Developer: Starbreeze Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Version Played)
Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: 1 – 8
Release Date: 29th June 2007 (EU) – X360
20th July 2007 (EU) – PS3
If you haven’t played The Darkness then you may think that it is just another First Person Shooter but I assure you that you are wrong. In every aspect The Darkness is more than a typical FPS. The gameplay, story, music, character, narrative and world are all better than what you will normally see in FPS’s. Right from the start I knew it was going to be something special and I was right. I better point out that the story is a key focus in The Darkness and I assure you that there are no spoilers in this review.
The introduction to the game is excellent. When it starts Jackie Estacado (Your character) is in the back of the car with two other mobsters. You’re on your way to collect some money but things don’t work out all too well and on the way they the cops start chasing you. The other two mobsters are getting worked up by this while Jackie stays cool and calm while reloading a shotgun very slowly. When it’s finally loaded you start shooting cops from the car which really gives a good feel for the game and is a good way to open it. After a while though, the car crashes and you are left by yourself to get the money. The first thing I noticed about the movement was that it felt like it had weight to it, it feels like you are actually moving and not just a floating pair of arms (This is helped by being able to see your body when you look down. The game is really immersive and it feels like you are a person. It manages to be very cinematic as well which is quite a feat since most games are just cinematic or immersive, not both. Anyway, when you’re just about to get the money you are instead given an unpredictable 21st Birthday present from your Uncle Paulie. Shortly after this you receive your Darkness power.
The combat is a mixture between using the Darkness and guns. Both work really well but the Darkness doesn’t really come in handy until you get the later powers. You start off with only being able to use one demon arm which you can control and move. This allows you to stay hidden while using the arm to take out enemies which is very handy but it doesn’t work well in the midst of combat. The later powers, all work well (Though I never used the third one very much). The other demon arm is very useful for killing enemies as you can just stab them with it and then throw them away. You can also pick up cars! You are also able to summon Darklings which are basically your minions and throughout the game you unlock different kinds of them. Even though the Darklings can be useful you can’t really rely on them to do much. Don’t think that you can just stick to only using the Darkness powers; you need to have enough Darkness energy to use the powers which you obtain from staying in the darkness. If you have you arms revealed in the light the power will drain. There is no metre to tell you your energy, or health, level which again adds to the immersion. Now onto the guns which are very solid and stylish. It feels like you are holding a gun, it’s something to do with how Jackie holds them in the game and how they feel when you shoot them. The aiming is generally just auto aim and it is fairly easy to lock and to enemies heads and blast them but it still feels solid. It still manages to be challenging too though and there were a few bits that can be really difficult, especially if you don’t make use of both the Darkness and your guns.
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