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Video games based on existing properties are always a dicey proposition. I can name a list of games as long as my arm based on comic books, movies, or TV shows that were rushed out the door with lousy production, buggy programming, and minimal originality. For example, the summer movie season is always accompanied by an onslaught of video games based on blockbusters, games thrown to the rabid masses after only a few months of development time and low expectations. Luckily, once in a blue moon, the oddcomes along to buck the trend. Starbreeze Studios‘s 2007 FPS The Darkness was such a game, which should have come as no surprise since the studio had previously successfully adapted Vin Diesel’s Riddick franchise into two popular video games: Escape From Butcher Bay and Assault On Dark Athena.
The game was a mostly faithful adaptation of the Top Cow comic of the same name. The story concerns an immoral mob hit-man named Jackie Estacado who, upon his 18th birthday, inherits the power of The Darkness, which allows him to summon a veritable army of Darklings to his side, along with the ability to perform other assorted mystical feats. On the down side, he can’t have sex, since passing along the seed of The Darkness will instantly kill him, which gives a whole new meaning to “with great power comes great responsibility.” So it’s a good news/bad news type of situation. Oh well, it’s not like a mafia hit-man is likely to get temptation regularly thrown his way…
The reins of The Darkness franchise have now passed to developer Digital Extremes. Can they uphold the same level of quality as the initial entry? Or will the team behind the sequel need to cower in Jackie’s considerable shadows to hide their faces in shame? This is Yell! Magazine’s review of The Darkness 2, available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PCs. For review purposes, the PC version was used. To prevent my demon spawn from passing to the bevy of beauties I bed on a daily basis, ironclad willpower and good timing was used. Pft! How hard can it be to pull out just in time to avoid…
Taking place shortly after the events of the previous game, Darkness 2 picks up with Jackie as the new head honcho of the Franchetti crime family Unfortunately, his newly found success came with a hefty price tag attached: Jenny, the love of his life, is now being spit-roasted in Hell for all eternity, which sends Jackie spiraling into a deep depression. While pondering the question if Hallmark makes a “Sorry you ended up burning in Hell” card, Jackie is the victim of a mob hit in a restaurant and, despite his best efforts, ends up surrendering himself to The Darkness once again.
Shortly after reawakening his powers, Jackie begins to suffer from a series of bizarre visions, which present him with an alternative reality where he, and several other acquaintances, are captive patients in a mental hospital. Not only that, but sinister apparitions of Jenny also begin to haunt him, leading to the possibility that it might be possible for Jackie to rescue her soul from the clutches of Hell and redeem himself.
The Darkness 2’s plot is appropriately comic book in feel and tone. It deals with heavy subject matter while constantly keeping demonic tongue firmly planted in cheek. The banter from Jackie and his entourage of Mafia clichés is amusing if excessively foul mouthed and there’s a pattern of darkly funny humor throughout the game, unsurprising since the script was written by graphic novel veteran Paul Jenkins, a prior writer of The Darkness comic. Fittingly, The Darkness 2 ends with a gigantic cliffhanger, which will no doubt please and frustrate fans in equal measure, perhaps more of the later if there never ends up being a Darkness 3. Still, all in all, The Darkness 2’s main plotline is dark, twisted and funny enough to keep players interested for the eight or so hours it will take you to finish the game’s single player campaign.
Read about the gameplay, presentation, and verdict after the jump…
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