|System: Xbox 360*, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Digital Extremes|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: February 7, 2012|
|Players: 1-4 (Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content|
There's also the Swarm ability that summons a bunch of hellish insects to temporarily incapacitate your foes, another power that envelopes you in a protective carapace when you're in the dark, and an ability that channels your Darkness powers through your guns, giving them a temporary boost in power. If you really want to be a powerhouse, you can get the abilities that load your guns with explosive ammunition and larger clips.
If I had one major complaint about The Darkness II, it'd be how short its campaign is. It's not difficult to beat it in around six hours. While that might sound a little disappointing compared to its predecessor's much longer runtime, it's really not that bad. If you were to cut out the first game's mundane side missions and mindless wandering around the labyrinthine city and the subway tunnels below it, both games would be about the same length. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have six incredible hours of gameplay than twelve mediocre hours with a few good parts thrown in.
A major addition to this game is the multiplayer, which has been completely overhauled since the first game. The competitive mode of the original has been replaced by a four-player co-op mode that lets you and some friends jump into the blood-spattered shoes of four Darkness-powered mercenaries. The mode, dubbed Vendettas, has been woven into the main story, and some of the characters from the campaign have roles here as well.
There are four characters you can choose from, and their unique skill trees and Darkness weapons make each of them worth checking out. There's Inugami, a swordsman who has to kill to satiate his cursed katana lest it take his soul; a Scotsman named Jimmy Wilson, who has a (stereotypical) love for the drink and a fondness for splitting skulls with a powerful axe; a voodoo shaman named JP Dummond, who wields a powerful staff; and Shoshanna, who gets up close and personal with her double-barrel shotgun. None of them are particularly relatable characters, but they're all solid, and their unique weapons and skill sets offer some incentive to play through Vendettas more than once. That's a good thing too, because the mode only takes a few hours to complete.
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.
Date: February 7, 2012