Game Review: The Darkness II (Xbox 360)


Right around the time he died, my father said to me, he said: ‘Jackie, ya can’t outrun your fate, but ya sure as hell gotta try.’
In the two years since the events of the first game, Jackie Estacado has become the don of the Franchetti crime family. Though he still wields the Darkness, a malevolent force that has given him supernatural powers, Jackie has managed to suppress the entity, thanks to guidance from estranged occultist Johnny Powell. However, Powell became mentally unstable and fled from Jackie, afraid of the Darkness influencing him further. Jackie still struggles with the death of his girlfriend Jenny Romano, which the Darkness had prevented him from stopping.

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Jackie and his gang are attacked by a rival mob at a restaurant. Jackie is seriously injured, mangling his leg. After being rescued from the building, a mysterious figure appears and tells henchmen working for him to continue pressing the attack. While under attack, the Darkness calls to Jackie, demanding him to embrace the spirit, which he refuses to do. Soon afterwards, Jackie is caught in an explosion, and slowly bleeds out, and is confronted by an enemy. Jackie relinquishes, allowing the Darkness to take over and kill several attackers, and with the Darkness’ regenerative powers, stops the attacks and pursues the attackers into the subway. There, he reunites with the Darkling, part of his sub-consciousness created by the Darkness.

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He observes a vision of Jenny nearby, and ends up being run over by a passing train. Jackie wakes up in what appears to be a psychiatric ward, where Jenny and members of his mob appear as doctors, nurses, and fellow patients, telling him that his mob stories are simply hallucinations inspired by mafia fiction. One of the patients appears to be Johnny, who tells Jackie to find him.

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The Darkness II takes players down a brutal and personal path as Jackie Estacado, wielder of The Darkness — an ancient and ruthless force of chaos and destruction. It has Jackie constantly trying to define the line between reality and the Darkness’ tricks, engaging in stylistic violence, and longing to be with Jenny once again.

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The Darkness II plays similarly to its predecessor, but with the introduction of new features such as “quad wielding,” a technique which allows Jackie to use both the Darkness’ “Creeping Dark” tendrils and firearms simultaneously. The player has access to one Darkling, who is involved in the plot and useful in various situations. Each kill, discovered relic, and execution earns the player Essence, which allows players to purchase new abilities from Talent Shrines. Devouring hearts restores Jackie’s health and earns Essence. Like in the previous game, Jackie loses his powers in the light, though in this game light also causes Jackie’s vision to brightly blur and is coupled with a high-pitched ringing.

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The Darkness was a really awesome game, but the Darkness II just does everything so much better. The way it looks, the way it plays, the voicing and storyline, it’s all even more amazing. The Darkness’ voice (Mike Patton) is even improved. The visual style is much improved; being cell shaded graphic noir, it looks more like the graphic novels. Initially I wasn’t into how different Jackie looked but after looking at the graphic novels, I admit he looks a lot more like him, though the original Jackie model will always have a place in my heart. I cannot praise this game enough, I can’t think of a single bit of it I disliked (except for the length), and after seeing the ending they absolutely must make a Darkness III! If they never make another game then that’s the only thing I’d dislike about the Darkness II.

One day Jackie will be with you Jenny 🙁 One day…

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The Darkness II
  • 9/10
    The Final Score - 9/10
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