With The Darkness II in the hands of a new developer and with a new art style, we had a lot to note during the E3 2011 presentation. The game takes place two years after the events of the first game, during which Jackie Estacado is now the don of the mob and has been successfully repressing the Darkness for some time. After getting attacked by a hobo, Jackie loses control, and the Darkness comes to the surface once again, and by doing so attracts the attention of an organization called The Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood is an ancient organization founded by a saint and used to be dedicated to finding and eliminating the Darkness. Though they came close to their goal, their leader was corrupted by the Darkness and now simply wants the power for himself. With its current location, the Brotherhood goes after Jackie and tries to take him out of the picture through any means necessary. What this means is that in The Darkness II, there are a lot of mooks to rip apart and gun down, and with the quad wielding system in full effect, their odds aren't exactly stellar.
Unlike the first game, the Darkness tentacles have more specialized roles, with the left tentacle grabbing enemies or items for your use and the right tentacle capable of performing melee attacks to cut apart your enemies. After you grab them, the left tentacle allows you to perform an execution move, which can burst through their back and out their chest Aliens-style to ripping out their skull and spine as a package deal. In addition to grabbing guns on the ground for Jackie's use, it can also grab things like car doors to use as cover or things like rebar or fan blades to impale or dice up enemies, respectively.
As you execute enemies or have your tentacle eat the hearts of the fallen, you gain essence points, and at talent shrines, you can spend them to bolster Jackie's abilities down four trees: Demonic, Gun Channeling, Mystic and Weapons. These allow you to unlock abilities such as channeling the Darkness energy into your firearms to give them unlimited clip sizes and ammo for a short while, or being able to see enemies through walls and shoot them. Such abilities are obviously powerful additions to Jackie's arsenal in addition to the fact that he can hold a weapon in each hand and has two massive tentacles sprouting from his body.
It's important to note that if Jackie is in bright light, his Darkness powers immediately recede, which means that players need to make sure that they aren't standing under a spotlight or in front of a car headlight when facing down a multitude of enemies. In addition, some enemy units have the ability to throw flash bangs against Jackie, and those have the double-whammy of blinding and deafening him as well as removing his powers for a short while. Other enemies from the Brotherhood are even more forward-thinking in their efforts to stop Jackie, including a light cannon that removes your powers for as long as it remains active.
To top it all off, The Darkness II looks absolutely fantastic thanks to the new art direction. Each and every texture in the game has been hand painted, with the end result being visuals that look a lot like they were ripped out of a comic book. With the game letting the visceral and fast-paced action take the forefront and the ability to use two tentacles and a pair of guns at one time, there's a lot of fun to be had in putting The Brotherhood back in its place. Look for more information on the game as it gets closer to its Oct. 4 release date.
Tony "OUberLord" Mitera also contributed to this preview.
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