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The Darkness II review



Our Score



  • Fast-paced action never lets up
  • Darkness powers create rich opportunities for mayhem
  • Engaging story and brilliant comic-book style


  • Relatively short-lived

Review Price £39.99

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360 and PS3

The Darkness II is no masterpiece, but it might just turn out to be the year’s best chunk of FPS pulp fiction. It’s bold, lurid, gratuitously violent, incredibly sweary and about as subtle as a baseball bat to the head, but it’s also furiously paced, tightly wound and extremely compelling. It’s not a very long game or even very innovative, but there’s hardly an ounce of fat on it. The Darkness II is all killer, no filler, for its whole duration.

Following directly on from the 2007 original, it’s the tale of Jackie Estacado, once a mob hitman and now head of the family. Years after the events of The Darkness, he has subdued the titular entity – a demonic force that inhabits Jackie and lends him supernatural powers – but still tends the memory of his murdered girlfriend, Jenny, who he was powerless to save in the first game. Needless to say, this fragile peace lasts about two minutes in the follow-up, which soon descends into a violent struggle between Jackie and his family and a mysterious sect dedicated to capturing The Darkness for its own cruel ends. With the odd quiet lull to give you and the game’s strong characters room to breathe, The Darkness II is pretty much a killing spree from start to end.

But what a killing spree. Like last year’s under-appreciated Bulletstorm, The Darkness II is obsessed with providing new and interesting ways to send your enemies to their doom. You see, the reawakened powers of The Darkness give Jackie two demonic tentacles to wield. The one on the left can pick up objects, use them to shield Jackie or fling them at your foes. Alternatively, it can pick up stunned enemies and enable their obliteration in a number of spectacularly gruesome ways, or snatch out their hearts for a handy health fix.

Meanwhile, the one on the right can be used for slicing and dicing, with horizontal and vertical slashes you can tune using the right analogue stick. On top of this, Jackie still has two regular human hands to wield weapons, giving you freedom to dual-wield pistols or pack an assault rifle while your tentacles are free to do their work.

Two other factors make this even more exciting. Firstly, The Darkness II has some light RPG elements. Downed foes make dark essence, and dark essence can be spent on upgrades, allowing Jackie to recharge health or ammo as he eviscerates, or opening up damage boosts, secondary attacks and special moves. Secondly, The Darkness gives birth to a creepy brit-accented goblin called a Darkling, who will cheerfully assault (and subsequently foul the corpses of your enemies). In a couple of areas you can even directly control the Darkling, while a handy upgrade enables you to pick him up and toss him into battle.

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February 10, 2012, 12:39 am

And, erm, which platform(s) is it available on and which was it reviewed on?

I only skimmed it, because there's no point me reading the review if it's only available on a platform I don't have, but I couldn't see any mention.

SHould be right at the top so that readers know whether to bother.


February 10, 2012, 1:20 pm

We normally do mention it. For some reason it got missed on this one. Will add it now.

There's no real need for quite such indignation though - you could just Google it.


February 10, 2012, 1:52 pm

Indignation? You must have read it different than I wrote it. It was just a quick comment so it probably seems quite abrupt.

However it's a common issue that I have to read through quite a chunk of the article before I find out what platform(s) the game's for, and frequently there's no mention of which version was reviewed. Would be best put in the feature table you tend to have at the top of most reviews.


February 10, 2012, 6:39 pm

Fair enough. The changes have been made but it takes an age for them to appear as we wait for our caching system to update.


February 10, 2012, 9:16 pm

@Bugblatter - I agree. Also, it's still often the case that games can handle and look somewhat different on each platform - so knowing which system a game was reviewed on, adds some useful context for the reader.


February 12, 2012, 1:17 am

True, if you look at the reviews for Skyrim on the PC it's been panned, particularly for the terrible control system.

The Amazon customer reviews paint a similar story of a very lazy console port.

Luckily I did a little research before buying it and decided not to bother.

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