8.9

A fantastic game, filled with new concepts and ideas that are tied together by a fantastic and gripping story.

The Darkness is nothing short of a spectacular game. That said, I would caution FPS players before diving into this game, try the demo available on both PSN and Live so you can get a taste before buying this title. The first thing this game makes crystal clear is that it is tightly wrapped in an immersing yet playable story. The game will very rarely take control away from the player even most dialogue scenes still allow the player to move about, or if you prefer you can watch from fixed angles (just don’t touch the movement sticks when the scene starts). This allows the player to be as active in the story as they please, though it is hard to play through without catching at least some of the plot and given the quality of this games story, besides given the quality of the voice acting and compelling story I shouldn’t think anyone would want to pass the story by. Having read a few pages of The Darkness comics, I really wasn’t looking forward to this games story line, the comics leave a lot to be desired. I was blown away by how well the development team worked with the comic’s author to create something so perfectly blended with the best of the comic’s original material, and the new material. If you have read the comics don’t let this game pass you by, I think you’ll find it quite enjoyable, and if you have never read The Darkness don’t feel like your missing something because everything in the game is explained so you won’t feel lost. Much of the story line comes from observation and careful listening, not everything is directly discussed so the player really needs to be involved in the game to get the most out of it, which is a great attribute considering the Darkness is a first person shooter. The Gamespot official review made a pretty big deal out of the voice acting in this game, before playing the Darkness myself I couldn’t understand why it was so important to them. The quality of the voice acting becomes immediately clear in the game. No voice sounds out of place, even the random people populating the subway sound authentic. The voice acting is of such high caliber that as a player you can actually get a sense of relationships between characters just by listening to how they talk to or about one another. On a game play level the voice acting adds to the overall immersion in the world of the Darkness. One of my personal favorite things about the game was the loading sequences. Not only do the loading sequences feature smooth animations and fantastic graphics but they are also home to some of the best dialogue in the game. Jackie says things during the loading times that are aggressive, funny, heart warming, encouraging, nostalgic, and generally these little tid-bits enhance the story in some way shape or form. As I played through I almost looked forward to the game loading again (which only happens when you enter or leave an area of the game). the ambient sounds, like the trains in the subways and televisions in the background all really sound great, and the weapon sounds are beefy enough to be believable. All in all the sound quality of The Darkness is pure and simply perfect, you couldn’t ask for anything more, (10). This leads into the graphics. Starbreeze blew everyone away last gen with The Chronicles of Riddick, and since then CoR has largely been recognized as the best looking XBOX game, that’s quite a reputation to uphold and believe me, Starbreeze does not disappoint. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are the best graphics ever, but what they do, they do extremely well. The detail in The Darkness is amazing, but often it is best to see characters from a little distance to get the full effect. Up close textures tend to blur slightly and you can see the odd geometries off character models, but you rarely have a chance to get close enough to ever notice these things. The lighting is obviously a key part of the game play and as such seemed to receive a lot of special attention. The flicker of a dying light was so well done that I found myself killing lights for no other reason than to kill them while running around. Shadows may be a bit too dark at times, but that is again hardly noticeable and doesn’t take anything away from the quality of the graphics. Overall the graphics are phenomenally well done, but there are enough little things and hiccups that a player will notice something is amiss from time to time overall the graphics deserve a very solid (9). Game play is something that I found I had to get used to. The player uses the triggers to fire the weapon held in either hand, or for assault rifles and shotguns they have a melee attack with the left trigger. Weapons do seem to have a severe auto-aim, which can be toned down, but more often than not the auto aim is a good thing if not a little too helpful in some cases. Occasionally I found my guns locking onto bad guy’s heads and being able to kill six or seven baddies with just a few bullets. While this did make me feel pretty cool it also made much of the combat very easy. This seems like a good time to mention that the normal difficulty in the game is often quite easy, and very rarely will the player find themselves in a situation that is overly difficult. While you may die a few times the normal difficulty doesn’t present much of a challenge, because you do have such devastating powers and your health does recharge you never end up in a situation where you are helpless. Hard however is quite difficult. You can only take a few shots before dying, so it makes the game a much more interesting experience, combat wise at least. The Darkness powers themselves are also quite powerful and never really run out because you can just recharge in the dark. The great physics system and fun abilities give the player a lot of room to destroy at their leisure and the destruction is very fun. The only thing I can really fault game play wise are the gun controls, they are just not quite right but still function without being frustrating, (9) There is some real length to the single player mode of The Darkness, and there are many little side missions that make you feel like you did something “nice” for someone in need. Unfortunately few of the side missions have anything to do with the main story line and are easily bypassed, but I recommend that you try and complete as many as possible as they are often fun, funny, and always exciting (who doesn’t like killing things?). Unfortunately there is not anything too fantastic to draw the player back once they have played through the single player portion of the game. The multi-player is decent, but there isn’t too much going on with it. While it is fun to play a few times I found myself getting bored after a few weeks of causally playing online. The story is the real draw of the game, and it is fantastic! I would recommend keeping the game in your collection so down the road you can revisit this remarkable game. Because the game doesn’t offer anything spectacular to keep the player coming back time after time, I think the value deserves an (8), you defiantly get your moneys worth, this is a game for the collection, hang on to it, you will go back but it may not be in the same week or month. Finally just because I find this game to be so enjoyable (yet not without its flaws) I’m tilting the review with a (9). I really enjoyed this game and even if you don’t buy it, try the demo and get a taste, it really is remarkable.

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