Review: The Darkness II

It’s been two years since I killed the murderer of my beloved Jenny. A lot has changed since that day. I haven’t used my special power ever since, I don’t want the Darkness to take control over me. I’m no longer an assassin, I run the family now. I was living a ‘peaceful’ life until the day I went to the restaurant for a lunch with two of the most gorgeous women.

In the Darkness II you’ll take control over Jackie Estacado once more. He’s head of the mafia and was able to suppress the Darkness for two years. When he was invited for lunch at the restaurant however, everything changed. Jackie was attacked by a mysterious pack of men and was forced to unleash the Darkness once more to survive. Later on you’ll learn that the men who attacked you belong to the ‘Brotherhood’. An organization willing to risk everything to get their hands on the Darkness to achieve their own dark goals.

The new storyline is created around this constant struggle between Jackie and the Brotherhood, but that’s not the only new element in this game. The first thing you’ll notice is the new art style. This time the creators didn’t want to create the most realistic or best looking game out there. This time they wanted to create a game that stayed true to the original Darkness comic books. To achieve this, the creators chose to use graphic noir, a style close to cell shading.

At first you’ll have to get used to this new style because all the main characters from the previous game have received an extreme make-over. After you played the game for a couple of minutes however, you’ll realize this style fits the game perfect. Every background and character is drawn by hand and all look very impressive and smooth. The new art direction really is an improvement.

A game doesn’t only exist out of good looking graphics. The Darkness II wouldn’t be a sequel if the gameplay hadn’t changed compared to the first game. The most impressive new feature is without a doubt ‘quad-wielding’.

We all know dual-wielding where the hero of a random shooter game gets two different weapons in each hand. Double weapons always means more fun and more kills. Dual wielding is fun, but it’s a kid’s toy compared to quad-wielding. What quad-wielding does is giving you the opportunity to not only control two different guns but two Darkness arms as well and all at the same time.

Just like in the original game, the two Darkness arms will be yours to control and will always remain on the screen if the lights are all taken down. The two Darkness arms are more evil than ever before and will supply the game with a lot of gore. You’ll be able to rip enemies into two pieces our eat out their hearts with those two beloved arms. Every arm has its own little trick, there’s one for slashing things and there’s one for grabbing things. Combine their powers however and you’ll become nearly invincible.

Although both demon arms are quite lethal on their own, it’s more fun when you add two more guns to the drama. Shooting while you’re slashing and grabbing enemies never felt that great. It’s a little struggle at first to get the hang of quad-wielding, you’ll be using all four shoulder buttons on your controller, but it’s definitely worth it. Quad-wielding doesn’t only add more to the gameplay, it also brings the gore to the game. The Darkness II is without a doubt one of the bloodiest games out there.

Unleashing all this power on mere humans would be quite a waste and even a little cheating. That’s exactly why the Darkness II introduces a couple of new enemies. This time you’ll have to face supernatural enemies of the Brotherhood as well. They are more challenging than the usual gang members and also bring more variation to the game.

An example are the soldiers that ow vanishing abilities or soldiers who can use extremely bright lights to keep the Darkness away. Just like in the previous game, the Darkness can’t stand to be in the light and will disappear if it stays too long in the light. Shooting lights will be one of your main occupations during the game. Enemies holding lights must be taken down quickly because without the Darkness your just an outcast who can shoot guns but definitely isn’t a match for the Brotherhood.

Lucky for you, you’ll have to ability to increase Jacky’s power using different ‘skill trees’. With every kill or eaten heart you’ll gain Dark Essence, with this essence you’ll be able to buy different skills at certain points. Some skills will give you more health while other skills will give you more power or brutal Darkness kills. It’s up to you to decide witch power you’ll like to obtain first. This new skill system definitely adds a little RPG-styled gameplay to the game and is a nice addition to the original game.

When all this power still isn’t enough to survive, you don’t need to be afraid. Throughout the game you’ll receive aid from your loyal Darkling. Different from having different Darkling like in the first game, you’ll have one true loyal Darkling you can (ab)use to your advantage. The Darkling isn’t afraid to help you out and will do some occasional killing for you. But there’s more, this time you’ll also be able to get full control over your Darkling during certain missions of the game. This doesn’t only change your interface but brings a whole other way of playing the game. Playing as a Darkling is more stealthy and very satisfying.

All in all these innovations to the gameplay are very entertaining and thanks to those the Darkness II isn’t just another regular shooter. The focus has been more shifted towards shooting instead of stealth but depending on your own taste, it sure is a single player campaign worth playing. The only downside to the single player however is that it won’t last that long. In less than 8 hours you’ll be seeing the end credits of the games. It’s a shame really because I wouldn’t mind spending a little more time in the Darkness universe.

 For those of you who want to spend more time in this intriguing universe, the creators added vendettas to the game. Vendettas are the solution if you wish to enjoy the game for a bit longer. The vendettas were originally designed for players who would like to go through a mini campaign in co-op but are playable for one person as well.

In the vendettas you’ll be able to take control over one of the four uniquely designed characters for this game mode. Each character has its own weapon and Darkness power. They can’t control the Darkness like Jacky does but all have one specific power of the Darkness. This makes all four characters irreplaceable and unique. Choosing you’re character also means choosing your way of playing the vendettas. Some characters our more suited for up close combat while others rather stay in the background.

What really make the vendettas fun to play is the story. In fact all four characters have to take care of something for Jacky. Because Jacky is the head of the family, he can’t be everywhere so he’ll need the aid of a couple of henchman. During the vendettas you’ll play through a campaign that follows the same events of the main single player. This way you’ll learn everything about what happened when Jacky didn’t had the time to finish something himself.

The only downside to the vendetta is the fact that you’ll always get stuck in a rather small area where you’ll have to defeat all the enemies before continuing your quest. The gameplay isn’t really innovating and can get a little bit boring after a while but for those who’re looking for some great time with online friends, this is your place to be.

We can conclude that the Darkness II sure is a fun game to play and isn’t a waste of your money or your time. It’s a decent game but don’t expect a triple A game for your money. It’s a rather short, straight forwarded shooter but the Darkness powers make up for a lot. Giving you the opportunity to complete an entirely new storyline alone or with your friends is definitely something that saves the game from being another game waiting to hit the budget shelves. In the end you’ll definitely enjoy your stay in the Darkness world and will be willing to return there any time.

Game rate: 7.8/10



Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.