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- The Darkness II
Who has demonic tentacles and loves to disembowel cultist zealots? This girl!
Perhaps it's my love of The Crow that makes me partial to stories about vengeful undead brooding men in trench coats, but The Darkness II is the shooter I am looking forward to the most this year.
2K Games has taken The Darkness out of the bargain bin and made it into the game it should have been in 2007. Although the innovative storytelling and unique combat system made the first game different than any other in its genre, there were still elements that fell flat. The switch from the Starbreeze game development team to Digital Extremes might be the reason there's a more successful product this time around.
The demo shown at E3 showcased the new quad-wielding combat that provides you with a second set of demon tentacles to accompany your demon arms, which increases the combination of attacks you can execute when using Darkness powers. You're also able to use your powers to interact with the environment by ripping doors off cars and shielding yourself during a gun battle or, if that gets boring, you can just hurl metal poles and impale people against walls. To each his own form of demented henchmen mangling...
The sequel takes place two years after the first game. Jackie Estecado has risen to the highest ranks of the Franchetti crime family only to be forced to embrace the Darkness once more after an attempt on his life. He won't just be facing an endless amount of mafiosos, though; he'll also be pit against a new, more skilled foe known as The Brotherhood. They are an Evil underground organization whose sole purpose is to steal the Darkness from whoever wields its power. This new enemy knows Jackie's weaknesses and uses them (as well as guns, of course) against him, making for more interesting combat this time around. Instead of just having to shoot out street lights, lamps, and spotlights, you'll have to deal with enemies running at you with light cannons.
Another improvement to the combat is the leveling system. Instead of a boring linear leveling system, you are able to go deeper into amping up your Darkness powers by being able to collect XP and choose what talents to improve. One such upgrade allows you to imbue your guns with Darkness powers for a small period of time. It's called Gun Channeling and while it's active you are able to let loose an infinite bullet barrage when overrun by enemies.
Aside from combat improvements, The Darkness II embraces a graphic noir style that makes you feel like you're walking through the pages of a graphic novel. The way the colors ripple and pop is enough to send any Joss Whedon-Fearing Comic Nerd into a Top Cow coma. It's one of the most amazing revamps I've seen in a while and definitely worth picking up when it comes out later this year.