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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vVvDreamervVv

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I hate fanboys...sony, microsoft, nintendo, or whatev...keep convincing yourself your console is greater than >, i'll just enjoy playing the game and not care about all this political bs... and for the record, anyone who says graphics are better on one console than another, look at the benchmarks and reviews, it's been done and settled, other than that, take it up w/ the developers, all games are practically equal graphically....i'm speaking here to ps3 vs 360 minded individuals... you really want the best, stick to pc gaming, can't be beat...yet.

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JonWatt

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Looks....freakish...

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made_by_semen

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Looks pretty cool. It's nice to see a FPS that involve more than just guns and blades.

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SonyRulzU

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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.

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zeus_gb

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Looks and sounds incredible but where's the PC release?

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Wolf_of_Dawn

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This game looks great! Can't wait till it comes out.

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sizzlemebacon2

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I've wanted this game ever since I heard Starbreeze was making it, but I'm worried about overpowerment. With these amazing powers at your disposal I hope the game isn't... easy.

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Boy_Man07

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i really want to play this game. it looks awesome!

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JahanX

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"This is definitely not your average World War II shooter." Of course it isnt Cos thats bloody WW1

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Tokanite

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As a fan of the comic book I can say this game will be awesome. The game play looks like it captures the darkness powers very well and that it will offer hours of interesting, unique playtime.

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dupe576

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oh my god this game looks amazing

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LinkinPark_X

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interesting....

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ResidentEman

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I can't wait to play this game. It looks awesome!

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Pepperman_uk

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Looks ace! Looking forward to the release date. Lets hope its as good as it looks.

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sniper2k0

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Just a few more weeks... Hope there will be no DELAYS!!

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bullhed

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Boring? I doubt that. I bet this game will be very action packed with plenty of story to keep you occupied. And I also bet that there will be many powers to use and many of the darklings will keep doing things to keep you laughing. In my oppinion, this game looks freaking awesome.

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AstralProjected

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Looks very promising. As a fan of the comics, I am beyond eager to play this game.

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Elrasiel

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Now I wanna read the comic!

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Triple_H90

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Looks good, but boring. Just like Mercenaries and Painkiller were.

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Pip_Boy

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Awesome comic written by Garth Ennis, awesome game!

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kevy619

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enemies weird? not half as weird as bioshock

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kevy619

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i would like to see the multiplayer in action, even just a little

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jacnewforce07

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The enemies are a little weird but hey...it should be ok

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kevy619

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they seem less stupid in a youtube video i was watching, im guessing the difficulty level is adjustable. I cant imagine starbreeze making a game where the ai is worse than the one they made on a last gen console...

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ThePhilatron

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Looking very nice. My only question is whether or not the enemies are going to be as stupid as they looked.

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peeweeshift

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i want to try it out but i'll rather try out a demo after it comes out so it uses the actual game engine.

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mazniq

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Looking damn cool.

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Postmark_Jensen

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An FPS with claw-type-things? Brilliant! And a biblical apocalypse theme? Brilliant! Oh wait, I'm thinking of AvP mixed with Requiem... not brilliant. Don't believe GS's hype.

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phantomdragon

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His other hand will be doing something else

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GeigerdolylWodd

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"Sabotage This game has so much potential it's kind of making me anxious. I hope it can live up to its own hype. I've picked up a few of the early comics to try and get into the story. The source material is awesome. Let's hope the game turns out like that as well. Posted Jun 2, 2007 5:16 am CT "

I wonder if you can drive his red car like he does in the first issue. It was (the first issue of The Darkness comic) once online but now it seems to have been pulled from Dark Horse' website...what gives Silvestri?
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bihlet

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Gamespot reviewers are not very clever are they? They precent a picture featuring C96 Mausers and a German officer wearing a pickelhaube, what the hell makes you think that = WW2? God some of the staff should take history lessons, and you should think that after all these WW2 games one would realise when the content doesn't look like stuff from WW2 games because it simply isn't WW2. In case you're as ignorant and blind as the staff that is definatly WW1 stuff, they're even in a trench!

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markuslarsson81

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This game looks like it will have a very good atmosphere, creepy. Did anyone else notice that the AI seems really stupid, I mean they're just standing there getting shot. That could potentially ruin the game I think.

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Ice_man_1985

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I was waiting for this game, since e3 06 and i can't wait to lay my hand on it .

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Sabotage

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This game has so much potential it's kind of making me anxious. I hope it can live up to its own hype. I've picked up a few of the early comics to try and get into the story. The source material is awesome. Let's hope the game turns out like that as well.

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Link_6512

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I am just in awe at this. This game is going to be amazing. This is gonna be the best year yet for games.

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Disclaim3r

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Can't wait for this game, hope they put up a demo on XBL.

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weeyian94

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nice game,i'm gonna look out for it.especially when this jackie guy has demons following and guarding him,its cool.

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GrimGravy

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this is gonna be such an awesome game

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termadoyle

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I saw the gameplay demo. It's freakin' amazing. I'm looking forward to this one a lot.

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Darkside2501

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Look great.

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Sqallus

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i only looked at the first pic and there iS a lot of blur, and ITS A PSYCHOBILLY FREAKOUT!!!lol, too much guitar hero NVM, but the game itslef looks alright, not amazing.

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Hapvtpile

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i don't normally post but this video make this game look horrible. I bet it will not get over a 7 out of 10, But if enough kids get their hands on it, it might do well.

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stevie093

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sounds awsome guys cant wait for the release.

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zeecorner

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Oh man, if this is on par w/ Riddick and, it has multiplayer? This could be a damn fine game!

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MichaeltheCM

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i have absolutely no idea of what to think of this game

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n0s2004

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This is one of those games that u just cant wait for.

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Hell-Fire21

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Dang, the demons eat people's hearts. Well, so much for "the heartless" Lol

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VladimirCrow

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This game looks insane, I can't wait to play it.

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NathanHawkins

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Perhaps this game will prove good (or better). Watching the vid made me question some of the arguments the dev team decided to include...other than sheer shock factor which often leads to sales. For that paticular reason I understand their decision...be that the reason intended. I remain skeptical as to the game's ultimation. As a gamer I of course hope for only the best, and a positive surprise is nearly never a negative.

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konradak

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Sounds pretty sweet,,,

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