Last week I went out to LA to get some hands on time with The Darkness 2 by Digital Extremes, who previously has done Bioshock. The original game was released in 2007 and has now received an official release date of October 4, 2011. While it has been three years since the last game, I am looking forward to what the sequel will have to offer later this year.
The game started out with the main character Jackie Estacado who is awaken to a gruesome disfigured man who wants to get the darkness powers from him. In this small dark room Jackie seems to be getting tortured by first being smacked around by the man and then the disfigured man orders his assistant to drive spikes into Jackie’s hands. This visual element of watching yourself being crucified is something that really drives home the experience of someone wanting to take power away from you. Since the darkness can only be transferred to a new owner willingly Jackie will have to stay strong and keep the power within him.
Writhing in pain, Jackie passes out and is awakened to a flashback to an upscale restaurant where he is following his friend around. The art style for the game, which can be described as “Graphic Noir”, is highly colorful and vibrant with details. All of the environments and textures were hand painted by artists to keep an overall visual style and attention to details. As Jackie walks around the restaurant he sits down in front of two beautiful women who recall the tale of how much “fun” they had, but then a shot rings out, killing one of the women, leading to the first action sequence of the game as a car slams through the window. After the crash Jackie’s leg is injured and burned and has to be dragged to the dark to recover. While being dragged to safety Jackie will have to use his pistol to defeat the enemies that are trying to kill him. After a while Vinnie will get tired from dragging you and will ask you two hold his pistol also, introducing duel wielding to the player. Now safely in the dark the main feature of the game in introduced to the player and that is Quad Wielding, which means that the player will have independent control of both demon arms and the duel wielding of weapons.
The controls for quad wielding are very intuitive in the fact that if looking at the controller the Left Bumper is controlling the grabber arm and the Right Bumper controlling the attack arm that in conjunction with the Right Thumbstick can be controlled with the direction of attacks. That leaves the Left Trigger and Right Trigger to control firing of each weapon in your hands.
While it might be easy to shoot or slash at your enemies with your demon arm, the real fun comes when holding the Left Bumper to perform an execution. Depending on how you grab your opponent different animations will play out when performing an execution. One of the ones I really enjoyed was described as a move from the movie Anaconda where the snake wraps ups the victim and squeezes them to death.
After working through the alleyway Jackie finds a group of enemies in a downtown area with cabs and store fronts. Using the grabbing demon arm players can pick off one of the doors of the cabs and use it as a shield and even throw it at them. There are also other objects in the world that can be used for projectiles, such as steel rods and fan blades, which you can only imagine what would happen once you throw it towards someone. The downtown scene just became very chaotic in a good way and I was presented with a great freedom on how to approach the situation. I could grab one enemy, shoot another, and then slash the third with my right demon arm. After a quick killing spree I took some damage and I was able to use the grabber arm to eat the hearts of my defeated enemies and regain some of my health.
I really enjoyed the game as it added elements of stealth, action, and anytime I can use two guns it makes me happy. The over the top executions and ability to attack enemies with the demon arms is just something that not many other games can get away with. I look forward to hearing more about The Darkness 2 from Digital Extremes that will release on October 4, 2011.
I want to thank 2K games, Digital Extremes, and Top Cow for inviting us to take a look at the game and the comic.
We will report more news as soon as we get it. So let us know what you think of The Darkness 2 in the comments or in the forums!