Monday, March 19, 2012

Darkness 2 for the PS3 and 360 review


The Darkness is a rather dark and very creepy looking comic book by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl. Near the end of the first decade in the 2000’s, they released a game based off the license, simply called The Darkness. It did well, even though it had a weak multiplayer and weak boss fights. It did however have a great single-player experience with some rather dark moments in the game, like the main character seeing his girlfriend get shot in the head in front of him and then seeing yourself in a mirror shoot yourself. It was also cool to get Mike Patton to do the voice for the Darkness that enveloped your character. It was probably one of the more enjoyable shooters I have played, and I don’t play a lot of shooters. I personally liked the first game. It wasn’t one of my favorite games of all time, but it was more enjoyable than most FPS games that have come out in the past few years. Since the first game was somewhat popular, 2K Games decided to give Digital Extremes money to make a sequel. Once again, I heard about this game awhile back, but didn’t hear much about until this past year. Seems to be a trend with games these days. Anyways, this game hopefully improves on all the mechanics and the experience from the first game. Let’s get a flashlight and shine on the good and the bad of The Darkness 2. 

The story starts us two years after the first game ends with Jackie Estacado running his mafia family and on a date with two hot twins at some restaurant. Sadly, Kirk Acevedo does not voice Jackie Estacado and is this time voiced by Brian Bloom, the voice of Kane from the Kane and Lynch series and Alex Shepard from Silent Hill Homecoming. As Jackie sits down with his two dates, the whole restaurant gets shot up and attacked by someone. After escaping and releasing the Darkness once more, voiced by Mike Patton, Jackie goes to find out who put the hit on him and his mafia family. This of course leads to something more than a simple hit-and-run with a strange cult called the Brotherhood wanting to absorb the Darkness for their own needs and rule the world. The story is dark and has some very interesting twists and turns that I won’t spoil for you, if you haven’t played the game. I will admit though, that the ending is a bit of a cop-out either way. It isn’t as good as the first one, but it is definitely one of the better shooter stories I have seen, and that is really hard to do since a lot of shooters these days can’t get a good story going and that sucks. 

The gameplay in the Darkness 2 is pretty much the same as the first one, but with some added tweaks and updates. It is still a first-person shooter with the typical first-person shooter mechanics. The powers from the Darkness have gotten some interesting updates. You can now upgrade different abilities for the Darkness from getting more health and experience points from eating hearts, shooting a swarm (I’d recommend upgrading this power a lot), throwing black holes, and executing enemies in different ways, to name a few of the powers you can gain. In some areas where Jackie can’t move, you will be able to control his one single demon minion, which adds more stealth-like gameplay since you can’t wield guns or have a very strong attack when you play as the minion. The game is much more linear, and while some people have complained about this, I kind of like it. I got lost a lot of times in the first game due to my own fault, but I felt like I wasn’t told very well where I needed to go. The light is still an issue, and from time to time you need to take out lights that will weaken you and later in the game, even enemies will have flashlights on them to weaken you. The multiplayer definitely has a much-needed boost in quality and is called Vendetta. You get to play as 4 different and unique characters, and go through a 2-hour campaign taking different people out. This is kind of fun since the first game didn’t have much of a multiplayer mode and felt like it was shoehorned in. The developers, Digital Extremes’ first major project that wasn’t making a port of another game did a good job giving new life to the Darkness 2. 

The graphics are very bright and are more akin to the comic book than the gritty realism of the first game. The characters still have a stereotypical New York mafia kind of set up, but are still fun to listen to. Brian Bloom does a good job as the main character, but I still wish they had brought back the original voice actor from the first game. Mike Patton also does a good job at almost losing his vocal cords in voicing the Darkness, but I felt like he was trying to be like Mark Hamill at times. The music is good and I like some of the song choices that are heard along the way, but I don’t remember many of tracks that were played. The best part of the story is the relationship between Jackie and his dead girlfriend Jenny, when he slips to and from reality into flashbacks, and of course the loading screens where you hear Jackie talk about his past are very well done. 

The Darkness 2 does have some flaws though. While the colors are nice, something felt off about them since the last game had such dark graphics and really fit the comic book. The colorful graphics just seem better in a Spiderman game. I also am not a fan of the two endings of the game. I won’t say what happens, but you would feel gypped if you saw both of them. I could be wrong and you might like them, but in my opinion, they were pretty weak. While the multiplayer is a nice change of pace, it’s rather short and can be tedious at times. The enemies are a mixed bag in the game. Sometimes, they can be smart, but most of the time they don’t take cover, and get really close to you so you can slice them in half, or are as annoying as heck to take down, making fights much longer than they should be. 

Overall, there are improvements, but some steps back for the Darkness 2. It is kind of hard to say if this is better than the first game or not. It has its good improvements, but it also doesn’t go as far as I think it could have gone. I think I will recommend this game as a rental for the majority of you to see for yourself. You might like it more than I liked it, but from where I stand, I think it’s a solid shooter. I think if they can make a third game, they could improve on everything and make the series a trilogy. Still, check it out! I think you will have a blast.
This game gets a 7 out of 10

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