Way back in 2007 when I was lounging around during a lazy summer day between uni terms, I took a trip to the shops to pick up a game I knew very little about but had been recommended to purchase by a friend who was a massive fan of the comic books on which it was based; that game was The Darkness. I quickly fell in love with everything the game had to offer, from its engrossing plot and intriguing characters, to the gameplay which combined stealth elements, supernatural powers, and a bucket load of blood once you got your teeth, or should I say The Darkness' teeth, firmly set into the enemy.
The sequel is now well on its way and should be with us later in the year, so for all of you out there who have been waiting to cloak yourselves in the shadows once more I thought I'd share with you what we know about this instalment so far!
Welcome Back Jack
The game's set two years after the original and Jackie Estacado has moved up the ranks of the mafia from a low level hitman to the don of the family. Luckily the title comes with a number of benefits including his very own driver, which means that you won't have to get lost crawling around the subway anymore or have to wait for a long, boring cutscene to take place as you travel from station to station. Sheldon Carter, Digital Extremes project director, justified it like this:
He's [Jackie] not a low-level thug any more who has to pick his way through New York. He knows where he has to go, and he can go there whenever he wants.
Of course this'd just be another run of the mill mafia game if it was just about Jackie, so let's move onto his fiendish friend . . .
Slicing And Dicing With The Darkness
Since we last stepped into his shoes Jackie's bonded a little bit more with the Darkness, which has paid off dividends in terms of the ways in which you can now give into your darker side when dispatching enemies. You'll now have two darkness tendrils at your beck and call, the left can quickly grab an enemy or an object whilst the right can be used for slicing.
We'll start with slicing! This new action allows you to embrace your imagination, seeing as you can choose how much damage your going to inflict on a terrified enemy, by holding the right trigger down and flicking away with the right thumbstick. Killing blows range from cutting the enemy in two, horizontally or vertically, but you can take your time and remove limbs one by one beforehand if you're suddenly struck with a sadistic urge, and I'm also hoping you can opt to decapitate an enemy or two before casting their bodies aside or allowing the Darkness to feast on their hearts.
Grabbing a single enemy when your sneaking around is a fairly easy way to remain undetected, but what can you do when you're surrounded by a hit squad? Well your options open up once more, you either quite simply grab something that's pretty hefty and hurl it at the gormless goons, or repeat the same action with something explosive, or you use what I think will become one of my favourite tactics in the game and hold something for cover in front of you, like a subway car door for instance, whilst shooting away to your hearts content.
There are no reports yet about how the creeping darkness, darkness guns, black hole, or the mischievous and also hilarious darklings are going to aid you this time around, but we'll keep you posted as to what's going on with them as soon as we know more. Finally, Mike Patton has once again stepped behind the microphone to voice the Darkness.
A Change In Gameplay
It looks like The Darkness II will be a lot more focused on action this time around with larger groups of enemies for Jackie to deal with, but I've got my fingers crossed that there'll still be an ample amount of stealth thrown into the mix because I think it'll take something away from the game if it's been scrapped all together in favour of running into a situation guns and tendrils blazing!
In a recent demonstration of the demo, Jackie can quite clearly be seen dual wielding a couple of Colt pistols and later a pistol in combination with an SMG, as well as sending out both darkness tendrils, which to me seems like overkill in the best possible way but I can't help holding back the feeling that it could possibly get a bit confusing to control in a tense situation.
The Darkness II will hopefully be with us during the fourth quarter of 2011, and I hope this preview has whetted your appetite for some dark destruction! I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled for more news concerning this one. [joystiq]