The Darkness II Demo

I believe in a thing called Love!  Just listen to the rhythm… err… wrong darkness!  This case of an absence of light is the demo for the upcoming game: The Darkness II.  This violent first-person shooter is one that I’m personally very excited for, and let me show you why.  I promise there will be no men in one-piece leotards, so no need to hide your eyes… unless you’re afraid of blood and gore!

The demo opens with our dark protagonist, Jackie Estacado, having his hands nailed to a cross, crucifixion style.  He awakens to a maniacal, deformed man (and his goons), who is working with a strange artifact.  After Jackie realizes he’s seen him before, the man reveals what he’s after: The Darkness.

Cue flashback!  The scene starts in a restaurant, where Jackie is sitting down to dinner with a pair of blonde twins.  Before he can ‘get his game on’, so to speak, the meal is rudely interrupted by a gunshot through one of the ladies’ head.  To make his night worse, a van drives through the wall, knocking him unconscious.  Fade to black; enter main title.

The first thing I noticed was the graphics and how awesome they’re looking.  Where the original game used standard CGI work, this sequel uses cell shading in a similar fashion to Borderlands.  Since the title is based on a comic book, this adds a nice little throwback to its inky roots.  There is no degree of censorship either, with the game openly showing gore, which plays a key part in certain aspects of gameplay.

Once Jackie comes to, players will be able to take control.  However, his right leg is messed up pretty bad, so his friend Vinnie must drag him while Jackie fights off a large group of armed thugs.  This on-rails section serves as a bit of a tutorial for gunplay.  After shooting your way through the establishment, you’ll get cornered in a kitchen where things take a turn for the worse, ending the flashback.

After another short scene with Jackie’s captors, we take a second step back in time.  Now just inches from death, Jackie starts to hear The Darkness speak to him again, telling him to release its power.  With no other option left, that is exactly what he does, violently destroying many foes in a very bloody process before the evil heals his wounds.

From here, players have full control over both Jackie and the dark powers he possesses.  A few short tutorials introduce things like how to grab and throw objects, slash with demon arms, and my personal favorite: darkness executions.  These animations are not for the faint of heart as they dismember enemies in various ways, from simple decapitation to draw and quartering.  These actions are sure to make any fan of gore shed a single tear.

Throughout the demo, players will notice their actions earning them points.  These will be used to upgrade powers and learn new ones at certain darkness stations.  Many talents can be unlocked, such as extra ammo or better accuracy for weapons, and new executions that yield various rewards such as health or faster recharge rates for powers.  While only a small amount can be unlocked in the demo, these RPG elements will help customize the player’s experience in the full game.

Continuing on, players will jump back and forth between flashbacks and the present a few more times before eventually coming to the demo’s conclusion.  From start to finish, The Darkness II’s trial was one that left me drooling for more.  From its comic-styled graphics to its gory nature, this is one title to watch out for, even if you’re new to the series.

The game launches on February 7th and 10th, in North America and Europe respectively.  Keep your eyes peeled for a full review around this time!

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January 27, 2012 - 8:30 am