Digital Extremes and 2K Games set up one of the more interesting booths at this year’s Comic Con. The outside of the Darkness 2 demo area was surrounded by a tall, metal, spike-tipped fence. The only way to get into the demo was through a full-height, iron maiden turnstile. I think they were going for a “cozy” feel.
We talked for a few minutes with a member of the development team about the game which follows the main character from the first Darkness title. In our 20 minute demo, Jackie wakes up to a man nailing his hands up with railroad spikes. A deformed older man is setting up a device with four chambers which is helping him to extract and capture the darkness from you.
As you find out more about your kidnapper’s intentions for you and your dark power, you begin having flashbacks of the events leading up to your capture. It’s been a few years since you rose to power in the first game. Now you’ve successfully subdued the darkness inside and are leading the life of a powerful mob boss.
Gameplay starts in a restaurant where you are lead to a table with two beautiful women waiting to have dinner with you. A gunshot fires through the window followed shortly by a van crashing through the wall beginning an all out assault on the restaurant. You’ve been injured in the crash and are being dragged away from the battle by a fellow mob member. As he pulls you through the building, your task is to gun down anyone trying to follow you.
Eventually, you are trapped in the restaurant’s kitchen. An exposed gas line fills the room before a Molotov cocktail is tossed through the service window. Your only hope for surviving the explosion is to release the darkness you worked so hard to keep at bay.
These flashbacks work as the tutorial. Once you’ve finally given in to the darkness, you make your way out of the building and down to the subway to escape.
Your left demon arm allows you to pick up objects and hurl them at enemies or use objects as shields. You can also grab onto an enemy for a quick execution or to eat his heart to regain health and fuel your dark powers. Your right demon arm acts as a weapon, giving you control over the direction you slash at opponents and objects.
Unlike the previous game, these dark powers can be used in conjunction with whatever weapons you’re carrying.
As you move along, you are re-introduced to your darkling, a companion who assists you in reaching your objectives as well as adding to the game's overall sickness. This little demon wears a dead cat on his head and urinates acid on corpses.
The developers shy away from nothing with The Darkness 2. The cell-shaded art style, gory animations from ripping enemies in half and haunting visions of your deceased girlfriend constantly enforce the eerie, twisted world that Digital Extremes has created.
The action moves quickly. There is a lot of incoming damage from gunfire but the game offers up plenty of bodies to keep you regenerating health. Light is your only deterrent, which simply means shooting out the fixtures or slashing at them with your demon arms.
The Gothic style, horror-thriller story and unique fighting mechanics make this first-person shooter stand out from the crowd. I’m looking forward to keeping up with this game as it works towards release in February of 2012.