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.

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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.
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?
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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kevy619

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also keep in mind, in order to get games running at a good speed develpoers are already re-writting alot of code on the disks and using up alot of the extra space

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kevy619

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Swift18, all that information is fine and dandy but alot of it doesnt apply to the ps3 at this time. They can use DVD, but they just dont. Games on ps3 dont load faster, go ahead try them out . Oblivion is the only exception thus far. Bluray can potentially go faster and be awesome, but sony isnt going to speed up the drive all of a sudden. Imagine how upset ppl who spent $600 on their brand new system would be if joe blo who buys one after a price drop gets better performance. And yes they could install the game to the harddrive, although the 20gig model of ps3 limits this. Maybe a few firmware updates later these issues will become a non-issue, as i have noticed sony is improving their hardware on a regular basis.

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Swift18

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How fast can you read/write data on a Blu-ray disc? According to the Blu-ray Disc specification, 1x speed is defined as 36Mbps. However, as BD-ROM movies will require a 54Mbps data transfer rate the minimum speed we're expecting to see is 2x (72Mbps). Blu-ray also has the potential for much higher speeds, as a result of the larger numerical aperture (NA) adopted by Blu-ray Disc. The large NA value effectively means that Blu-ray will require less recording power and lower disc rotation speed than DVD and HD-DVD to achieve the same data transfer rate. While the media itself limited the recording speed in the past, the only limiting factor for Blu-ray is the capacity of the hardware. If we assume a maximum disc rotation speed of 10,000 RPM, then 12x at the outer diameter should be possible (about 400Mbps). This is why the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) already has plans to raise the speed to 8x (288Mbps) or more in the future.

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Swift18

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Also id like you to read this "While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it's possible to fit more data on the disc even though it's the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB."

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Swift18

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Kevy619 if that where true and thats why it's choppy then why are the load times faster? They Bypass that problem by storing the Base Game data on he local HD so there is no bottle necking. So it's closer to a 24x or more figuratively speaking. Also the Bluray uses a hard plastic coating that is Scratch Resistant and almost finger print proof. Protection layer Hard coating Bluray has a Protection layer: 0.1mm Hard coating: Yes Data transfer rate (data) 36.0Mbps (1x) Data transfer rate (video/audio) 54.0Mbps (1.5x) Video resolution (max) 1920×1080 (1080p) Video bit rate (max) 40.0Mbps DVD has Protection layer: 0.6mm Hard coating: No Data transfer rate (data) 11.08Mbps (1x) Data transfer rate (video/audio) 10.08Mbps (

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LittleYoshi

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cool game

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gamerkid99

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another world!!!??? another definition to WWI and WWII shooters...i feel scared to go to bed for some reason...

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Orthrand

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Read the whole article they said it was a mix of WW1 and WW2 Anyway looks like this game will brighten, or should i say darken, the summer and help to tide me over to Bioshock, Mass Effect and Halo 3

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rokkuman09

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Wow this actually looks like a pretty good game, and why does the German in the first screen wearing a WWI uniform if it's WWII? That makes little sense.

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kevy619

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why cant developers use dvd for ps3? They used cd for ps2 if it better suited the game.

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kevy619

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the ps3 version is probably going to have a choppy frame rate due to a slow reading bluray drive. The only way to get a game on the ps3 to be better than its xbox 360 counterpart is to spend an extra year in development, even then this only applies if the original 360 version wasnt optimized and/or is buggy (im looking at you oblivion).

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jordan1

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looks good... I was kind of hoping it would take place only in newyork, im curious to see how this otherworld thing works though...

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hahamanin

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this is a must buy for every 360 owners this month

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Awantah

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Damn a FPS sigh but even it should worth trying

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omence

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It will be one of the best games

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nalyad

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its a ww1 not ww2

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CaRD0N

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What was that trailer - Open ground and cartoon snakes on the shoulders? Most comic book games stink, I am wondering if this one will follow the rest of the steaming piles.

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Mcgnnis1

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So..what's next Top Cow..??..WitchBlade..??

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Plaxconium17

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who needs guns when you have giant snake-head shoulders?

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grafkhun

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looks pretty cool, but wont those snake things obscure your view?

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Killerabc

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Ive never read the comic but the game looks great i might have to pick this one up for the ps3

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Sk8erHeadshot

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I am a huge fan of the comic, and it is preety cool, different, and innovative. If they can make the game accesable to newbies and long time comic fans(so we cant complain) it good be a great summer game

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Tommi88

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isnt Starbreeze from sweden? oh and i think this game is gonna be great!

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Swift18

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If they are comparing this games graphics to other idk how you could this in it own league as far as design GS you never cease to confuse me. But any way I'm look forward to this game big time also Haze and Lair.

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Swift18

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"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." Uhh what?

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adoreyouinash

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I think this game will be great, hopefully im not let down. Riddick was a fun game but that dosen't mean this is going to follow in it's footsteps. The comic book is awesome so if they follow the same story and its made as well, this will be a very interesting campaign. 360 VS PS3 blah blerg bleh... don't come on the forums whining, just get the game for whatever console you want. The PS3 is more powerful but the 360 version will probably have much better online play so I will be getting the 360 version.

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mixhawkeye

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Sounds cool. I may get an xbox elite afterall.

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-theking07-

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Well looks like it might be good, but they put too much pressure on games that haven't came out yet, then when they came out, there not as good as they thought. Just look at spiderman, and shadowrun. So im not going to jump the gun and say awesome game.

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Ol_skool_Gamer

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The demon-snake heads jutting out of Jackie's shoulders... we have quite an original there. I'm checking it out.

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paradyme777

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Sounds like it's coming along nicely can't wait to check it out.

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lithus

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I just dropped 60 bones on Shadowrun (great game, just needs more online options, FYI Gamespot your review sucked.) and just going to wait to hear how good this does later.

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haesuse

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definitely a nice twist on ur standard FPS games, but one good game previously is not enough to make me just rush to the store and buy it. this is gonna be a rental 1st, or soemthing along the lines of that.

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football_legend

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I am only tracking this mostly because of the success of Riddick.

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DesmondPills

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its so funny how i wont come on in here in weeks and post. when i do, its always the same thing, this vs. that. these forums never grow they only keep breathing life into these meaningless vs. battles that are frankly lame.

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BrUnOdeFeNiX

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Good Game... and in the fight PS3 x X360 both have pros and cons.... JJpenguin is correct... better games for X360, more powerfull is PS3...stop this fight and shall we play games in both consoles with ours friends...

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JJpenguin

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The darkness looks amazing, i think although it's a FPS it has enough variety and potential to make me want it. It's like a reverse horror movie, you are the Jigsaw/Alien/satan thing that kills everyone, and they die in a satysfying way. What i dont want is something that has no element of strategy, just playing out like a linear Gears of War style game, by that i mean i looks and plays great but is a bit too simple for it's target audience. Also stop with the 360 vs PS3 it won't make a difference me saying this, but if the PS3's a more powerful consolle, so be it, the 360 has better games, both have pros and cons.

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slarvak

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Wow some heavy fan boy stuff here and for those who are saying "i hate it when gamespot only do the review for 360 and not ps3" maybe because they dont need to. the game is coming out on both so they will both be exctly the same, its not like the creators are going to make more work for themselves by putting extra stuff into one console's compared with the others

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rosscero

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i read the hq...looks cool... but i didn't expecting a fps game...>_

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BigDaveyDogz

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Looks like I may have to go to gamestop this week and pre-order this. I've been keeping my eye on it and getting more and more excited every time I see it!

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aphextwin3

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ugh i just saw the interview stream as well as the latest gameplay movie and im not impressed. I think having those creature things covering both sides of the screen is retarded. But i may be wrong hopefully a demo comes out on 360

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grassgreener12

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gamespot only says a game looks fantastic and later says its horrible is because gs only gets to see the game for an hour or 2 maybe. also, they aren't "supposed" to say that the game sucks until it actually comes out...often what they play at the studios is monitored so the editors cant even tell any problems up front before getting the retail version. so ya, a lot of games look really good until it actually comes out

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DaRkNeSs2393

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Wow. The Darkness looks amazing. Simply amazing. And no, I didn't get my name from the game or comic

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Church069

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A demo would be nice. If not, I'll just wait for reviews.

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Sanguis_Malus

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Don't be idiots, don't be jealous, DON'T BE FAN-BOYS. I have both consoles, I'm sure that the game will be good on both machines ! Personal choice.

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THEdjnme

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need4speedu Hopefully, this game will put PS3 on the map! Screw the 360 version! ahhhhhhhhhh bless, I hate to disapoint you but.......it wont........PS3 can't do FPS like the 360 can. And as if a game that's going to be multi platform will put a console on the map......NOTHING will put the PS3 on the map until the likes of Gran Tourismo, FF (whatever frickin number it is now) and MGS4 come along.....but I feel that it'll be too late by then. Especaly with the Final Fantasy francise not a 'definate exclusive' to PS anymore and all the speculation about MGS4.......oh dear oh dear.....I'd get rid of you George Forman grills now!

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HYP3RD4SH_666

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You know what? I don't trust gamespot's previews anymore. After seeing all of the games they say "look fantastic!" and "plays smooth" then when it releases they say it is horrible. Why the hell do you pump up the game just to say it sucks?

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Dualmask

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I was interested in this until I found out it was going to be a 1st person shooter...dammit. The Darkness is one of my favorite comic series, but I hate FPSs with a deeply seeded passion...so I'll pass.

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Mauller

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@Violateur Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps they might have been given the 360 version to preview? And LOL at piss annoy.

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CarlsonDK

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Riddick wasw awesome, so maybe it will turn out alright!

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GCase1

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Another crazy shooter with monsters and devils....haven't we seen enough of this already? Sheesh.

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