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Xbox 360
2K Games
Starbreeze Studios
GENRE: Action
June 25, 2007

The Darkness II

The Darkness II

The Darkness II

The Darkness II

The Darkness

 Written by Joe Comunale  on October 23, 2006

First Impressions: Who needs light switches when you can just shoot them out?

Developed by Starbreeze, The Darkness is a demonic first-person shooter based on the comic book series and forthcoming movie. Starbreeze used E3 as an outlet to stir up some interest, but the title has taken numerous strides since then.

Based around the slums of New York City, The Darkness lets players assume the role of a mob hitman named Jackie Estacado. Cop trouble and family feuds fuse to create some problems for the mobster, suffice it to say the streets of New York is already a rough place. Sometimes one gun isn't enough. Thankfully Jackie can dual wield guns, which can be fired with the left and right triggers. There won't be any melee attacks in the game, but players will be able to use different guns to perform stylish, close-up moves called ?gun katas.? If that isn't enough offense, Jackie can always unleash some of his newly acquired paranormal abilities. After all, he is possessed by a force known as the darkness, so having demonic abilities is only natural... or should we say unnatural.

All jokes aside, dealing with the mob can be a sticky situation, as enemies come in many forms, from New York's finest to mobsters just like yourself (without the demonic abilities, of course). You will continually roam the dark alleys and backstreets of some of New York's least comforting places. While the game isn't completely open-ended, it'll still give players some leeway in regard to progression.

Believe it or not, Jackie can utilize darkness to his advantage?hence the game's title. Once immersed in a dark area, Jackie is able to evoke his supernatural powers, which range from spawning elongated tentacles from your body to generating vacuum-like black holes. There will also be devilish little creatures you can call upon to help you in specific ways. Throughout the story, light will be your biggest complication, since well-lit areas won't allow you to tap into your full demonic potential. Of course, you can always shoot out any pesky street lights. Jack is a good multitasker too, so using his whip-like tentacle and firing his guns in conjunction is a walk in the park. His dexterity should provide for an interestingly dark experience.

The aforementioned little creatures are known as darklings, and you can summon them to back you up. The game will feature 10 distinct darklings, each one being of assistance to you in a unique respect. One darkling, for example, will roam around and destroy any lights. Another darkling is a self-sacrificial battler that will surrender its own wellbeing to help you. It doesn't stop there, as Jackie is replete with stylish abilities. In addition to the aforementioned darklings, he can also create a force of darkness that will shield him of oncoming fire, as well as other, currently undisclosed abilities.

The significance of the darklings goes beyond the single-player aspect. Rather than playing as Jackie in the multi-player mode, players will instead select one of the many darklings to use in combat. The game supports 16 players and will be Xbox Live compatible. Although it isn't confirmed, we assume that each darkling will have a unique characteristic, following the same path as the single-player mode.

Final Thoughts
The boys at Starbreeze Studios are cooking up an interesting shooter. If the Chronicles of Riddick is any indication, then The Darkness should provide for a tantalizingly grim experience.

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