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'The Darkness' returns

Feb 28, 2012

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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The Darkness 2Jackie Estacado, the man with those zany demon arms is not a happy camper. Not one little bit. The anti-hero of 'The Darkness' has moved up in the world since 2007. The gangland hitman is now the boss of the Franchetti crime family. This alone has pasted a big, fat target on his back.

Jackie is still shackled by the guilt he has over the death of his beloved Jenny. Haunted by her memory at every turn, the crime lord not only has to deal with rival mobsters trying to muscle in on his action but a group of weirdo mercenary-like cultists called The Brotherhood. The Brotherhood wants to harness Jackie's supernatural power: a power that has taken him years to master.

The Darkness 2 In 'The Darkness 2', Jackie is in total control of the strange, demonic power. He wields it with grand power and authority. With the Darkness arms, he can rip, rend and tear his enemies apart as well as toss them around like rag dolls and execute them in all manner of sadistic ways. In his human hands, he is an expert marksman with a wide variety of death-dealing handguns. The combined attacks are just devastating and were not available in the original game.

Jackie's Darkling companion, an smart-mouthed imp who protects and assists him, returns as well and has more of a direct and important role in the sequel. The Darkling aggressively attacks foes, leads Jackie to destinations and grants him access to hard-to-reach areas.

Jackie can also gain new powers and executions by racking up experience points. Points are gained by eliminating baddies, harvesting their hearts and completing objectives. At Talent Shrines found on each level, you can purchase new talents such my favourite from the first game: the ability to create black holes to suck your adversaries into oblivion.

The Darkness 2 Borrowing a page from 'Alan Wake' and making light a weapon to be used against The Darkness does take the confrontations to the next level too.

Although the combat and power systems have been expanded for 'The Darkness 2', the depth of the campaign has been majorly downgraded. You pretty much fight the same handful of baddies over and over again and the campaign itself can be completed in approximately 5 hours or less. By today's standards, that's quite short.

The story is more personal this time with Jackie agonizing over the unbearable voids in his life and the curse of The Darkness itself but the depth and scope seen in the original title is absent here. There is a Vendetta mode where the player acts as hitman for Jackie completing various missions. While appealing, they are not enough to make up for the malnourished campaign.

The Darkness 2 The graphic novel, cell-shaded look borrowed from the comics created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis and David Wohl for Top Cow Productions really makes 'The Darkness 2' pop. The scenes are colorful and animated and the action, delectably bloody and brutal. Faith No More's Mike Patton and actor Brian Bloom's voice work is charmingly creepy and captivating.

Even with the campaign being as short as it is, 'The Darkness 2' is still an exciting and unexpectedly emotional shooter that doesn't surpass the original by any means but sure does kick off 2012 with a Bang!…and a few Blams!...thrown in for good measure.

 

The Darkness 2 The Darkness 2
Format: PlayStation 3
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Digital Extremes
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
Official Site: http://www.embracethedarkness.com/
Rating: 7 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.