Product Type: Take 2 Xbox 360 games
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Let me have your soul Jackie!
The Darkness (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Kezz360
The Darkness (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Excellent idea, great story, unique features.
Disadvantages: Online play is terrible. Overall it's abit short.
My boyfriend managed to get hold of this game and spent afew evenings playing it. I have always enjoyed playing games and I enjoy watching them too. I decided that if i wasn't going to play this game, I would watch my boyfriend play it to start with.
Some of you will have heard of Starbreeze Studios when they bought you games such as Outforce, Enclave, KOTT and Chronicles of Riddick, which by the way is still known for it's excellent graphics and gameplay from the original Xbox.
WHAT IS THE DARKNESS ABOUT?
The Darkness is based on a series of comic books by Top Cow Productions. It is about about a Mafia Hitman, Jackie Estacado, who not long after the start of the game, has the incredible ability to become half man half creature in the darkness.
The story behind this game is that Jackie is an orphan who, when he was younger, was taken under the wing of his Uncle Paulie. Now, Uncle Paulie is the leader of the Franchetti family mob. They are a powerful family in New York and will ruthlessly kill anybody who does them wrong. Jackie gets sucked into all of this at a young age and becomes one of Paulies hitmen.
Jackie ends up in hot water on his 21st birthday when he is on a job with 2 members of the Franchetti mob. The job has gone wrong, which involved some kind of money-collection, and you're being chased by two crooked cops. When the car crashes, you end up on foot and this is where it all begins.
Uncle Paulie finds out about the job going wrong and suspects that Jackie that has been involved in it going wrong and immediately assumes he has turned his back on him and rejects him, placing a target on him. Jackie soon realises that Paulie has put out a target on his head for suspecting him of foul play and so it's up to Jackie to try and stop Uncle Paulie from making his money and being so powerful and ruthless.
Paulie sends out his thugs to take care of Jackie throughout the game, and as if that wasn't enough, the thugs also target Jackies girlfriend Jenny.
However, Uncle Paulie is not as powerful as Jackie, especially when Jackie receives his 'Dark Power's'.
SO WHAT IS THE DARKNESS?
The Darkness is a creature-like being that 'possesses' Jackie with extremely good powers that are used in the dark. With one press of the Left Bumper on your Xbox360 controller, you will unleash The Darkness.
On your screen you will have two, what look like deadly, scary eels with razor sharp teeth, one to your left and one to your right. On paper, this would seem like a stupid idea having two eel like things hovering on the left and right side of your screen, but in reality, it's very clever and they don't get in your way much.
These eels are your pets in a way. You decide what they do and whose hearts you want them to devour! Devour somebodys heart I hear you cry?! Yep, thats right, once you've killed a person, if you walk over their body, you have the option of devouring their heart with the press of the 'A' button. Your creature (usually the one on the right of the screen) will extend it's neck and body and reach out to the dead person on the floor and rip it's heart out of it's chest and swallow it whole infront of you!
Throught the game you will have several hearts to devour and once you reach certain amount, you will receive an achievement and increase your Gamerscore.
Another great feature to this game is that as you progress through the game, your 'Darkness' will get stronger and you will have more options to use for your monsters at the side of the screen. They will become stronger and will possess more power and give you more power too. To switch betweens these new powers, simply use the 'Up' and 'Down' buttons on your D'Pad. Eventually, you will end up with a power called 'Black Hole', which is activated with the Right Bumper when you have selected it using the d'pad. This enables you to create a black hole which will suck anything into it that is within afew feet, including enemies...an excellent tool when you're abit over-whemled with enemies. You will receive an achievement if you kill 5 enemies using the black hole.
Other powers are 2 special guns that you will pick up when you progress further, and you will also gain a tentacle arm, which is selected with the d'pad and works like a whip. With the press of Right Bumper, your tentacle arm has the power to smash out lights when aimed at the bulb, and of course you can kill enemies with this arm when you aim for them. Your tentacle arm will stab the enemy through the body and you can then swing them around the throw them! Pretty gory!
I suppose the best feature to kill enemies, other than using guns, are your Darklings. When in the dark, you will see many holes on the floor with what look like really thick spiders legs surrounding the hole. When you walk up to the hole, you have the option of summoning a Darkling. What is a Darkling? Well, a darkling is little creature that will do what you ask it to do. You will regularly hear it calling you Master and Sir. You have 4 Darklings to choose from, but to start with, you will only have one to choose, but with more game progression, you will eventually be able to select whichever you want, including:
Berserker - This guy will just go haywire and attack your enemy. Throughout the game, you will find outfits hidden away for your Darklings, and depending on the mood of the Berserker, will depend on which outfit it wishes to wear. For example, if you find a Hi-Vis Vest (a construction workers vest), the darkling will have a drill on it's back used on construction sites. When he is going for the kill, he will use this drill to destroy the enemy by violently drilling it into their skull...obviously, you can expect screams and blood!
Kamikaze - This guy is just out to commit to suicide. Send him into a group of enemies and if he doesn't set himself off, you can shoot this little creature and he will explode, destroying any enemies near-by.
Gunner - This guy is just a crazed gunner with a huge machine gun on his back. Instruct him on where he should shoot, and he'll whip out his gun and go crazy!
Light Killer - This guy is the exception to the rule. You must be aware that these Darklings, apart from the light killer, are allergic to the light. If they spend too much time in the light, they will smoke, scream and eventually turn into dust, so make sure you use either the tentacle arm, your guns, or this little dude to destory the lights around you. Light Killer will also electricute enemies.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IN THE GAME?
You are basically trying to avoid being killed by your Uncle Paulies hitmen, but trying to destroy Paulies business at the same time. Admittedly, you are not completely followed or attacked by these hitmen alot of the time, especially if you're not doing the main mission.
In the main mission, you will be set several tasks where you will gradually destroy everything Paulie has built up and worked for. At one point in the game, you will sadly lose your girlfriend Jenny, which makes you more and more angry and more and more determined to destroy Paulie and his men. Because of the death of your girlfriend, you end up shooting yourself, making The Darkness very angry. You are then sent to hell where there is a never-ending war going on. This place is pretty strange and the men you have to kill will come back to life within afew seconds if you don't devour their heart. You spend only a short amount of time in hell while The Darkness works on bringing you back to life in the normal world.
SIDE MISSIONS AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS
If you feel that you don't want to complete the game so quickly, there are many side missions for you to complete. They aren't that long, but they are quite fun and quite varied too. At the end of each side mission you will be given a reward. The rewards in this game are, believe it or not, a piece of a paper with a telephone number on it. Yes, that sounds very dissapointing, but you also pick up a number of these throughout the game, even in places that would be classed as being hidden away.
If you find a phone box (which aren't too hard to find, there about 4 in the train stations), you can dial these numbers and you will receive answering machine messages from a huge amount of people. This is something that is very different and quite quirky and unique. Each answering machine message is just a couple of seconds, maximum about 20 seconds, and after listening to each phone number, you will unlock some extra content.
Extra content can be unlocked throughout the game by dialing telephone numbers found on pieces of paper throughout New York and by completely side missions.
The extra content is just basically some art work and videos of how the game was made etc etc. Basically, all of the stuff you would expect to find on an Extra Content DVD.
Yes, this game uses Motion Capture for it's characters. When you see Jackie doing hand movements, it's because they have been motion captured when the voice overs were done. This is an excellent idea and brings abit of realism to the game.
In one of the train stations, you will find a group of 3 people break dancing in the corner to some music. These 3 people were motion captured, so the break dancing is not just generated on the computer...it was actually done.
I like the way these voices have been done. We have Kirk Acevedo (Band of Brothers, Oz) as Jackie Estacado, Mike Patton (Lead Singer of Faith No More) as The Darkness, and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) as Jenny.
Yes, this deserves it's on sections. Now, I bet you're all probably board of sitting on a still loading screen, watching that bar move from one end of your screen to the other, while you just stare at a still picture. Well, be bored no more with these loading screens in this game! Each loading screen shows Jackie talking to either himself, or somebody else, in a dark room, under a spot light. He talks about the missions you are on, his past and how much he's going to love getting his revenge on Paulie.
This is a great idea, as you forget that you're actually waiting for the next section of the game to load. A very good idea.
The online play is nothing special. It's just basic first person shooter, with your typical modes such as death match and capture the flag. You have the option of morphing into a little Darkling, but you can't summon your Darkness to help you.
The lag online is terrible, all it takes is for one person to be having afew connection problems, and everybody else suffers badly. It's very clear to see that the developers haven't spent that much time putting the online play together, the single player definately out-shines the online mode.
SO DOES THIS IDEA WORK?
I would say so yes. It's very different to anything else I have played in a long time. It's such a unique game and like I said at the very beginning, I thought this game was going to be silly, far fetched and over the top, but I was very impressed with graphics, gameplay and story.
I especially like the voice-overs. My favourite voice-over being the voice of The Darkness. This can sometimes be abit freaky, as when you least expect it, The Darkness will talk to you, and he sounds so evil and scary! He will say demonic things such as "I want your soul!" or "Kill them, kill them all!" and he'll shout at you if you're doing something wrong.
The graphics are pretty good in this game, especially the effects when you're ripping somebodys heart out...blood splashes everywhere.
The surrounding environments are also very detailed, everything looks really rough and has that sort of 'back-street' appeal to it, with alot of graffiti and ripped posters on the walls.
The train stations are pretty detailed...they just look mucky, and are crawling with tramps and homeless people. There is litter everywhere and the floor is filthy and it is definately a place you would not like to be in the real world, light or dark!
The gameplay is brilliant. Easy to control and simple to use and direct. I would say the movement and handling is about the same as The Chronicles of Riddick, which is good news for those of you that loved that game.
The only thing I will say that is quite hard to control is the Crawling Dark. This is one of your special powers, to activate crawling dark, you select it with the d-pad and then press right bumper to use it, you will then direct one of your snake-like monsters across the ground or up the walls to go and attack an enemy for you. This can be quite difficult to control as you can crawl up the walls and ceilings, which makes it difficult to navigate where you are.
This game has it's fair share of achievements, and you'll probably receive about 500(ish) gamer points for completing the single player, including collecting the darkling outfits, killing a certain amount of people, devouring a certain amount of hearts etc etc.
You will receive a couple of hundred points online too, again for the obvious, like killing a certain amount of people in a certain type of online mode.
As a girl, sometimes you are criticised for playing computer games. Some people have said that I only do it to get attention from the guys who play it, others say that it's great that a female is doing something that is mostly associated with a man.
I've been playing computer since I was at playschool and I still continue to play them, going into my early twenties!
I thought this game would be for the lads...a pointless gore fest with stupid creatures that you can control. But I will admit that I was very wrong, there is a really good story behind this game and you'll feel great at the end when you finally accomplish your goal.
I enjoy gory games, and if you do too, then you should give this game a try. You will become one with Jackie Estacado and feel it is your mission, as well as his, to destroy Uncle Paulies reputation, business and life. Okay, so it's not completely gory like Condemned or Dead Rising, but it certainly has it's fair share of 'eugh' or 'ewwww' moments.
I can see myself playing this game again to try and collect more telephone numbers, kill more enemies, and defeat the game in Hard mode!
This game won't really take you that long to complete, especially if you avoid doing any side missions. It could take you just one weekend to finish this game easily, but I like to make my games last and play them for just 1-2 hours a night.
You can buy this game from all leading Game retailers or supermarkets.
Play.com - £39.99
Gameplay.co.uk - £34.99
Amazon.co.uk - £34.98
Summary: Don't judge until you've tried it.