As the sequel to the well-received The Darkness, the critics set high expectations for The Darkness II. Did the game meet those expectations, or is it yet another game that doesn't reach its potential?
The Darkness 2 is a raw game...There's probably no better way to describe it. It's foul-mouthed, exceedingly violent and intensely sexual at moments, and if you've got the stomach for it, it's downright awesome.
Cheat Code Central
The Darkness II is everything I wanted a sequel to The Darkness to be. It's almost excessive in its violence, the combat is addicting, the hand-drawn Graphic Noir art style is gorgeous, and underneath it all is a game with a heart and a truly interesting story. Jackie's a supremely messed-up individual, but we still love him because of all the crap he's willing to go through in order to save Jenny. If you're looking for any of these things, The Darkness II won't disappoint.
From the opening attack on the restaurant that evokes the car chase that opened the original, to the game’s focus on storytelling as much as killing, it’s clear that the developers knew not to mess with a working formula. Even if some of the narrative moments fall short of the original, the new content and new powers more than make up for it. The Darkness II didn’t knock its predecessor from the top of my list of favorite narrative shooters, but it comes in as a very close second.
Official Xbox Magazine
The Darkness II’s copious gore might upset sensitive stomachs, but it’s vastly superior to its predecessor in every respect, spinning a frantic, fantastic neo-noir nightmare you won’t want to end. Even those who ordinarily dismiss horror with a shake of the head should give it a shot.
The easy argument to make against something like Vendettas is that it took valuable developer time away from the main campaign, but I don't think that argument holds up. Nothing in The Darkness II's story line feels out of place or unnecessary. It doesn't digress needlessly into side missions or other time-wasters designed to just keep you playing for longer stretches. Instead, Digital Extremes believed in the strength of both its combat system and Jenkins' script to inspire players to play through it again once the credits roll. And that confidence was not misplaced. Within an hour of finishing The Darkness II, I was already set to go back in and get my New Game Plus on--something I honestly rarely do. What can I say? The power of The Darkness II compelled me; odds are, it'll do exactly the same for you.
Despite the anticlimactic ending, shoddy boss fights, and lackluster multiplayer, The Darkness 2 is an extremely impressive game. It oozes style, packs an emotional punch, and manages to be effectively balance bombastic violence with understated character development, ensuring that when the Darkness is unleashed you care. Just as Jackie finds himself a puppet of the Darkness's will, I found myself unable to give up its seductive allure when the end credits rolled after a scant nine hours. Instead, I started straight away on new game.
Despite some problems with polish and a story that takes time to develop into something great, The Darkness II ends up as an early treat in the new year. The narrative elements help the pacing considerably, breaking up Jackie’s engaging and brutal murderfests. It may not end up being the best shooter of 2012, but it could very well be the one that makes you feel the most powerful.
The Darkness II succeeds far more than it fails. The single-player experience features some genuine emotion in its narrative, something games which don't feature skull-extricating tentacles rarely manage to accomplish. And while the Vendettas cooperative multiplayer content feels lackluster by comparison, it's not bad either and serves to pad out this short but otherwise delightful game.
Ultimately, it's this unique style that makes The Darkness 2 worth your time. After years of chest-beating military domination, the FPS genre is starting to show signs of life in more eccentric ways. Everything old is new again, so by concentrating on character, story and giddy comic-book excess, The Darkness 2 is a more compelling offering in 2012 than it would have been in 2008. It may be little more than a gore-soaked custard slice on the great gaming buffet table, but it's a guilty pleasure worth tasting all the same.
Faults notwithstanding, The Darkness II's menacing story and macabre action are accentuated by memorable moments worth experiencing. Unlike the original game, the sequel doesn't brood: it shrieks and snarls, the shrill voice of The Darkness echoing in your head as you flail your demonic appendages about as a man literally possessed. When you break the game down, however, you notice that The Darkness II isn't a lot different from other shooters. Levels are linear and predictable, focused on ushering you from one straightforward encounter to another so that you can go crazy with those deranged arms of yours. If you are a fan of the original game, bear this in mind: The Darkness II is a fun, very short FPS without the authentic atmosphere and subtle touches that made its predecessor so intriguing. Still, if you've got a lust for virtual blood, The Darkness II leaks enough of it to satiate you.
Yet there’s an awful lot to like. Weedy SMGs aside, the gunplay is rock solid, and your evolving Darkness powers encourage experimentation, elevating what would otherwise be a rote shooter. And while the screenshots suggest a hyper-violent fantasy take on the well-worn Mafia tale, The Darkness II is a love story at its core. Estacado doesn’t seek mob dominance, the death of the Brotherhood, or victory over the Darkness: his every act is motivated by the loss of the love of his life, and his desire to see her rest in peace, so that he can find it too. It’s derivative, gratuitous and needlessly profane, but beneath the gruesome veneer lies a tale of – believe it or not – genuine tenderness.
Thought it was OkayEdit
All major gaming sites gave The Darkness II a 7 or higher.
No sites panned The Darkness II.