We got a chance to preview The Darkness II from 2K Games at E3 and it’s full of gory goodness. If you remember from the first chapter, you play as Jackie Estacado, a Mafia hit man with the powers of Darkness. When the lights are down, he’s a powerhouse with tentacled arms with mouths on the end that destroy enemies and eat hearts. He can even summon little sarcastic imps called Darklings to help him out. It also caused the death of Jackie’s girlfriend. He’s been suppressing the power for two years, but it’s back with a vengeance. It’s also not very happy with Jackie, who has now become the Don of the Franchetti crime family.
Your enemy in this game is a group called The Brotherhood, a group originally founded by a monk who wanted to fight the Darkness. But the Darkness corrupts, and this isn’t exactly a peaceful group. They’ve got whips, light cannons that render your powers useless and supernatural powers of their own. The stage we saw was a suitably creepy abandoned carnival. To fight back, you’ve got guns and those tentacles which performed grabbing, slicing, gutting and other wild executions. (We watched one guy ripped in half and another impaled.) The new quad-wielding mechanic allows you to use both tentacles and two guns at the same time. Once the Darkness has eaten their hearts, you gain Essence, which you can use to purchase abilities like Heart of Darkness, which appeared on the Gun Channeling talent tree. Gun Channeling lets you channel the Darkness through your weapon for a period of time. In action, Heart of Darkness allows you to see through walls and shoot through them, destroying your enemies and turning them into bloody splotches on the floor. There is also something called a black heart that you can throw at your enemies that works like a bloody grenade.
All the scenery was hand painted to give the feel of the Top Cow graphic novels, and it really comes across. It’s a far brighter game then one would expect with fantastic contrast levels. We did only get to see one level, but it was gloriously violent and had an intriguing ending. Jackie wakes up in a mental institution with his own graffiti on the walls. A doctor says, You’ve had another episode…
The Darkness II is looking at an October 2011 launch and will be released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.