Ever wish you had another pair of arms? How about a pair of superhuman bloodthirsty demon arms that can rip a door off of a car or throw a metal pipe through a goon and stick him to the wall? That would leave your hands free to dual wield machine guns! With Darkness II, this is what you get.
This game picks up after the traumatic events of Darkness. Jackie, a mob boss with demonic powers deals with the loss of his true love. The game begins with a rival hit squad trying to take Jackie out. Critically injured, he must summon the Darkness to survive. As Jackie seeks revenge, he discovers that this is more than just a simple mob hit and it involves supernatural forces. Unfortunately, the story is told very deliberately and slowly. There are cut scenes within the missions, but there are also long segments of the game where Jackie is in his mansion and has to walk from 'family member' to `family member' and ask one question. This can get a bit tedious. Mansion aside, the story is fairly complex and moves well as you progress through the game.
Jackie's attacks are pretty amazing. While he is in the dark, he's got enough supernatural powers to fill up 4 skill trees. His demonic arms can rip enemies in half, while giving you a boost to your (health, powers, shield, or ammo) and interact with the environment. The arms can throw fan blades, poles, heavy objects, or use car doors as riot shields.
Jackie also has two other types of magic attacks. He can summon a swarm of insects that distract and harm enemies. He can also infuse his bullets with dark energy allowing them to seek targets and shoot through walls. Both of these powers work on a cool-down timer. Occasionally, Jackie can throw a black hole at his enemies which sucks them into oblivion.
Jackie replenishes his health by eating the hearts of his victims. So, the dead bodies are a commodity. But if you insta-kill them with a black hole or darkness enhanced bullets, the bodies are completely destroyed. So, you need to use your powers strategically.
Unfortunately for Jackie, the enemies figure out his weakness and start carrying lights and placing generators all over the place which negate his powers. Jackie can shoot out the lights or destroy the generators with an arsenal of weapons. He is armed with two small weapons (pistols, submachine guns) and one large weapon (assault rifle or shotgun). With a gun equipped, the Left Trigger looks down the sights and the right trigger fires. At any time, he can dual wield the small arms. With two guns equipped, the triggers fire the weapon in the corresponding hand. This is less accurate, but sprays bullets all over the place.
The enemies consist of armed goons with firearms, melee weapons, magic attacks, or supernatural creatures.
For the most part, Jackie runs and guns while trying to make the levels as dark as possible. It sounds simple, but the death animations are really satisfying.
There are three types of levels: Kill Enemies, Fight a Boss, Diet Stealth. Unfortunately, these are repetitive. In the basic levels, Jackie battles his way through linear levels and fights enemies. There really isn't much variety in the enemies. Most have guns, some have lights (negate your powers), some have shields, some have a whip which knocks the guns out of your hands. That's about it.
The Boss fights usually consist of a boss who shoots at you and summons goons while teleporting from platform to platform. Unfortunately, almost all of the boss fights in the game are identical to each other.
There is a bit of stealth in the game where Jackie possesses one of his demonic pals. His pal dies in light, and takes damage from bullets, but heals rapidly. In this form, the player can sneak up on guards and insta-kill them. If you get killed, you just respawn and all of the enemies that you have already eviscerated stay dead. Even if you are terrible at stealth, this is really forgiving.
The game looks like an Image Comic come to life. There's good variety to the levels. The visual effects are well done and compliment the art style. The characters look and animate well, even though they're stylized.
The voice acting is good and the sound effects bring the action to life. You'll hear lots of gunfire, screams of the dying, and explosions. Oh, and mob humor, too.
Replay Value: 5/10
The game is ONLY 5-6 HOURS! If you finish the campaign, you can play again with all of your powers on a different difficulty level. Your second time through will take about 4 hours. The game is very linear and full of skippable cutscenes. But when you skip them, you only skip one line of dialogue at a time, so it feels tedious.
There is also an assassination game where you play as one of four supernatural (racial stereotype) hitmen and fight in arena style battles against mob bosses with henchmen. These characters aren't as cool as Jackie and you can only play the first mission solo. After that, you need to play Cooperatively Online. This seems extremely limited and forced. Each hitman has their own skill tree, but their powers are just subsets of what Jackie has.
Gore, violence, torture, sex, demons, language, drug use... This game is rated M for every reason that a game could be rated M. It's like they had a checklist. "Oh, no!!! There's no cocaine reference! We need to get that in there ASAP!"
This game also has one of the most realistically depressing brothel / strip club scenes ever. The girls look less like models and more like drug addicts as they offer to please you without any emotion or enthusiasm in their voices. It's funny... and sad. Mostly sad.
This is a very fun, but very short game. You can finish it between lunch and dinner. Even though the levels are repetitive, Jackie's arsenal of demonic attacks saves the game. They're wickedly brutal and fun to use. You'll have to play through twice (9-10 hours) to unlock all of his powers.
Buy it cheap if you can.
Buy it if you're OK with a short, but good game.
Buy it if you'll take advantage of the online arena battles.
RENT IT if you have 5-6 hours to blow through the campaign.
Avoid it if you don't like M rated games, mob stories, short games...
Avoid it if you like open ended games and complex gameplay.