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The Darkness 2 was released on February 7th, 2012 and was developed by Digital Extremes and published by 2K Games. The original Darkness was released back in 2007 developed by Starbreeze Studios and was given pretty good review scores, ranging from 7's to 9's. The Darkness featured Jackie Estacado, an Italian-American hit man working for the mafia. On the night of his 21'st birthday, a hit is placed out on Estacado (Voiced by Kirk Acevedo) by his Uncle Paulie.
Jackie has this power only known as the darkness (Voiced by Mike Patton); The darkness has been passed down from generation to generation. Estacado is held back by the darkness and has to witness the death of his girlfriend, Jenny Romano. And the rest of the game you are hunting down your Uncle Paulie and trying to find answers to what the darkness is, why Paulie wants you dead, etc.
The Darkness was great game but Starbreeze did not want to make another. 2K games handed it off to Digital Extremes with their resume having the Bioshock franchise along with, System Shock 2, and the Unreal Tournament series. I had high hopes for this game seeing that the first one is so good. After getting the game, I drove back to my house and popped the game into my 360; Did this game live up or was it just another let done?
Story: The Darkness 2 starts off with Jackie being the don of the Franchetti family and heading to a dinner with Vinnie. He arrives at the restaurant and sits down with a couple of ladies. As soon as he sits down and starts to mingle, the one on the right gets shot than a van drives through the window behind them. Jackie's leg is ripped to shreds, leaving only bone and some muscle left. He is dragged through to the back and into the kitchen by Vinnie. The gas was turned on inside the kitchen and one of the thugs throws in a molotov cocktail. Vinnie gets out just in time while Jackie is left inside to die.
The darkness starts to come back to Estacado telling him to use the power or die. The Brotherhood's leader's,Victor Valente, reasoning for attacking Jackie was to retrieve the darkness. Just as Jackie is crawling out of the burning building, he agrees with the darkness and the power is released. A little later in the game, Jackie finds out that the darkness has Jenny and won't let her go. And that is what the game is about the rest of the time; Getting rid of Victor and saving Jenny.
Through out the story, you will meet some interesting characters such as Johnny Powell, soft of an information giver to Jackie about the supernatural things that is going on. The writer is Paul Jenkins, he also wrote the comics as well so it's all written nicely. The dialogue is great and at times funny, the characters are well written and make me actually like them, and the overall story arc is great.
One last thing, I've heard some reviewers complaining about an “abrupt” ending. Before we get to the next section, I want to tell you that the ending is not a disappointment. One thing I can say about it is that it is so evil. That is why I love it so much, because it so evil and I loved every second of it.
Gameplay: Back again is the quad-wielding; Meaning you can have the darkness and/or two small weapons such as the M1911's or one large weapon, being the shotgun or assault rifle. It all works great; No problems at all. The enemy variety is one thing I'm happy about because, from my memory, the first game only ever had you fighting foot soldiers. That got old after a while and I'm happy to see they fixed that in the sequel. The enemies range from the standard foot soldiers to shield wielding soldiers to light wielding enemies. There is also another enemy that seems to have some sort of power of the darkness. He can dash around, leaving a purple/black smoke following behind him, and can also wield a shield, light, or both. The enemies can get a little bit of a pain later in the game but it only ever happened to me once.
A new feature to gameplay is the addition of a skill tree. Things like executions for health, ammo, and getting a shield, getting longer clip while in the dark, or shooting a swarm out of your hands to stun your enemies. Another thing, it seems that in this game you can do a lot more with the darkness; Which is a good thing. In the first game, I remember only being able to slash and eat hearts. In this you can control the direction of the slash, eat the hearts, pick up and throw enemies or objects, do executions, and more.
The darkling is also back again in this game. There is only one darkling in the game this time around, but he has more to do with the story. You can play as the darkling in a the as well. It's a refreshing change to the usual run and gun gameplay. The only problem I have with the gameplay is the bosses. The boss fights in the game are too easy to say the least. Victor's fight was the easiest out of all of them and that is disappointing. There is also a cooperative mode where you play as one of four hired guns that go on missions for Estacado. The mode is great fun but if you don't have anyone to play with and you want to play the missions, you can play them on your own.
Graphics/Sound: Cel-shaded graphics look awesome. Borderlands is one of my favorite games of this generation and one of the reasons is because of the graphics. The Darkness 2's cel-shading looks great and is a welcome change from the more realistic graphics of the first. All voice acting is perfect; Great performance from everyone. Mike Patton is the bad ass voice of the darkness. The voice is great and rally is creepy. Kirk Acevedo as Jackie Estacado and Lauren Ambrose as Jenny Romano are both great and perfectly fit their roles. The rest of the cast does a great job; No complaints.
Replay Value: Replay value is hit and miss. I can see myself playing the main campaign a couple of more times but the vendetta mode (Co-op mode) I could play maybe twice. One thing that is great for replaying this is that there is a game plus mode where you carry over the powers and everything you already have on the skill tree. I plan on going through this at least one more on the game plus mode.
Final Verdict: This is a fantastic game and I recommend it for anyone. If you haven't played the game yet, the least you can do is download the free demo on Xbox Live or on the Playstation Network. Score: 9/10