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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Avatar image for R3V3N4N7
R3V3N4N7

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I can't begin to describe how excited I am for this game.

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Gadeos

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OK... Cool comic character? Cool 1st person shooter? Expirienced Developer?.... Hmmmm... Sounds GREAT!!!!! Can't wait to play it

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djsaskdja

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Two worlds? What game is this? You must be talking about Fablivion!

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DeltaTeam

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I think this game will be alright, I'll wait for reviews just to be safe tho

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nrt25

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"Screw the 360 version!" Wow fanboy alert. They are freaking video game consoles, not sports teams, find something else to cheer for you dork.

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Kooken58

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"Screw the 360 version!" ya well it seems when a game comes out for 360 and ps3, the 360 version is better. Example, like FEAR for instance :P though i think PC version is better than all of em. Either way this game looks sweet, i really enjoyed the Riddick game...

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need4speedu

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Hopefully, this game will put PS3 on the map! Screw the 360 version!

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jordan1

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looks cool... hurry up and release it already !

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thechamp101

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Wurz1515, what are you on about man? theres many good games coming out this summer, mass effect, two worlds just to name a couple.

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Wurz1515

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Should be a pretty descent game. Probably a better rental than a buy. Though this summer doesn't look very promising and the fall is going to feature so many good releases; I'm probably just gonna rent it and save some money.

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Hott-FuzZ

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finally this game is going to get some hype, it looks amazing,

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UGAH

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its on!

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kamicolo

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Looking good. Seems the game is keeping with the sweetness of the comic

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zongoz

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This game looks sick. I've been wanting a good shooter that actually has a good story. I hope there is a demo on XL Marketplace soon.

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Renegade194

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Think I may have to get this game, as it looks like a different and cool experience.

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dsman001

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I'm so gald this is multiplatform because i got three red light of death on my 360 so now all i have to do is buy the PS3 version to play it. P.S. Microsoft hates me because i got 3 red light at the start of the f ing Halo 3 beta testing.

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deactivated-5925dfb1d1fe6

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Cool.

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riku-ansem

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This game will be BALL'IN!

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Samfisher_1

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cant wait for this!

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D6rkFire

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I'll I can say is WOW

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ScaryMovies

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LMAO, at the comment under one of the pics... "This is not your average WW II shooters" Well no it isn't, infact the game doesn't have anything to do with WW II ..the section that pic is from is WW I :|

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James5000

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I already reserved this game last month. The only thing i'm worried about is the Otherworld. A never ending world war doesn't really fit into the whole idea that the Otherworld is like hell where your dark power are waiting for you to pick them up. But besides that that is game looks amazing. (Yeah Darklings)

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kevy619

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im glad its multiplatform, starbreeze games should be enjoyed by all

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ReStLesslayer

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hmm this should be kick ass I really like the style used for the game.

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Vitor_M

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Riddick was one of my favourite Xbox games, I cannot wat for this! Although the otherworld looks awesome, I'm getting some distinctly Painkiller-esque vibes. Anyone else see the resemblance between their hell level there and this? Both were never ending wars. Still, painkiller was just as underated (although not admittidly as good) as Riddick, so its nice to see them getting inspiration from not so obvious sources.

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SQUAREENIXslave

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Riddick was an underrated game. This should be as good

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guppieface

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alonso is my BFF

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Sydwynder

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Could be good......I'd like to see a demo on LIve first though.......

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petervaht

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alonso dude you are **** retarded, why would it be 'better' if it was exclusive? you just shot yourself in a conceptualized foot there. nothing is 'better' if its exclusive, game is good or bad regardless of the system, and xbox360 isn't the weakest link wtf are you talking about, look at the review quality between ps3 / 360 Ill get both eventually probably but im yet to be sold on a ps3.

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skylerpwns

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Game looks awesome, can't wait.

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Darth-Durka

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Alonso you are friggin retarded. You have no idea what's being ported or not. it would look the same anyway and they decided to make the game for both at the same time. not one after the other. your full of yourself.

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Belaisdead6

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Yes and yessss

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p00phead

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get it everyone

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boozak

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I'm a fan of TopCow & i like the concept of the darkness although from the the videos i've seen the gunplay looks really awkward, & these are recent videos.. considering it's coming out this mounth that cant be good ..Aside from that it looks really kwl :)

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495123

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This look awsome can't wait to play alonso_14 Shut the hell up you stupid fan boy

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Homes225

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Impressive. I would love a demo :)

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-DaNuTz-

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wow nice ... i think i'm gonna try this one

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Fusekazuki

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alonso_14 please go back to whatever ps3 fan boy hole you came from. what your saying is utter crap. To me you just sound mad you bought a PS3 only to find out that all those games that would have made your purchase a wise one. But instead your seeing cross platform development, which in the long run is better for the developers from a money stand point. I mean you look at the PS3 current line up of released games and it's unimpressive to say the least. So just sit back, relax and wait for your cross platform games to be released so you'll actually have something to play on your PS3.

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DJO90

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alonso_14...you are an ignorant ass. Sorry, but it's true.

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milkcarton57

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this game looks like it won't hold my attantion for more than a half hour... my monies are safe for now.

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fmobliv06

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looks like a great shooter. there are a lot of great looking shooters coming out this year actually

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alonso_14

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SonyRulzU Yeah it would have looked better if it was a PS3 exclusive. As i've said before multi platform game designing is held back by it's weakest link, the XBOX 360. and before you fanboys start defending your flawed umbilical cord into "next gen" gameplay remember this; lack of a hard drive, DVD storage, and a three year life cycle on a state of the art 2 year old PC console = Weakest Link. This game was looking insane until they decided to work with the 360 and you'll see the same thing happen with GTAIV and every other multi platform release. thanks alot MS. PS3 games like grand theft auto 4 and fifa 08 would be better if they werent made for xbox360 cos they are being ported over to da ps3 from the 360

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biglewiss

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man this looks so awesome

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bioshockt

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CANT WAIT!!!

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daveg1

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looks amazing............and very strange!

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Eman5805

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According to the vid I saw, the black hole power doesn't even make the enemies disappear...

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sloakz

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this looks nice and twisted.

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darkside646

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I'm surprised there isn't more info on this game seeing as how its out in three weeks.

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Hedgyness

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This is looking better and better can't wait for it to come out.

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lahoor

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cool

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