Over the weekend myself, and many other PAX Prime 2011 attendees got a chance to play a demo build of The Darkness 2 by Digital Extremes. In case you don’t remember, The Darkness 2 continues the story of Jackie Estacado and his struggle with the The Darkness and a secret society known as the Brotherhood. The stage presented in the demo build was very similar to the demo showed during PAX East earlier in the year and will not be included in the game, according to the message that was shown before starting, we were playing an Xbox 360 build. This will be basic walk-through of what we got to play.
The game opens up to Jackie, tied up and his hands nailed to a cross, very religious like. As Jackie regains conciseness, you can see two men stand him front of him, Victor Volante and a follower of the Brotherhood. Victor explains how The Darkness prefers a host that it can easily manipulate and that Jackie will never be able to control it, and then the screen fades to a flash back. Jackie is now walking through an upscale restaurant being lead by Jackie’s right hand man, Vinny. Vinny shows Jackie to a table with a couple of real nice looking girls already sitting down, the girls ask Jackie if he remembers them and Jackie replies with, “I almost didn’t recognize you without your clothes.”
Then suddenly a gun shot rings out and one of the girls is laying dead in a pool of blood on the table, with a gun shot wound in back of her head. A van bursts through the wall right near Jackie, and plows into his table.
Jackie, now trapped under a table with a bloody, broken, and almost mutilated right leg is thrown a pistol by Vinny and told to take aim. This were the player is finally in control.
Vinny starts to drag Jackie through the restaurant while your job is to blast the goons as they come in to view. Vinny manages to drag you behind a bar, and throws you another pistol which introduces the dual wielding aspect of the game, which feels very natural and as you start to aim more precise while firing, Jackie will actually move the pistols closer together as to make it easier to hit the target with both guns. Then the game flashes back to Jackie being pinned and Victor Volante telling Jackie he must willingly give The Darkness up in order for him to be free of it. Jackie pretty much tells him to go stick it where the sun don’t shine, and the game flashes back Jackie now lying on the ground brusied and bloody crawling towards and exit. A wild evil henchmen appears and taunts Jackie… well sadly for him he was standing in darkness, and that means one thing, you hold the LB button and Jackie’s Demon Arms appear and rip the henchmen in half by pulling on both legs, dangling him upside down, “The Wishbone”. This is were The Darkness 2’s visual almost comic book look feels just right, the bloody splatters, the bones being ripped from his body all set against a lightly lit brick wall, is just pure awesome.
Now with the Demon arms in play, you can pick up a variety of things up from metal poles, guns, mailboxes, and even rip off a car door and use it as a shield all while dual wielding guns and using the other demon arm to slash or impale an enemy. Never has a game incorporated four arms so brilliantly, the system of Quad-Wielding is very smooth and never seemed to get in the way of allowing me to just mow down enemies with my guns if I so pleased. However, I opted to slash, dice, and impale my way through the demo. The LB button is your left demon arm which takes care of grabbing things, eating hearts, and pulling off the sweet executions. While the RB button is for slashing and breaking things. If you hold RB and move the right thumb stick in any direction, your demon arm will violently slash in that direction allowing for some sweet neck slashing, body ripping carnage.
After “wishboning” the poor man, you move through an alley while the game teaches you how to jump, crouch, and move around. The alley then opens up into a street with waves of henchmen coming after you. You can then either hide behind cars and other cover or you can move about eliminating street lights so Jackie can use The Darkness against his enemies. After you fight your way through the streets you find yourself inside a building for refuge and this is where you are introduced to the Darkling, your very own little demon companion who loves kitties (wears a dead cat on his head as a hat) and ripping faces off bad guys. You then traverse through some more alleys and streets while simultaneously killing foes until you go down some stairs into the subway only to come across more baddies and a lot of lights, The Dakrness’s only weakness.
Through out the demo you will see glimpses or hallucinations of Jenny, Jackie’s girlfriend who was murdered in the first game while The Darkness made Jackie watch without being able to help her. Once you’re finished destroying and mutilating the henchmen in the subway, the game flashes back to the dark room with Jackie still nailed to a cross and Victor Volante looking over Jackie.
Volante continues to taunt Jackie about giving up The Darkness, but the it has other plans. A que appears on screen to press X and Jackie rips the bolt out of his hand and jabs it into the Brotherhood member’s temple. Jackie grabs his gun and you aim for the light on the wall and shoot it out. Volante quickly grabs a mysterious device in the middle of the room that The Darkness would have transferred into and heads for the door. Jackie, laying bloody and almost on the verge of death on the floor, looks up towards Volante as Volante tells Jackie that The Darkness wont let him die, but that Volante will continue to persure Jackie and The Darkness. Volante slams the door shut and locks it. The game then fades to black and the The Darkness 2 logo fades in.
Being a big fan of the original game, I am very pleased so far with the direction of The Darkness 2. The Darklings are sure to be just as and probably more hilarious than the first game and the new comic-book or graphic noir style, as 2k Games likes to call it, is a nice touch to bring fans of the Top-Cow comic book into what is sure to be an amazing and visceral experiance.