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The Darkness 2 - Limited Edition - Xbox 360
|List Price:||CDN$ 39.99|
|You Save:||CDN$ 34.04 (85%)|
- Game / Platform:XBOX 360
- Platform: Xbox 360
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Platform for Display: Xbox 360
It's been two years since Jackie Estacado, now Don of the Franchetti crime family, used The Darkness to kill the men responsible for his girlfriend's murder. He's been unable to shake the memory of Jenny's death since bottling up his supernatural power and now The Darkness wants out. A sudden, unprovoked attack on Jackie's life heralds the start of a full-scale mob war which has clearly been orchestrated by some outside force. The botched attempt opens the door for The Darkness to reemerge, and sets Jackie on a journey to hell and worse as he unravels the mystery behind the attack and the motivations of The Darkness itself.
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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.
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed The Darkness. I liked it but I didn't love it. There were some cool ideas and an interesting story to be told but it didn't grab hold of me and thrash me into submission. The Darkness II, I'm glad to report, is exactly what I would ask for in a sequel. The story of The Darkness II finds Jackie Estacado, anti-hero of the first game now the head of mob. It has been two years since Jackie last allowed the Darkness to crawl out of its cage and he has had time to mourn the loss of his love, Jenny. Out of nowhere a hit comes down on his head and Jackie is forced to unleash the Darkness to defend himself and those he cares about. The story of the first game was an origin tale, the explanation of how Jackie came into this evil power and why he uses it. The story of The Darkness II is a much more intimate experience, as Jackie lives through the guilt of what happened to Jenny. For a game with such hyper-violence it is really unique to find such a soft, sweet side. The player relives memories through Jackie's eyes and it's not difficult to see why he fell in love with Jenny to begin with. Jackie's dialogues in between missions are also very telling of his personality. He may be a cold blooded killer. But he has a heart. The story also introduces The Brotherhood, a group of fanatics obsessed with obtaining the Darkness for their own schemes, at whatever the cost. I liked this inclusion of an enemy that new the true nature of the Darkness because it made them a lot more challenging to deal with than simple mobsters. The voice acting is fantastic, especially the voice of the Darkness - it is as creepy as ever, and a thumbs up to the voices of Jackie's darkling buddy and Johnny Powell.
Now for the gameplay. The Darkness II finally disproves the theory that developers have to leave the main protagonist as hollow as possible in first person shooters so that the gamers can fully immerse themselves. This is just lazy storytelling and don't let anyone tell you differently. The Darkness is a game of two parts. Light and dark. Players experience the tender heart of Jackie when he is around Jenny and Aunt Sarah. But then players go out and start shooting guys and flinging fan blades at them with one demon arm while decapitating them with the other demon arm. In The Darkness II you quad-wield and your survival depends on it. At first it can seem a bit much to keep track of, grabbing things and throwing things and slashing and shooting all at once. But once you learn to multitask you will feel like a God. It's intoxicating. The Darkness becomes an extension of your will and soon you are slaying rooms full of enemies with gleeful abandon. There is an upgrade system to tailor the combat to your preferences and the point system that pays for your new abilities will encourage you to perform gruesome executions. The game is bloody. But due to a smart move on the developer's behalf, the cell-shaded comic style graphics make all the gore less disgusting. This time around the enemies have their own supernatural weapons at their disposal, a noted improvement over the last game.
Multi-player. I'm not usually one for multi-player, co-operative or competitive, but The Darkness II offers a really cool co-op experience that actually goes so far as to enhance the single player campaign. There are four unique characters to play as, each with a special Darkness imbued weapon, and success in co-op will require making full use of each.
Final remarks. The campaign is about five or six hours, standard campaign length for a shooter these days. This isn't a good thing but I'm not going to dock points for it either, when every other shooter that comes along is the same length with half the fun. And that assumes you find all the relics on your first go around which I doubt you will. I'm not much of a collector when it comes to in-game trophies but the relics offer really really cool insights into the lore of The Darkness franchise. Oh, and on one of the review sites I read the critic had problems with bugs and glitches. Now maybe I had a really lucky play through but I didn't experience a single one. So as far as I'm concerned docking points for lack of polish seems a little silly.
If you liked the first game you will love The Darkness II. If you loved the first game you will want to marry The Darkness II. Annnd if you're just looking for something to break up the mundane tedium of Call of Duty and Co. I suggest you give this game a shot.
on the positive side, i love being able to use weapons and use the darkness at the same time. i didn't use the darkness as much in the first game, because i concentrated more on shooting. it was too much of a pain to worry about switching back and forth, so i stayed more with the guns, and there is probably a lot more i could have done with the darkness powers that i just didn't figure out. in part 2, i find myself using combinations of the two, and finding new ways to be even more powerful and destructive towards my enemies, and it is intoxicating. it seems like you can use your environment (car doors, poles, desks, wheels, etc.) more, and slicing an enemy in half by throwing a shield or a door, or impaling them with a javelin, is just awesome. there are also more different types of guns that you can use, which makes things interesting. the special execution kills you can perform are gorey and graphic and satisfying. i don't really miss some of the extra powers from the first game, like summoning the various little gremlin guys (now you just have the one, and that's fine with me, plus he has more personality and is funnier) or having the creeping darkness power (i found that kind of a pain to use. at one point in the story you do get a kind of similar power, but i won't give it away.) in fact, one of the positives in the new game is that you can earn credit towards customizing jackie with new darkness powers of your choice.
the drawbacks: the story isn't as compelling. the first one took you on a crazy journey, you start out by discovering your powers, and unravelling the mystery of where they came from. in the middle of the game, the plot goes crazy and takes you to a very unexpected place, but still builds upon itsself. i couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. in part 2, you know what you are, and there really are no big surprises. they try to give the story some suspense by adding a new antagonist, but it's a little predictable and not very surprising. i'll compare it to the 'saw' movies. when i watched the first movie the first time, i was blown away by the ending. in every sequel after that first movie, they tried so hard to make the plot twisted and give a big reveal at the end, but you just knew it was coming, after watching the first one. that's kind of how i felt about the darkness 2, i felt like they tried to come up with an interesting twist but it just didn't keep me in suspense like part one. also, the cut scene animations are very long and feel forced. i like that you can interact and talk with different characters in the game, and some of them are pretty funny, but you don't really learn any more about the story by doing this, and eventually it becomes a little tedious.
i also prefer the graphics in the first game. even though they are actually a little more detailed and 'pretty' in the new game, (for instance this one is much more colorful), it just doesn't fit with the atmosphere of the game in my opinion. i LIKED the dark, dirty, grimy street graphics of the first game. the same goes for the soundtrack... it was just spookier, more ominous, more moody in part one, mixed with a more rock/metal-ish feel to the battle parts. i also miss the voice of the original jackie... (and personally it bothers me a little bit that the characters look different.), although i'm MORE than happy that mike patton is back as the voice of the darkness!
finally, there is the fact that this game does not have an 'open world' as much as the first. in some ways this is good and in some ways bad. i miss being able to explore a little more, and not just follow as much of a pre-set path. it felt more like you had to figure things out, discover things, choose the order and the path of your journey through the game. on the other hand, this also meant you spent a lot of time going back and forth over the same areas constantly, which got a little annoying. so in some ways the more 'streamlined' focus of part 2 keeps things interesting and keeps up the pace. it also makes the game a little shorter, which i have seen people complain about (but then that seems to be a constant gripe with most games.)
overall, i really have enjoyed playing this game, especially the actual gameplay, and i loved the continuation of the story and the characters from the first. i'll admit i liked the first game better overall, but that's mostly due to what i personally like in a game. it was worth the time playing and the money spent, and i'm looking forward to a part 3, hopefully sooner than it took them to do this sequel!