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Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

The Darkness 2

7.5 out of 10

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One of the things you sort of get used to with comic book-inspired games is the goofiness. Sometimes, it's goofy dialogue. Sometimes, it's goofy writing. Sometimes, it's goofy events.

Darkness 2 has a little bit of all of this, which makes it a little hard to stick with at times. So does the violence, strangely enough. God, I never thought I'd be saying that, but there were moments while playing this game that I felt like I should probably just shoot the bad guys to put them out of their misery rather than use my totally awesome superpowers to split them in half like a wishbone.

What didn't hang me up, though, was the story. I never played the first game, but I had no problem delving right into this, and fans of comic book games who can hold down their lunch should pick this game up regardless of whether they played the first one. And while the story isn't amazing by any means, it's good enough to keep you moving.

Here's the skinny: you play Jackie Estacado, a powerful mobster who controls the Darkness, which kind of controls him, too. The Darkness is an essence and something a little more … onscreen, it'll appear as two tentacle-like globs that you can use by pressing the controller bumpers. It's a really easy scheme to get the hang of, and keeps the triggers free to let you use other weapons as well.

Meaning, basically, that you're pretty powerful. And those tentacles of Darkness ain't exactly blunt instruments. Expect to see your enemies sliced in half, split apart, and impaled. I think if the game was a little more realistic-looking, I wouldn't have been able to continue. But because the developers chose to give it a more “comic-book” feel, I managed to stomach my way through it.

As you move along, you'll be able to unlock new powers, which is a great incentive given the story can be a little weak from time to time (and the voice acting doesn't do it too many favors). Another thing that may upset you just a bit are the less-than-human enemies who do a pretty amazing job of behaving like AI bots. All the more reason to rip them apart with your new powers, I guess.

Regardless of the little things, it's worth mentioning that even the multiplayer is worthwhile, which is an added bonus. It ties directly into the campaign mode in a creative sort of way, letting you flesh out the story a bit.

So let's recap: blood? Check. Gruesome violence? Check. Multiplayer that doesn't feel tacked on? Check. Pretty good story? Check. Weird Darkness creature that occasionally urinates? Double-check.