Diving back into the world of the macabre, The Darkness II is a game that build upon the foundation of the first title and offers a set of enhancement that make for a decent play. Based on the popular comic book series, the Darkness II once again gives players control of Jackie Estacado, the leader of a crime family who wields the supernatural power of the Darkness. The game begins with Jackie being the target of a mafia hit and subsequently fighting for his life by unleashing the Darkness. As the plot progresses, the focus shifts to the leader of a fanatic cult who wants the Darkness for himself, leading to an ultimate showdown with the polar opposite of the Darkness-the Angelus. The story isn’t really the highlight of the game, but it’s delivered in a way that makes you want to delve deeper. Adding to that is the intrigue surrounding the Darkness itself, and the brief interludes where Jackie finds himself in a mental asylum. The campaign is short, which is why co-op has been added to extend the narrative of the game.
Dubbed ‘Vendettas’ mode, this solo/co-op campaign has you choose between four different characters with their own upgrades and skill trees to invest in. Unfortunately, they lack Jackie’s depth. Gameplay is standard gunplay, with a few new twists thrown into the mix. Using the Darkness, Jackie has access to two demonic tentacles, as well multiple guns that he can dual-wield. The game basically calls this mechanic ‘quad-wielding’, where the left tentacle can grab enemies and environmental objects, while the right one acts as a makeshift whip. The game has lot of gore in the form of gruesome executions, where Jackie goes invulnerable and deals death upon his helpless foes. The execution net you ‘dark essence’, which can be used at certain points to purchase new abilities like eating hearts and gun-channeling. In addition, certain segments give you control of the Darkling imp, where you move using stealth and take out foes from afar. Gunplay is fast and enjoyable at first, but quickly becomes repetitive. Also, the enemy Al seems to be lacking complexity at times, although their far superior numbers and varieties will definitely keep you on your toes. With the look and feel reminiscent of comic books, the game looks great during action scenes, despite some glitches. Character models range from fairly good to download ugly. The voice-acting, however, is strong, with plenty of cheesy mobster accents to go around. As a whole, The Darkness II is one of those games that lack the finesse that most titles today enjoy, but if you’re into going on a rampage with godly powers, this game won’t disappoint.