The Darkness II is a fantastic game, held back by only it's length and linearity.

User Rating: 9 | The Darkness II (Limited Edition) PS3

First-person shooters with a focus on story are rare. They are so rare that you can count all of them released this generation on both hands. In 2007 one such shooter was released, it was called The Darkness; a video game adaptation of the comic series of the same name. It followed Jackie Estacado, a hitman that, on his 21st birthday, inherited a power called The Darkness.

The sequel ups the ante with quad-wielding; the ability to dual-wield guns while utilizing two arms of the Darkness. How does it compare to it's prequel, a game deemed a cult classic?

The story picks up right after the first game ended, Jackie has taken over his uncle's mob family after his death. Jackie is still trying to cope with the death of his girlfriend Jenny and trying to deal with the Darkness wanting to be released. He is attacked at a restaurant by a group known as the Brotherhood, a group after the Darkness. They get pushed back and Jackie wants answers. His quest for answers takes him to neat places and brings him into contact with interesting characters. It's a better story than the original's and it brings more elements from the comic into it.

The gameplay is where the most changes are. Gameplay in the original was a little off, the same can't be said here. Jackie can still dual-wield, like in the original, except this time he can quad-wield. Jackie can dual-wield while his Darkness arms slaughter his enemies. It works really well, the 1 buttons control Jackie's guns while the 2 buttons control the Darkness. One arm grabs your enemies and the other slashes them. All the weapons feel powerful and you really feel powerful thanks to the influence of the Darkness. Jackie also has a skill tree that allows him to improve his abilities with essence that is earned by killing enemies in different ways. The game is a lot more linear this time around and it's pretty short, but that won't stop you from having a fun ride.

Vendettas mode is a 4-player co-op that can be played online or alone and adds to the story. It plays a lot like the story except each of the four characters have a unique Darkness weapon as well as a unique skill tree. This also adds to the story, seeing as it happens during the main narrative. It's a fun ride as well and worth playing out once at least, though you probably wouldn't feel too compelled to max all the character's skill trees out.

Playing The Darkness II is pleasing on the ears. The gunfire sounds incredible and powerful, the gruesome slashing sounds from the Darkness' multiple executions is disgusting and the music is pretty damn good. Voice acting is what really sticks out. The voice work is fantastic, all the voices fit and are expertly acted. Jackie and The Darkness stand out among the rest, however, with Jackie's new voice actor doing an even better job than the last and Mike Patton doing a superb job as The Darkness.

The visuals are more like a comic book here. While the original was dark and gritty, the sequel is dark and colorful. It's absolutely strange with all the gruesome violence, which looks sickeningly great by the way, but it works so well. The environments have great detail as do the animations and the character models. I, personally, can't wait to see how a sequel would improve on the already brilliant visual style.


- fantastic story that hits some pretty high notes on the awesome meter

- Vendettas mode is a fun addition that adds to the overall narrative

- fun gameplay that offers plenty of ways to be a beast

- the skill tree and essence adds some incentive to play a little more creatively than most first-person shooters

- great voice work and sound design

- an impressive visual style


- gameplay can get a little repetitive

- not many enemy types and variety among their appearance

- too short, both in single-player and Vendettas

The Darkness II definitely lives up to the original's reputation and surpasses it with flying colors. Gameplay has been improved, story has been intensified and the visuals are nice and detailed. Some things are lost, however, such as the interactivity with the environment and the open-ended world. These things will be missed but The Darkness II shouldn't be.

Story: 9.5/10

Gameplay: 9.5/10

Audio: 9.5/10

Presentation: 9.0/10

TOTAL: 9.5/10