Summary: The Darkness was a rather solid first-person shooter and a good example of a license being properly handled. Developed by Starbreeze Studios, it featured some bold gameplay choices that didn't always pan out but managed a solid game worthy of a sequel. Picking up two years after the events of that game, Jackie Estacado has become the de facto organized crime leader of New York, and his time since has been spent keeping The Darkness subdued.
Excerpt: The word “visceral” is thrown around the games industry an awful lot, but in the case of The Darkness II—a gore-filled shooter more than happy to cover your vantage point in digital viscera--the term actually works.
Excerpt: When The Darkness first launched in 2007, gamers found themselves stepping into the shoes of Jackie Estacado. Five years have passed, and the series has been handed off to developer Digital Extremes for an overhaul. The original game received favorable reviews, and this site even awarded the game an 8.2 out of 10 . With The Darkness II, have the new developers managed to keep the feel of the original, innovating the original formula?
Conclusion: It doesn't quite capture the pathos of the first game, but it DOES tighten up the gameplay and keep the action moving all the way through. It won't go down as a cult classic like the first, but there is plenty of fun this time around.
Excerpt: What 2K Games was thinking when they decided to create a game that combined Italian mafia themes with Matrix style gun fighting and AVP style demon-headed arms granted by some demonic being called The Darkness, we'll never know. What we do know is that they backed the concept, and created an innovative, edgy, and entertaining sequel. The Darkness II hopes to maximize the awesome potential that its predecessor introduced in 2007.
Summary: Set two years after the conclusion of the original, The Darkness II breaks the conventional FPS model with its fervid Quad-Wielding gameplay, allowing players to slash, grab, and throw objects and enemies with their Demon Arms while simultaneously firing two weapons.
Conclusion: In regards to the single player narrative, your enjoyment will mostly dependent on how much you enjoy cliffhangers. Without diving into specific plot details, the incredibly unsatisfying ending is designed to setup the game for future DLC or a third entry into The Darkness franchise. The narrative feels unbalanced as well, as if the developer set events in motion almost too fast at the beginning.
Conclusion: The Darkness II is a fun romp for the brief duration that it lasts. Multiplayer is clever, but not enough to make up for the short, mediocre campaign. Definitely worth a serious look if you played and enjoyed the first Darkness game but note that a weekend rental might be all you need out of it.
Summary: A bloody and entertaining experience that offers a nice break from traditional war-style first-person shooters, The Darkness II may be a bit too linear and short for some, but the action never gets old.
Pros: Quad-wielding combat is a joy, Some strong narrative elements, Co-op mode extends the experience
Cons: A bit too linear, Very short campaign, Graphics sometimes get muddy