Happy New Year! It’s finally 2012! When you’re finally done with celebrating and making new resolutions you’re not planning to keep, it’s time to realign your purpose to an important task in your videogames calendar – Embrace the Darkness.
The sequel to the 2007 classic is looming. Playing as Jackie Estacado, you will have to face new challenges, new enemies and new threats. You may ask for the purpose in doing all this again, especially since Jenny is dead (from the first game) and you had done all that you can to avenge her. Unfortunately, there is now a new reason – one that is likely to be connected to Jenny, but we’re not talking about that today.
The first thing you notice about Darkness II is its ‘comic noir’ look, which allows the game to stand out from the typical realistic-looking concept that has been seen in many thriller games. I wouldn’t mind the old look but the after viewing the gameplay demo, it looks like the new look serves the purpose better. If you have played and recall in the first game, there were some moments in which you need to squint your eyes because the environmental shadows were, at some choke points, affecting your vision. The comic noir look also allowed for better display of effects, especially when your Demon Arms are in a process of tearing apart an unfortunate bloke.
As warned by Jimmy, you will not be facing similar threats from the past. The ones looking for you in the sequel are much aware of you and your powers and they know your weakness.
But this time, you’re not totally alone. Other than the Demon Arms which we’ll talk about more below, you now have another useful ally – a Darkling.
Although the prequel allowed you to summon them for their various ‘skills‘, the new Darkling in Darkness II appears to be more critical. In the opportunity where he is controllable, the Darkling can access areas that is out of reach for Jackie and sneak up behind humans to perform executions.
Like the Demon Arms, the Darkling is also vulnerable to light and he has to maneuver the lighted corridors to avoid being detected and losing his powers. Sporting a Union Jack-themed top and a dead cat skin on his head, the Darkling also has a personality.
In one segment of the demo, he was heard humming to a Great Britain(?) national anthem as he climbed a long pipe. Watch him in action
The Demon Arms are still Jackie’s primary asset and this time they look slightly different from one another. Each has its own role too. The left Demon Arm is a grabber and will be the one to interact with objects and bringing the enemy closer to you. There are more objects available for your (or its) disposal but not all are mandatory. The right Demon Arm is one with a sharper end and will be the active limb doing all the breaking, slashing and piercing into corpses bodies and consuming all the hearts, replenishing your health in return.
It’s going to be fun playing as Jackie again.
Another new element in Darkness II is its Vendetta mode, a cooperative multiplayer segment for up to four players. Instead of playing as Jackie, you now can choose between four new specialists of various weapons and powers of the Darkness. No, it doesn’t involve four players with Demon Arms. Check out this introduction trailer.
These four personalities have specific weapon loadouts and you can further augment them with abilities and powers that can be purchased through a black portal, allowing for players to customise their characters differently.
In the Vendetta coop mode that we played,we took turns playing two characters (one from each console) to take out enemies in an area, before moving on to another. This allows the landscape to change and therefore required players to alter their stance and strategy. Don’t worry about making mistakes, as fallen ally can be revived by the teammate, but if the situation becomes hectic, each area and certain parts of the fight is a checkpoint in itself.
The coolest part of Vendetta is experimenting between different characters and getting them to perform execution moves. By virtue of their weapon loadout and skills, they each have different ways of using the powers of Darkness to punish.
It is all very satisfying.
I recommend spending some time to play the first Darkness if you have not, so get out there and scour for a copy.