Product Type: Take 2 Xbox 360 games
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I Believe in a Thing Called Evil
The Darkness (Xbox 360)
Member Name: samueltyler
The Darkness (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Good mechanics, voice acting, fun to play
Disadvantages: No Bioshock, a bit floaty
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Without it there would literally be 10s of historians without a job. By using our influences from the present on the past we can reach conclusions that were never before thought of. However, are these new conclusions actually truths? My modern experiences do not really impact how someone lived in 1939, so why would I want to muddy the waters? Unfortunately, even if you do not realise it everything that you review here on Dooyoo is impacted by hindsight and my review of ‘The Darkness’ is a prime example. I finished the game several weeks ago and have been meaning to write up my opinions having noted it was a 4 out of 5 game. However, since this time I have played and completed the excellent ‘Bioshock’ and hindsight now shows me that ‘The Darkness’ deserves no more than 3 stars – let me explain.
‘The Darkness’ is a typical First Person Shooter (FPS) with some variations. You play as Jackie, a young hoodlum for the Italian Mafia. Early on you are embroiled in a battle with the Don, who is your Uncle. This is not helped that on your 21st birthday you received the family curse – a darkness that infects your soul and tries to take control of you. Initially the game is about standard gunplay as you work through the first level shooting various bad guys. However, you soon receive your ‘gift’ and this adds several new elements to the game.
The creature known as The Darkness takes the form of two black tentacles that grow out of your back. They allow you to use supernatural powers in conjunction with your guns. There is; the creeping darkness – the ability to use a tentacle to sneak up on the enemy, underlings – little goblins you can spawn, and a tentacle that can throw objects around. The ability to do more than just shoot is what makes this game better than a generic FPS. The Darkness powers are fun to use and are actually useful throughout.
However, throughout the game the controls are a little twitchy and they do not have the meaty feel that you think they should. It was also a little slow as large parts of the game have you walking from one area to another with no map and no baddies to kill. Originally I really rated the gameplay, but comparing it to ‘Bioshock’ it feels amateurish and rushed. The abilities you gain in this game are nowhere near as good as in ‘Bioshock’. (3 out of 5)
One of the unique selling points that ‘The Darkness’ sold itself on was that it was a FPS with a strong story at its heart, and this is true to an extent. Any sort of story in a FPS is a good thing as the genre is renowned for its puddle like depth. 2K have successfully achieved a good story that introduces several characters that you come to care about. Jackie himself is portrayed excellently as a troubled anti-hero. The relationship between him and his girlfriend is really well developed and adds great impact later in the game. The fact that large parts of the game have a slower pace is down to the depth of the story. As you walk around the city you will meet friends and family who are all given a developed storyline. In terms of characterisation ‘The Darkness’ is great.
The central story thread does not quite come out as strongly as it loses its way pretty quickly. Jackie realises that to remove the curse he is under he must die and fight the demon in the world of death. This takes the form of a WW1 trench conflict. Jumping from the present to WW1 proves pretty jarring and the storyline begins to unravel as the gamer does not know what’s quite going on. Once again to compare it to ‘Bioshock’ is unfair as that has a storyline that will make your jaw drop. ‘The Darkness’ is probably the 2nd best storylined FPS on the 360 so far. (4 out of 5)
There is no way around saying that this is a short game. I had it completed in about 10 hours and it did not feel much longer. 2K have tried to extend the life of the game by inserting some side missions that see you helping people e.g. find something, or beat up a gang. There is an achievement for succeeding in all of these as well as phone numbers you can collect. These phone numbers are also found hidden in the levels and if you use them on the in game telephones you unlock hidden pictures and art.
The achievements on the 360 version of the game may also add some longevity for people if they wish to get 1000 points. Most points are gained via game progression, but some are earned by doing certain things e.g. kill 50 people with the creeping dark. It will take at least two playthrus to unlock all these achievements. As big a fan of achievements that some people are, I personally feel that the core game’s length is what matters. (2 out of 5)
I am cry :* (
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much lagging since the last time I travelled to Japan and back. The game is absolutely unplayable with about 2 frames per second making it jerk around more than Madonna crunking. The games that are available are also so generic that they would never prise anyone away from the sublime ‘Gears of War’ or ‘Rainbow 6’. 2K should not have bothered to make a multiplayer option at all and instead concentrated more resources into making the single player game better. I believe that the problem of the single player experience being hampered by reduced resources for a crap online mode will become more prominent over this generation – it needs to stop now. (1 out of 5)
There is no denying that ‘The Darkness’ is a pretty nice looking game. The entire concept of the game is about shades of light and dark and the way that the makers produced the shadows is very good. I was also impressed that they could use the same engine to portray both a modern city and a WW1 trench. One issue is with the character models themselves that did not look that great. This is due to the increasing problem of ‘uncanny valley’. This is the idea that computer generated people look increasingly real but are always slightly off. ‘The Darkness’ had characters that looked a bit like burns victims! (4 out of 5)
The levels in this game are all about the ability to use Jackie’s power and the therefore have lots of shadows for you to step into. However, as the game is mostly set in the city there are plenty of street lights that will catch you out. The process of methodically shooting lights soon becomes a bit tiresome and I felt that the levels should have been designed to avoid this. The majority of levels on offer in ‘The Darkness’ where fun, but followed a corridor feel. (3 out of 5)
If you had asked me 2 months ago which game had the best vocals and music on the 360 I would have said ‘Gears of War’ and ‘The Darkness’. However, as mentioned several times already a little game called ‘Bioshock’ has been out since and redefined what 5 out of 5 in sound is. For its credit ‘The Darkness’ still has wonderful voice acting, with Jackie in particular being well acted. I also felt that the voice of the Darkness itself was creepy and added a lot to the atmosphere. It is the music and sound effects that are not quite as good as ‘Bioshock’. (4 out of 5)
Hindsight has been cruel to ‘The Darkness’ as ‘Bioshock’ has come along and done everything a little better. This means that in almost every category above I have had to reduce the score by one point to take into account it’s no longer good enough. However, do not let this put you off this game as it is a genuinely fun experience with plenty to do. The mechanics of gameplay are different enough from most FPS to make it interesting and the story is a good yarn. I would advice people who are new to the 360 to perhaps play this before playing ‘Bioshock’ as it would be like eating margarine after butter. This is still a good game – just no longer excellent. (3 out of 5)
Maker: 2K Games RRP £50
Amazon uk £35.48
Summary: A good FPS that suffers from being released a few weeks before the genre defining 'Bioshock'
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