The Darkness 2 - Preview

Evil breaks loose

The Darkness 2 is a first person shooter that has the unenviable task of following on from one of the most original games in the genre to be released this console generation, but new series caretaker Digital Extremes doesn't appear to be buckling under the pressure. The gruesome FPS sequel once again sees players take control Jackie Estacado, an Italian American mobster possessed by an evil demon which grants him incredible supernatural powers but threatens to consume him.

It has been two years since Jackie used The Darkness to kill the men responsible for his girlfriend Jenny's murder in the original game. He subsequently managed to bottle up his powers and has now ascended to the role of Don of the Franchetti crime family, but a sudden, unprovoked attempt on his life kicks off a full-scale mob war and acts as the catalyst for the demons inside him to re-emerge.

Quad-wielding chaos

With Jackie's otherworldly parasite once again rearing its menacing head, players are introduced to a combat system and range of powers that wouldn't feel amiss in a superhero adventure, and ones that would most likely be wielded by the villain of the piece. He's capable of shooting dual guns while simultaneously controlling two tentacle-like appendages called Demon Arms, the left of which is for grabbing and the razor sharp right for slashing.

These enable Jackie to pick up heavy objects like cars and toss them around with ease, and to skewer enemies or split them down the middle by yanking their legs apart. He can even encase himself in protective armour and create a sentient life form called the Darkling, a mischievous demon who follow his orders. But to do so Jackie must stalk his prey in the dark, as his vicious powers only manifest themselves in the shadows, meaning players need to destroy light sources in the environment to gain a strategic advantage.

The art of murder

The Darkness 2 looks set to be a brutally violent shooter, but not one without class and substance. Featuring a distinctive visual style that combines graphic novel shading and colour with the dramatic lighting of film noir, it's striking to behold and a fitting tribute to the comic series the game is based on. And while we don't know how the story will play out, if acclaimed comic book writer Paul Jenkins - whose credits include The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine and Hellblazer - can live up to the gripping, emotional tale of the original game, then players are in for a treat.

The likes of Modern Warfare, BioShock, Crysis and Uncharted ensured that 2007's The Darkness was somewhat overlooked by the gaming masses, but with the sequel's upcoming February 2012 release window ensuring more visibility, and developer Digital Extremes not just relying upon the original's cool combat features and rich, dark atmosphere, but adding to it with its own new ideas and visual identity, The Darkness 2 has a good chance of making a big impact.

SKU: Previews-165325
Release Date: 25/01/2012