E3 2011: The Darkness II Eyes-On Preview

By Lauren Alessandra on June 13, 2011, 2:07PM EDT

It's been nearly 4 years since the release of the first Darkness game and after receiving very positive reviews, it was only a matter of time until someone would attempt to create a sequel. Digital Extremes, known for the recent BioShock 2, decided be the studio to take a stab at the Darkness franchise with The Darkness II, though they weren't initially greeted with open arms. Now at E3 2011, fans got a first look at the gameplay for the Darkness sequel and it really doesn't seem like they had anything to worry about.

The Darkness II takes place nearly 2 years after the first game and will again follow Jackie Estacado, wielder of the Darkness. After murdering Paulie in the first game, Jackie has now become a Don for the Franchetti crime family, but he is still haunted by the thoughts of his dead girlfriend Jenny. After an assassination attempt on Jackie's life, a mob war begins and Jackie's Darkness is reawakened. It is now Jackie's mission to solve the mysteries over his attack and also the Darkness' motivations.

There is a new character introduced to the franchise known simply as the Crippled Man. He is the head of a group named "The Brotherhood" who are determined to destroy the Darkness. It is his group that attacks Jackie throughout the game. However, the Crippled Man has become so corrupted by the Darkness while trying to destroy it that he now wishes to have the power for himself.

Since its premiere in 2007, The Darkness has been praised for its unique storyline, but also its brutal gameplay. Digital Extremes appear to have taken the extreme violence up a notch adding plenty of goodies for fans to eat up. First, you will have a permanent darkling companion running around. He's mean, small, ugly, and if you would like, he'll urinate acid on your enemies. This darkling will also hold a greater importance throughout the game.

Unlike the previous game, the Darkness tentacles have specialized roles; one can grab enemies while the other performs melee attacks. They will also be able to perform finishing moves on enemies like ripping them in two or throwing them into other enemies. You'll even be able to use the Darkness' power and your firearms at the same time through "quad wielding". So while picking up and eating an enemy with the darkness, you'll still be able to shoot other enemies in the face. Players will have more control over the environment items as well. You will be able to bash people with parking meters, but if the enemy starts coming at you, you're more than welcome to rip a door off the nearest car and use it as a shield.

However, with that being said, light will also play a more crutial part in the gameplay. It has the power to blur your eyesight and take away your powers making it harder to fight against enemies especially if they throw flash bombs at you. In any case, there will be tons more blood in this one, so no worries there. Along with that, there will be an upgrade tree system where you will be able to spend your 'Essence Points', unlock, and upgrade your powers in four categories; demonic, gun channeling, mystic, and weapons. These unlockables could be unlimited clip sizes for a bit or the ability to see (and shoot) enemies through walls.

As with the first game, the Darkness II will be a very 'dark' title. Unlike the first game, however, the art direction chosen is similar to it's comic origins. Each texture has been handpainted creating a "graphic novel noir" style.

Though many things have changed about the game, the Darkness II demo seems to have eased fans about their beloved franchise. The art style seems to fit it nicely and the gameplay makeover appears to expand the players' experience from the first game.

There's not too long to wait either, as it's planned for release on October 4 on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. Perhaps this game will open doors to the franchise.

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