Be still, my beating heart! Lucky ol’ me got to latch onto the show-floor demo of Darkess II at comic-con. Unfortunately for you, no images/video could be taken outside of this here booth-shot. So, without further ado, let’s get right to the blood-and-guts of the game, shall we?
The story starts off with the original games protagonist Jackie being crucified in a dark dingy area by a butcher and his friend who we can only assume is a rotting corpse as they try to remove the Darkness from him via some sort of artifact. Suddenly we’re taken back to a quiet restaurant in a flashback, Jackie walks over to a table and sits down with two beautiful women but he is rudely interrupted by a bullet that pierces the eye of one of the women at the table after a loud entrance through the window of the restaurant. Suddenly the owner of the bullet becomes apparent as a van enters through the same window with debris flying everywhere and customers running in panic. Jackie slowly gathers himself to realize he was knocked out by the crash which ruins his leg, and is being dragged by his friend away from the flames and gunmen.
Hoisted behind the bar, Jackie is given a pistol and now we’re able to take control, aiming sideways took some getting used to though. Eventually we’re dragged into the kitchen area, the smell of gas filling the room only makes matters worse as an enemy of the game can be seen in the distance throwing a flame Molotov in our direction.
The scene cuts back to the dingy room, the butcher and corpse are thinking of ways to try and relinquish the darkness, one of the suggestions is to remind Jackie of his dead girlfriend. They go with this idea along with throwing a few punches to the face for good measure.
We’re back in the kitchen, post-explosion. Jackie crawls towards a hole in the wall which wasn’t there 20 seconds ago; this new exit is guarded by an enemy who is taunting the wounded Jackie. An indicator tells us to press the X button, not ones to ignore good advice, we press the button and two of our old demonic serpent/tentacle friends appear. The Darkness is back with some improved functions such as grabbing objects like planks of wood to be used as makeshift projectile, giving us the Impalement achievement and 20g as we launched the plank at an enemy. We come across a fence which could only be destroyed with a vertical slice, by moving the right analogue stick in a vertical direction; the tentacle obeyed our command and destroyed the fence.
The demo concludes in the subway, Jackie is pinned down by enemy gunfire and so we’re given a helping hand, the little gremlin companions from the previous game are back, this time they’re wearing the torn threads of a Union Flag tee-shirt…curious. The Darkling leaks onto enemies mauling at their face, if that wasn’t gruesome enough, he then proceeds to whip out his own little tentacle and proceeds to urinate on the dead corpse. It was here that we were presented with the most rewarding finishing kill: Wishbone*. Imagine a turkey wishbone, but replace the bone with an enemy dangling by one leg screaming and begging for his life.
The Darkness II seems to allow for more creative killstyles and more varied gameplay. The graphics engine seems to be improved but aside from the new cell shading, the art direction seems to have stayed the same. We’re curiously optimistic about this one.