Status: Finished Darkness 2 once on Mobster difficulty w/ Good Ending before attempting New Game +
Achievements: 18 of 50
DLC Purchased: none
I don’t normally play direct sequels to games haven’t at least attempted first, but since we have no clue where my husband’s copy of the first Darkness installment is, I made an exception. After checking out the demo for Darkness 2, there was no way I was going to wait until we either found his copy or replaced it.
So I stepped into the hand crafted Italian leather shoes of one Jackie Estacado, the head of one pretty powerful mob family. His dinner is rudely interrupted when an unknown rival decides it’s time to take Jackie out of the picture. He is barely alive when he decides that the only way to save his friends and family is to release an inner demon he’s been keeping at bay for so long. And so, the Darkness and Jackie’s Darkling side-kick have come back to aid him in discovering who is after him now.
Darkness 2’s biggest boast is the quad-wielding FPS style of game play that can really only be accomplished when you have two demonic arms growing out of your back. Jackie has options for his guns, as he is able to carry to smaller guns that can he can use together or on their own and can carry one larger two-handed deal. I always went for the sawed-off shotgun but that’s because I always go for that in any game that let’s me have one. The “quad” part comes in thanks to those extra limbs the Darkness gives him. The left one can grab objects like car doors for shields or fan blades to slice up the enemy, while the right side is more about slashing at breakable objects or knocking back those pesky jerks who won’t stop shooting at you.
As with most games of the action-shooter variety, Darkness 2 offers the player upgrade options via Essence Stones located at various waypoints throughout each main level. There are four Talent Trees for Jackie to learn which requires spending the Essence collected while ripping your attackers apart with bullets, eating hearts or grabbing Relics. I went with the Weapons Tree first, maxing out all abilities so I could have explosive rounds and picked up a couple of health related abilities from other Trees. Abilities are progressive, so you will have to unlock them along the marked path, which means you might want to plan ahead for some of the best bonuses.
There are two abilities in my arsenal that I just love: Swarm and Gun Channeling. Swarm unleashes a cloud of bugs from the mouths of the demon arms that distract your enemies which keeps them distracted for a short time. This particularly comes in handy when there are more than 5 people trying to kill you. Gun Channeling helps focus your guns for a limited time adding some extra punch. Both of these abilities require a cool down period which can be shortened and time in use extended by purchasing complementing abilities from the corresponding Talent Tree.
One of my favourite features of the game is New Game+. When a game gives me the option to carry over all the unlocked abilities and collectibles into a second (or third) playthrough, that makes me want to replay it more than one that does not. Odds of someone unlocking all of the Talent Tree abilities in a single run is possible but slim, and since I do like to earn achievements, this is a huge perk for me.
And because every game developer now feels they have to throw in some variation of multiplayer in order to keep gamers from trading in their games, Darkness 2 has Vendetta Mode. Here you go out on hits either alone or preferably in a team. I haven’t touched this part yet because it still upsets me that game devs continue to do this. A great single player game doesn’t need you to throw in some passable multiplayer to keep it in the owner’s home. The experience is what will give it a permanent home in a collection.
But for me, some of the best moments of the game didn’t come from Daisy Popping heads or slicing bodies apart by throwing fan blades at them. No, instead it was talking to Fat Tony during stints in a psych ward. He is just too priceless and provided a good 5-10 minutes of laughs.
By the time I finished my journey with Jackie and his dark passenger, I was itching to play the first game even more. I also wanted to talk about it with my husband, but I sort of got ahead of him and must now wait for him to finish his game so as not to ruin anything for him. And the ending! Well, let’s just say that I am looking forward to getting more familiar with the Darkness franchise, because despite the predictability, I found myself really engrossed in the story. I was pleasantly amazed at how much fun I had playing and look forward to finding our missing copy of the original as soon as possible.
Darkness 2 is available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC for purchase via Amazon