Αναρτήθηκε: 25 Μαΐου
The Darkness II is a surprisingly good first-person shooter albeit a bit too basic for my tastes. It's a very linear game with the same old experience points and upgrade system which seems to be how most first-person shooters are nowadays doing it, but there are a couple of interesting ideas in here.
The Darkness is based on the comics of the same name. I've never read them so I'm not informed enough to make comparisons between it and the video game adaption. I also can't point out any improvements it has made over its predecessor as I don't have any experience with the first game so I'll be treating The Darkness II as its own entity.
So it's lucky that beginners are offered an optional recap of the first game. The game stars an Italian-American don of the Franchetti crime family, Jackie Estacado. Good ole' Jackie has had some problems ever since his girlfriend, Jenny Romano, died in the last game. On top of that, he wields the Darkness, an entity with a mind of its own that has given him supernatural powers. So everything seems to be going well as he has finally gotten the Darkness under control, but then a secret society randomly shows up to try and take this power away from him. And then it turns out Jenny is alive somehow and you'll need The Darkness to save her. AND If that wasn't enough, the main character also suffers from hallucinations which may or may not be real meaning that Jackie was a mental patient this whole time and that all of the first game and some sequences in the second game never even happened to begin with.
So it's basically your average comic book plot. It's only a bit disjointed as there are certain elements in the story that really don't go anywhere. Like the fact that you're the head of a crime family, but don't do any mafia-related activities and the gang doesn't really seem to be very helpful except for telling you where to go next. Or the fact that you keep having these visions when time is of the utmost importance and really shouldn't be wasted staring at a wall like say during a chase. There are lot of little things like that, but the game does wrap up very neatly with every loose end connected.... Well mostly...
I only have two major gripes with the story. One is that the villain is weak. A secret society doesn't sound very interesting to begin with, but their leader is even worse. You'd think looking like Quasimodo's uglier cousin would at least make for an intriguing backstory or a good motive, but very little comes out of it. Even though he's portrayed as the main villain, he comes off more as an inconvenience than anything else because his timing really couldn't be worse when it comes to deciding when to steal the Darkness. Secondly, It ends on a cliffhanger and we still haven't seen or heard anything of The Darkness III. The Darkness II came out in 2012 so you can imagine how infuriating it was to see the very last cutscene in the game knowing that they still haven't followed up on it. Sure, there are still the comics, but I don't have easy access to these because I'm a European.
Really, I probably wouldn't have cared a lot about the story if it weren't for the characters. Some of them are very played out with its stereotypical mob characters with the same Italian accents you swear you've heard in ten other games, but it's surprisingly well-acted. Jackie sounds great and you really get the feeling that he really cares about Jennie. In fact, a lot of the characters just sound very human. There's a lot of quiet time where characters can develop and reflect on certain events making even the basic grunts a lot more three-dimensional characters than what you would see in most games.
So like I said the before the game is very basic. You get a small amount of guns that you could count on one hand and you've got the standard upgrade system in which you spend your experience points. You can sadly only hold three guns at the time. Two one handed guns you can dual-wield and one two-handed gun like a shotgun or a machine gun. What distinguishes The Darkness II from other first-person shooter is obviously the Darkness itself. For one thing, you control an (adorable?), little, British imp called the Darkling. He's practically invincible. He's able to revive himself an infinite amount of time and will aid you in battle by distracting mooks by hitting them in their stupid faces and then proceeding to urinate on their burning corpses. With later upgrades, you can even throw him at your enemies and basically self-destruct after launch. You also have access to two giant tentactles with mouths that come out of your back. These have a lot of useful abilities making the game a bit more interesting. You can swipe them at your enemies, you can grab certain objects and throw them or use them as your shield or you can perform unique execution animations to gain ammo, health, a shield and meter for a special moves (like fusing your gun with Darkness). These animations can sometimes be annoying because they can be very long and occur in quick successions as you'll need health and ammo especially in harder difficulties. This can potentially drag out the game.
There's also an interesting dynamic going on related to the light. You see, the Darkness is weak against it. If you find yourself subjected to something that can even be vaguely construed as a light source (like say a street light, even a cars headlight, Agent 47's bald head or anything that J.J. Abrahams can somehow turn into a lens flare) then you'll be weakened by it. The tentacles and Darkling will disappear, you can't regenerate health and you can even be blinded by it. In the first part of the game, it comes down to mostly being affected by lightbulbs, but later on enemies will actually use the light against you by either carrying gigantic flash lights or just using traps involving the light. I'm also not sure if this was intentional, but sometimes enemies holding light sources will hide behind enemies with shields making them very hard to fight against as you'll need the Darkness to remove said shield. It's a very interesting mechanic to see and I hope it gets fleshed out in further... oh....
My only real complaint with the game is that it's too easy. I recommend going after the hard difficulty as normal makes the game a bit too boring. I also recommend eventually transitioning to the hardest difficulty "Don". I managed to beat Don in my first playthrough, but it's probably not the best setting for your first time.
There's also a seperate cooperative campaign called Vendetta which explains a couple of things the main campaign left out. It allows you to play as four different hitmen with unique, but very limited capabilities especially compared to Jackie. It's a bit more boring as the enemies are limited to "guys who shoot at you" and the light is also underused. I suppose it's not too bad when you play it with a buddy, but if not it's a waste of time. The characters on the other hand are very consistent with the main story in the sense that they are once again really good. One of my personal favourites being the Scottish, Football-loving, English-hating Jimmy Wilson voiced by David Shaughnessy. It also has a very diverse cast of characters if you're into that sort of thing.
So that's all I've got for the Darkness II. It's a surprisingly good game and would have had a lot of potential for future installments if it didn't disappear from everyones radar. If you like simple roller-coaster first-person shooters then I recommend you check this one out. It's a very fun with a really good story and interesting mechanics.