February 13, 2012

Review – The Darkness II

the Darkness II 2
Videogames that enable players to act out extreme power-fantasies often struggle in presenting checks to balance the ability to do anything with the consequences of such actions – or at least they should. Being let loose to smash and slaughter on a God-like level offers players incredible freedom, but wants for purpose rather quickly. The majority of such games resort to unleashing the hounds with old ideas of order and control, which often take the form of recognizable authoritative order reacting in force scaled to the level of chaos being created.

Powered by comic book source material, The Darkness II continues to serve as an oddity in power-fantasy gaming, with Jackie Estacado’s superhuman abilities offering players a check via the weight of conscious felt purely through the narrative.

The Darkness hits us with something applicable on many levels, with a power that makes Jackie great at what he does, which just happens to be killing people. But it also consumes him via its usage, with each act of power surrendering more of Jackie to The Darkness that works to consume him. And while Jackie’s relationship with The Darkness plays out this way, the consequences of this union emerge entirely through the relationships within the game rather than any play mechanic that might attempt to spank players with the parental hand of morality.

This allows The Darkness to actually brush against a pursuit often cited but rarely achieved, creating a game that does cater to those gamers simply looking for a few hours of visceral tentacle murder as well as those players inclined to read and write lofty words about the more subtle potential being tapped.

The Darkness II continues to offer the opportunity to consider consequences without the weight of heavy handed intention, though the game also struggles with subtlety, at times slipping into preachy forced moments hoping to stress the narrative effort at work beneath the layers of blood players can paint the town red with.


February 3, 2012

Audio Bits – The Darkness II

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 7:39 pm

The Darkness II Developer Interview
Earlier today I had a chance to sit in on a developer call for 2K’s The Darkness II. Digital Extremes’ Sheldon Carter and 2K’s Dan Schmittou answered a variety of questions, including a few of mine, discussing the game mechanics, co-operative play, Jackie’s quad-wielding ability, and the comic book inspired art direction for the sequel, which hits shelves next week.

Since I always enjoy listening to the people who make games discuss their work, you can catch the full audio recording of the discussion below, which runs about fifty minutes.


January 18, 2012

Demo Report – The Darkness II

Demo Report The Darkness II 2
If you recall my lengthy diatribe on the matter of The Darkness, and the urgency with which it demands to be played, you might guess that The Darkness II is a subject in which I am greatly invested. I very much need for this title to deliver, and for that reason the question of whether Digital Extremes is equipped to succeed Starbreeze is a puzzle I have been pondering since the day of this title’s announcement.

The demo sets up the premise of the sequel and offers little else in the way of narrative—it provides a capable teaser, and then moves directly along to the matter of vicious tentacle murder.


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