Capsule Computers were recently invited out to get a sneak peak at multiplayer offerings of 2K Games and Digital Extremes’ The Darkness II. Being quite the fan of the original The Darkness released back in 2007, I was quite eager to see how its sequel was shaping up.So just what can you expect from The Darkness II’s new multiplayer component?
Well from my time playing it, quite a lot actually. First thing first, multiplayer itself has been completely overhaul and revamped, with the developers throwing out competitive multiplayer in favour of four player co-op. The multiplayer component of the original Darkness was, for lack of a better word, a complete mess. It felt completely unnecessary, rushed and really just meaningless bullet point on the back of the box.
Thankfully a great deal of time and care has been put into to making “Vendettas”, the new co-op multiplayer mode that will feature its very own story which will run parallel with the main game’s campaign. Players will be able to choose one of four unique characters to play as, each of whom has their own unique abilities, weaponry and personality quirks. Alongside the Vendettas Campaign is Hit List, a sort of Call of Duty: Spec Ops mode which allows for players to skip straight into the action in purpose made scenarios based off campaign levels, along with brand new Hit List levels and scenarios.
I found it most surprising that the developers have made a completely new storyline and characters for the Vendettas mode. Like in The Darkness II’s main story, Vendettas puts players against the Brotherhood – a centuries old secret society that wants to use The Darkness for their own use. They know what The Darkness is and exactly how to fight it. And as such, these guys are far more tougher to defeat than the standard mafia goons from the first game.
As Vendettas is co-op/team focused, you will need to rely on your friend to help support you as the Brotherhood are a tough bunch to beat. Unlike Jackie who possesses all four Darknesss Powers (and more), The Darkness Powers in Vendettas have been split up amongst the four characters. Your choice of character determines the Darkness ability and Darkness infused weaponry you wield.
- Inugami carries the cursed Kusanagi samurai sword. His Darkness ability is the Darkness Swarm, which summons a swarm of miniature demons to attack and immobilize his enemies
- Shoshanna is Israeli Special Forces and wields the Arm of the Night, a Darkness infused shotgun. Her ability is Gun Channeling allowing her to fire multiple rounds of gunfire at one time.
- Jimmy Wilson Irishman and alcoholic. Jimmy possesses the Dark Axe and the ability to summon Darklings to fight by his side.
- J.P. DuMondA Witch doctor of sorts, J.P. wields the Midnight Stick and his Darkness ability allows him to summon Black Holes that can pull in enemies to their death.
These four characters make up the crack pot team that will take on the Brotherhood. Playing thought one of the earlier levels of the Vendettas Campaign and an early mission of Hit List, I can tell you now that you will definitely need to uses team work to get through these missions, especially on harder difficulties. Ammunition can be quite scarce, and you will have to rely on your team’s combined uses of Darkness Powers to get through the game.
Eating hearts is back in The Darkness II and this has been incorporated into Vendettas. Players will need to destroy the hearts of dead enemies to regain lost health and collect Darkness Essences which is sort of like the in-game currency. For every kill, assist, execution, heart destroyed etc you will gain Darkness Essences which you can then spend on levelling up your character’s skills and abilities, for example increased damage and prolonged uses of their Darkness Power.
The game itself looks and plays quite well, the ability to sprint and aim down the sights (which were missing from the first game) are a welcome improvement to The Darkness II’s overall gameplay. It will be interesting to see if there will be any crossover from the Vendettas mode into the game’s main story. This would be quite interesting to see, but so far all we know is that both campaigns run parallel with one another.
Graphically, the game has taken on a far more comic book cel-shaded art style which is quite fitting as the game itself is based off a comic book. With that said the game certainly not dropped any of its ‘graphic content’. Whist I was only able to play The Darkness II’s multiplayer offering, gameplay over all is quite tight with combined uses of gun play and Darkness Powers, with a team focuses mixed into that thanks to the new Vendettas mode.
The Darkness II is set to be released on February 7 in North American and February 10 in Europe and Australia for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.