The Darkness II Hands-On Preview

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Capsule Computers were recently invited to check out The Darkness II at Sydney’s night of gaming ‘Insert Coins‘ at Oxford Art Factory. While we’ve previously checked out The Darkness II Vendetta co-op Multiplayer mode, this was the first time we’ve gotten a taste of the game’s actual campaign and those horrifyingly awesome darkness powers.

First person shooter games aren’t exactly renown for their story, but the most striking thing about the original The Darkness was in fact its narrative. And likewise for The Darkness II, narrative will be another major draw card in this sequel.  The original Darkness (released back in 2007) was a nice twist on the whole mafia revenge story with Jackie Estacado acquiring the powers of the Darkness and subsequently faces the consequences of possessing them.

The sequel kicks off two years after the events of the first game, Jackie is now the Don of the mafia and has not used The Darkness since then. However, all of that is about the change with the introduction of The Brotherhood. An ancient secret society that wants the Darkness for their own use, they know exactly what The Darkness is and more importantly how to fight it. The demo dramaticlly opens with a hit on Jackie at a restaurant by The Brotherhood in an attempt to capture him and The Darkness.

Having played the first game, The Darkness II feels both familiar and different at the same time. The same basic game mechanics are still here, but the developers have introduced a new system dubbed ‘Quad wielding’ where players are literally controlling four weapons at a time – Two demon arms and two standard firearms.

This system works very well and is a welcome improvement over the first game, where Darkness Powers could only used individually. Now the left demon arm is used for grabbing and throwing objects and right demon arm is used for slashing. In the heat of battle you will need to use these abilities and the interactive environment around you to your advantage. For example, car doors can be used as make shift shields or can be thrown at enemies.

The Darkness II also sports a very distinctive comic book/cel-shade art style, an obvious nod its comic book roots. The game itself looks very good, especially with its gore. Word of warning this game is very violent, enemies will be decapitated, ripped in half and executed left, right and centre throughout the entire game. So if you don’t like that sort of stuff, then it’s probably not a good idea to play this game.

Overall from my short time playing The Darkness II, the game delivers exactly what players expect from a sequel. Taking things from the first game that people liked and improving things they didn’t like. Narrative is a strong point in this game evident in the fact that its co-op multiplayer Vendettas will tell its own storyline in parallel with the main games campaign.

A demo of The Darkness II is currently available for Xbox LIVE Gold members. The demo will become available for Playstation 3, Steam and Xbox Live Silver members on January 24.

The full retail version of The Darkness II is set to be released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on February 10.

Check out our interview with The Darkness II producer Seth Olshfski and our impressions of Insert Coin(S)

Awesome photos of the event below!

Images courtesy of Noel Wheatley

Currently a university student, it's sick as!
  • Anonymous

    Played the demo.  Was very impressed.

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