Jackie Estacado hasn’t had the best life. Growing up in a mob, being betrayed and losing the love of life doesn’t make a good man. On top of all that, he is possessed by a being known as the Darkness. After taking revenge for the death of his girlfriend, he has been taking it easy. Now, four years later, Jackie is forced to unleash the Darkness once again to save himself. However, once you let out the Darkness, it isn’t so easy to hide it again.
With that setup, Digital Extremes is trying to build a fluid and brutal experience that can stand with the original. We get a small of taste of what is to come after playing the new demo. Hit the jump to see if you should embrace the Darkness.
The demo of the Darkness II starts out with Jackie nailed to, what looks like, a cross. We then see the faces of Jackie’s kidnappers and it seems like they are an odd bunch. The head of the brotherhood, Victor Valente, demands the Darkness from Jackie and it seems he might have the tool to get it. We then flash back to Jackie entering a dinner with Vinny. This is where the visual style of the Darkness II seems to really shine. The characters faces seem to be really animated with the light ink cel shading style. The dark red that is around the restaurant seems to really compliment the style as well. Jackie is seated shortly at a table, sitting across the table from two women. After a little flirting, a bullet flies through one of woman’s head. A loud scream emerges from the other woman as a van smashes through the window behind her an hits Jackie. This is where the bullets start to fly.
Jackie rises up to see his foot mangled and bloody. Not being able to move, a friend named Vinny hands Jackie a gun and tells him to cover them. Vinny starts to drag Jackie as enemies flood the building, giving you a good warm up. The shooting mechanics plays like most shooter, with tight controls and bloody accurate guns. I pulled off plenty of head shots as Jackie was being dragged out. However, the true combat shines once Jackie enters the dark back alley. The Darkness emerges from Jackie to save his life but this is bad news for the attackers.
The Darkness brings multiple powers and abilities to Jackie’s disposal. The most basic uses of the Darkness are the grab and slash functions. The grab function can be used on any glowing objects you see in the environment. The items range from small boxes to car doors, letting you dispose of enemies any way you want. You can also grab enemies and perform bloody executions that will make you wince. The other basic use of the Darkness is slash. Holding the right bumper and using the right stick, you can slash in any direction. This can be pretty useful to knock out lights and stop foes that rush you. Mixing these abilities with the gun play is named “quad wielding” and it works.
There are a couple other abilities that are in the demo called swarm and gun channeling. Swarm acts like the hornet plasmid from Bioshock. You release a group of bugs that distracts and disorients the poor fools, leaving them open for gun practice. Gun channeling boosts the power of your guns and allows you to see enemies through walls. Better yet, you can shoot through thin walls and dispose any cowards.
The most satisfying moment I had in the demo was picking up a pipe and threw it at a goon to pin him to the wall. I then pulled off a car door and pursued two attackers that were hiding behind a car. I filled one of them with holes using my Uzi as the other guy ran. I laughed, throwing the car door at him and sliced him in half. This moment made me realize that there were multiple and creative ways I could remove this scum. Along with some humor from a little Darkling and a gripping story, this seems like a day one purchase from me. February 7th can’t arrive soon enough.