The Darkness Update--To the Otherworld

Starbreeze's darkly comic action game is nearly complete, and our recent sample of the game was the most impressive yet.

It's not an exaggeration to say The Darkness has looked better every time we've seen it. That's not to imply it ever looked bad to begin with, but after developer Starbreeze set the quality bar so high with its last game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, we've been expecting a lot from this new game based on the sinister Top Cow comic series of the same name. Publisher 2K Games has trotted out the same three-level demo of The Darkness several times during the past few months, all of which was set in similar areas of New York City and consequently left us wondering what other, more disturbing surprises the game would have in store. Now that we've seen some of the grislier and more stirring scenes from later in the game, we're more excited than ever to finally play through it at the end of June.

As a quick refresher, the game casts you as Jackie Estacado, a young mob hit man who's coming of age to find he's being screwed over by his uncle Paulie (along with some help from a corrupt police captain and several other shady characters). But Jackie's got a secret that will help him fight back. He possesses the Darkness--or maybe it's more accurate to say that the Darkness possesses him. At any rate, Jackie has a malevolent dark presence that, in practical terms, means he's got a couple of gnarly demon-snake heads jutting out of his shoulders that can rip apart his enemies and give him all sorts of cool powers. These include picking up heavy objects with a giant tentacle and creating a black hole that will basically delete his enemies from existence. Jackie even has command over the darklings, a group of darkly humorous creatures that will visit all sorts of unpleasantness on the mobsters and other bad guys that get in your way. Naturally, the only catch here is that you'll only have full use of these powers when you stick to the shadows.

This is definitely not your average World War II shooter.

Previously, we only saw selected sequences from earlier in the game when Jackie was just discovering his Darkness-given powers and fighting uncle Paulie's thugs. According to 2K, you'll spend about three-fifths of the game in New York City, taking on not only your uncle's goons but also some very corrupt members of New York's finest. (In fact, we got to see one particularly rousing ambush scene involving the NYPD's finest that we can't show you just yet.) But the remainder of the game will be spent in a place called the Otherworld, which is located, well, somewhere else. We're not sure if it's an alternate dimension, a dream world, or purgatory. But we do know it's an unpleasant place from what we've seen of it so far.

The Otherworld is styled after what 2K refers to as "a never-ending world war." In practical terms, this hellish environment seems to be modeled after a mixture of both World Wars I and II because you'll see both trench fighting and wide-open battlefields that stare off into a murky, featureless abyss. Your enemies look vaguely Nazi-esque, judging from their uniforms, but closer inspection reveals that their faces and bodies are stitched together from disparate pieces of flesh. The segment of the Otherworld we got to see didn't involve any environmental puzzles, as we've seen in the New York areas, just a lot of killing these zombie soldiers. But you will have your Darkness powers at your disposal. For example, we saw a segment where one power--which involves using a Darkness head as a stealthy camera that can climb up walls and kill silently--came in especially handy while infiltrating an enemy bunker. Interestingly, you'll be fighting alongside allies in different-colored uniforms who also appear to be created from body parts à la Frankenstein's monster. But again, we're not sure how they figure into the storyline just yet.

What madness has led Jackie to this hellish dimension?

While we don't know what the Otherworld is exactly, we do have a good idea of how Jackie ends up there--but 2K has respectfully asked us not to spill all of the game's secrets just yet. Suffice it to say that Jackie will have some nice catastrophic events to deal with during the course of the game's storyline. In fact, from what we've seen, this is one of the more creatively violent and downright disturbing games in recent memory. But that shouldn't be surprising because Riddick had its share of shankings, broken necks, and so on.

Starbreeze continues to apply little touches to The Darkness that are fully bringing it in line with the studio's last impressive outing, at least in the areas of graphics and presentation. More subtle motion blurs and lighting effects have been added, which amounts to one of the nicer-looking Xbox 360 games we've seen yet. There's a lot more we'd like to say about the game, but that will have to wait for a few more days. Considering the game seems on track to meet its late-June release in just over three weeks, you'll get to check it out for yourself soon enough anyway. In the meantime, don't forget to read a new Q&A with Starbreeze conducted by our sister site, GameSpot Australia.

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243 comments
saiuofy
saiuofy

darkness imprisioning me... all that i see obsolute horror... i cannot live... i cannot die... trapped in myself.... body my holding cell.......

scarletsnake
scarletsnake

The audio doesnt work on this one, and I downloaded it on 2 comps. is it me or is there something with the vid?

gameboy360
gameboy360

kikasir thats kinda sad that you would have only rented it based on the comic books in the first place.

kevy619
kevy619

i cant wait to get ahold of a copy!

DooshBIGELOW
DooshBIGELOW

Oh man this game is gonna OWN!! cant wait to rip ppl apart in HD!! lol

kikaiser
kikaiser

I managed to get ahold of most of the comic online due to this perking my interest... All I have to say is that simply had me thinking of it as a rental, however when I learned that Starbreeze was making it, thats what sold me. I can't wait to get my hands on this game and dive head first into darkness.

Orthrand
Orthrand

itll probably look exactly the same on both systems and i heard about it for the 360 2 years ago i think. Anyway the game looks ace

dieuhmmkay
dieuhmmkay

@Spencer626 Yeah people have heard about Home but no one cares because its worthless.

dieuhmmkay
dieuhmmkay

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

PS34EVR
PS34EVR

So wasn't this a PS3 exclusive and then ported to 360 or the other way around or was it developed for both systems? Because I own both and want to get the best looking one. I bought Pirates for the PS3 and the developer didn't use antialiasing on the system compared the PS3 version to the demo they had on XBLVE and the 360 version looked smoother. Then again we are talking about Disney Interactive. Hope they both look the same. It looks like a very different game kinda reminds me of Max Payne but with a Demon inside for a little extra boost of bad ass.

kevvo_92
kevvo_92

Swedish games what more can i say :D

ahughs007
ahughs007

I agree, first ShadowRun and now this. If The Darkness is any kind of improvement to Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, this game is going to be PHENOMENAL! All nay-sayers will be put to rest when they play this. All the dis-believers should prepare themselves for an actual comic book game that doesn't suck.

KingKoop
KingKoop

I'm quite looking forward to this badboy.

jmckenz3
jmckenz3

DannyK5, I also had both PS3 and 360, took the PS3 back. I grew tried of not being able to at least have demos to download until the real games hit a the end of 2007. It sux that SONY has only been consistent at quickly releasing new videos of cool games...

GravityDs
GravityDs

I heard Mike Patton was going to do the voice of some main character in the Darkness. For those of you who don't know who Mike Patton is he is or was the frontman for one of the greatest f**king bands of all time Mr.Bungle.

DragonfireXZ95
DragonfireXZ95

Are they going to make this for PC? please tell me they're going to F@#*ing make it for PC!!! I'm sick of all these good fps games not being made for the daddy of all fps systems.

stuckboy
stuckboy

I believe in a thing called looooooooove, Aaaaaaaaaah!

prowler666
prowler666

cool. i like the style of this game.

DooshBIGELOW
DooshBIGELOW

Man im glad to see more innovative FPS coming out now!! shadowrun now this Im Stoked!!

Col_Swamp
Col_Swamp

this game will look good on either console. im looking forward to this title.

mandalorex1
mandalorex1

the main reason why u never hear about ps3 version is 15% market share so they will only sell 200 copies of the game ps3 fanboys will have to get used to it.

ShadowNinja69
ShadowNinja69

i hope this has not been pointed out but those are the wwl German Uniforms and Pickelhaube

TequilaSlammer
TequilaSlammer

right back onto the game. i reaaaallllllylyyyyylylylyl cant wait for this.

Spencer626
Spencer626

DannyK5, I also own both systems and enjoy playing the PS3 a lot more. I really like the 360, it's just not as interesting. The PS3 will eventually be better than the 360 when more games come out. You have heard Home and Lair haven't you? That's just the start.

xyt30
xyt30

Its looking real nice.

bunnyman14
bunnyman14

Dude that box art sucks, The Darkness is supose to be nearly all covered in weird armor, not just tentacles w/teeth on his shoulders...and it's a FPS!? it shood be an action game w/him controlling his little demon thingies (he can spawn many of those), I wouldn't mind shooting in FP, but having the whole game like that doesn't make much sense.

knnth
knnth

Some of you people are making gaming completely absurd. If you are offended by that, you're probably one of those people.

William1025
William1025

Dannyk5 your elite just came out and you cant watch hd-dvds unless you spend another 200$ so dont compare something that started with only 20GB. Now all you have is a bigger hd and now its colored black wow what an upgrade buddy.

DannyK5
DannyK5

Look at this... 1.) $200 for 4 years is like 7 cents a day. If you can't afford that, please hide yourself in shame. For that you get a service that is constantly updated with excellent support and regulated for cheaters. 2.) Wi-fi, hard connection, makes no difference to me. 3.) For that $10 you get an award winning controller that is $10 better. 4.) My hard drive is 120 GB for $130 less. How big is the PS3 hard drive again? 5.) In theory it is capable of better graphics, but the 360 programmers have a year head start on a system that is easier to program for, so all that hardware means nothing. Plus, the 360 has more RAM so it all evens out. 6.) I don't need to tilt my control like a 3rd grader and I would rather have a rumble feature. 7.) Almost a year later and every game released for both systems clearly proves the 360 has better graphics and online support. FYI: I own both systems so your argument means nothing. Just please try to get your facts straight. The only game I own for the PS3 is Resistance so far you fanboy.

Spencer626
Spencer626

Look at this..... 4 years of x box live costs $200. The PS3 gets it for free. The PS3 has a wi-fi connection built in. The 360 owners have to spend another $100 there. The controllers cost $10 more for the 360. The PS3 has a way bigger hard drive, 360 owners need to put at least $100 in to that. Plus the better graphics, the fact that the PS3 can play blue-rays, and has a motion-sensitve controller. X-BOX 360- $800......... PS3- $600 What exactly does the 360 have now?

gamerkid99
gamerkid99

wow, just saw the vids, looks sick, i gotta get this, even though i'm frealed out by the "Otherworld"

princeofgames90
princeofgames90

Well it seems to be a nice game i'm looking forward to it

kevy619
kevy619

"bihboy69" oblivion certainly is an awesome rpg, it combined with Dead Rising made owning an xbox 360 worth it for me last year. Between both games ive got over 300 hours of play time.

BigBadBully
BigBadBully

Mike Patton doing the voice work ! I'm already frightened. This is going to be an awesome game!

bihboy69
bihboy69

oblivion is a pretty awesome rpg kevy619

kevy619
kevy619

as long as sony doesnt count on Square Enix they could have awesome rpgs. But i agree to an extent, ever since SquareSoft merged with enix we dont get games like chrono cross and vangrant story anymore. Instead we get Kingdom Hearts 2 and Dirge Of Cerbius. For some reason sony seem to be trying to make some good shooters, i dont see the point since shooter fans are either going to stick to pc or go with a 360 anyway.

Osolid1
Osolid1

How will the PS3 become a killer RPG machine besides the tired final fantasy series? (which I used to adore by the way). Now I am a bigtime fan of a few games called KOTOR 1 and 2, Jade Empire, and soon to be mass effect all of which happen to be for Xbox and Xbox 360? I never thought I would see the day where Sony throws away their RPG supremecy but somehow they managed to blow it.

kevy619
kevy619

exactly, having different sized drives makes sense though. I stream all video and mp3 to my 360, either that or its on a disk. PS3 has the same functionality, actually seems like its easier to do. With a 360 you need a program like tversity which will actually convert video on the fly to wmv amoung other useful features. So yeah long story short, 20 gigs is plenty for me.

Mirage749
Mirage749

I have no idea, but not having a hard drive was such a terrible idea. Why would they go from having a standard HDD in the original Xbox to not having one in the 360?

kevy619
kevy619

i wonder if anybody actually uses a 360 without a harddrive...

Mirage749
Mirage749

Eh, it depends on what you have on there. If there is a bunch of CDs and movies and such, of course it's going to be taxing. I hope this game does well too. I'm really looking forward to it. The core 360...bad idea.

kevy619
kevy619

4 gigs is a bit taxing for a 20 gig, fine for 60. lets just hope that starbreeze uses the ps3 to full potential, i really want this game to do well. Also I wish the core version of the xbox 360 was never invented. also if a 4 gig installation makes oblivion run that much better, maybe every developer should take note of this. I really want to like both systems, im not a fanboy lol.

Mirage749
Mirage749

@kevy619 A PS3 version will not have a choppy frame rate. A 2x BD drive, which is the same drive in the PS3, is not as slow as you make it sound. It has a data transfer rate of 72Mbps, which is equivalent to the speed of a DVD drive of between 8x and 10x. If they wish, they could use the HDD to improve load times. A 20GB PS3 does not limit their ability to do that, like you said. So far, the game that needs the most amount of space using a required HDD installation is Oblivion at only 4GB.

kevy619
kevy619

honestly though guys, im going to buy a ps3 eventually. Its going to be a killer rpg machine once the developers get the ball rolling.

dreeke12
dreeke12

wooooow i like it allot ;)

kevy619
kevy619

the information isnt hard to find satanyoka lol, its kind of like knowing a cartridge loads faster than a cd spinning at a low speed. Ever played chrono trigger on ps1?