When The Darkness came out in 2007 it was an enigma of a game. While it was received extremely well and was successful enough commercially, it was almost immediately evident that it would quickly exit stage left and fall into the realm of the occult.
The Darkness follow-up was announced early last year and has had a ton of people excited for a long while. The previous game was so fully realized in tone, scope and story originality that the second entry could focus on the outdated, somewhat painful gameplay of its’ predecessor, as long as the new dev team (Digital Extremes) successfully builds upon the strong foundation laid down by the previous developers (Starbreeze) in the first game.
For those who never got a chance to experience it, The Darkness was a first person shooter following anti-hero protagonist mobster/ owner of the most metal hair-do in game history Jackie Estacado, and the events that transpire as he wields the powers of the Darkness granted to him on his 21st birthday. What could have resulted in a typical gangster shoot-em-up is saved by some of the most unique decisions by a developer (such as the opportunity to sit through various full-length movies within the games’ world).
Well, the demo for its follow-up went fully public this week (originally exclusive to Xbox Live users with a gold account) and we were pretty thrilled with it. Consisting of two sections that will appear in the full game jumbled into one exciting self-contained experience, the play-through showcases the revamped gameplay, skill trees, cell-shaded animation (appropriate for a game based on a comic book) and a brief peak into what’s going on with Jackie as he continues to struggle with the powers given to him, and the people who want their from him.
Unlike the first game, using these powers this time around is simply exhilarating. The ability to slash, lift, devour and quickly destroy your enemies in the most violent manner possible is satisfying enough, but by adding elements that have become staples of first-person shooters such as sprinting and aiming down the sites, the gunplay no longer detracts from the overall experience.
Following up a game so steeped in strange and unique game choices would be a daunting task to take on, but after playing through the small teaser released last week, it seems we’re in for an absolutely thrilling experience follow its February 7th release. Come to the darkness.