2 minutes into The Darkness 2, I felt powerful. 10 minutes in, I ripped someone apart with demon arms, spewing blood everywhere. An hour in, I could tear apart an entire town.
This is how The Darkness 2 will make you feel, and it really is a amazing. Sadly, this power is basically the only thing really going for this game, and even though it does a great deal to help it, The Darkness 2 is not really as good as the first game – to me anyway.
The appeal of the first Darkness was it’s story, and how emotionally connected you felt to Jackie Estacado, the game’s main character. All the people you know and love make a return in D2, but they really don’t feel as real as they did in the first game. This is largely due to the poorly constructed storyline – one that both takes too long to take off and ends too soon. You’ll only really be playing the D2 story for ~6 hours to be honest, which is really quite pathetic. The story is still full of twists and turns, but it really lacks the intrigue of the first game.
Combat, though, feels much better than in the first game. Shooting is much more fluid, and a new host of Darkness powers – including Quad Wielding, makes for amazing violence. Every time you kill someone up close, beautiful cell shaded drops of blood splatter all over your face, making the overall experience that much better. The AI is pretty clunky, and even on the hardest difficulty you won’t have too much trouble with death, especially with the health that you regain from executions.
Another addition to the game is the new Vendettas mode, which is a Co-Op mode that sends you on various different missions. You choose one of four characters, each with unique personalities, and go on a killing spree all over various destinations. Some of the things that these people say are ridiculous, which is a very nice touch. Vendettas gets bland pretty quickly – it really lacks challenge, but nonetheless, it helps to extend the replay value of an otherwise short title.
Aesthetic is pretty nice – all the places that you go to all seem different enough, but again, you don’t feel as immersed in the world of Jackie as you did in the original. The signature eerie Darkness atmosphere has pretty much disappeared, replaced with something less inspiring.
One other major gripe I have is with level design. Each level is just so linear – the world isn’t even semi open anymore. Every level you play just rushes you from start to finish, and apart from the odd relic to find, there’s no more exploration.
On a technical level, D2 is solid, but the FOV, which is locked at 60, may cause some problems for a few players. Just something to take note of.
The Darkness 2 is a departure from the first game, and whether you should get it or not really depends on what you liked about D1. If you enjoyed the exploration and emotional story, you’ll probably want to skip the sequel, but if your favourite part about the original was ripping apart people with Darkness, this game has exactly what you’re looking for.
Score – 7.5/10