a single play-through to truly feel overly powerful by the end of the game. The Demon Arms are brought on by “the Darkness” – essentially a gift from Satan passed down generation to generation. The Darkness cannot survive in the light, which becomes your biggest enemy. As the game progresses, enemies are better trained and will intentionally shed light upon you. Consequently, you must work on both your demon game and your human game.

Story: It’s not the worst ever. Jackie Estacado is your name, and you lost the love of your life. Subsequently, you’re bitter. You’re the boss of an Italian-American crime syndicate (although you look like a Native-American) and there are bad guys after you. As a consequence of being Italian, you are surrounded by unoriginal characters straight out of old crime flicks. It’s hard to enjoy, truly. The only redeeming quality to these characters is the mind-game being played on Jackie. He’s having trouble distinguishing what is reality and what is a hallucination. On occasion he finds himself an inmate in an asylum. And what are his lackeys in his crime-world are either loonies or employees of the asylum. It’s interesting to see the differences in the characters, but ultimately you know what’s going on in reality so it’s not that fun. In fact, I hated those portions of the game.

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