It’s been a couple of years but Jackie Estacado is back after losing his beloved Jenny in The Darkness 2. He’s learned to supress the voices that crave evil and live a normal life of a mobster boss but it’s not long before the familiar dark tentacles appear either side of the screen to help dismember anyone getting in Jackie’s way.

The first thing we noticed about The Darkness 2 was the new cell-shaded graphics which is subtle thanks to the gloomy surroundings each of the levels are played through. Rather than stand out in the striking way they do in Borderlands and Prince of Persia, the cell shading helps bring The Darkness 2 to life in a more cult comic-book feel – something The Darkness seems at home with.

Moving away from the visuals, the gameplay has the same full-on action as its predecessor while keeping the intrigue of the storyline which will appeal to followers of the original Darkness game. Jackie has the usual selection of pistols, machine guns and shotguns at his disposal, able to pick up and swap from fallen enemies but also has the all-important power of the twin tentacles that come with The Darkness which is where the fun factor comes in to play.
Darkness 2 gameplay
Rather than blast your way through the various levels, The Darkness 2 allows you to vary your attacks from gun fire and entices you to use the powers you’ve been given. From grabbing all sorts of inanimate objects and hurtling them towards the enemy to swiping, slicing and dicing anyone who gets in your path safe in the knowledge that in later levels you can use your new found powers to improve gunfire or strength of The Darkness tentacles.

That brings us neatly onto the power-up tree where you can spend your collected Darkness points from the fallen enemies or chaos you have caused throughout your journey. Each section of the power-up tree represents a section of Jackie’s talents – whether you chose to improve his weapon proficiency, overall health and strength or unlock more destructive talents of The Darkness including the awesome Black Hole power which scoops up nearby enemies into nothingness.

But it’s not all straightforward out and out shooting and killing for Jackie – as well as trying to keep the mysterious Brotherhood from sucking The Darkness from his body, he also has to deal with going mad and the hallucinations that take him into a Mental Asylum where his friends are the orderlies and even Jenny reappears! Rather than slow down the action these scenes play out important parts of the story and allow you to catch your breath between frantic battles and onslaughts all the while staying interactive and providing the same unique humour that is fitting with the series.Darkness 2 mental asylum

The mulitplayer modes are on the poor side – it’s a good effort to bring another level to The Darkness 2 but we were left feeling like if that bit of effort which went into the Multiplayer modes was put in to a another single player level or two then nobody would have minded. It’s a shame as the introduction of new characters and the plethora of kill styles available is decent but misses having a spark that wants you to come back for more.

Overall we looked forward to getting another chance at playing Jackie Estacado and wielding dual pistols while grabbing unsuspecting henchmen and ripping them into pieces with the power of The Darkness and this sequel didn’t disappoint. Except for the multiplayer.

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