At a recent behind closed doors event newbreview.com’s Ian Young was fortunate enough to get some hands on time with 2k Games’ The Darkness II, sequel to 2007′s cult hit first person shooter The Darkness.
While there Ian met with Matt Roche, 2k Games’ PR Executive, to discuss the way this dark and gritty title has moved on from the original, and what they feel sets this game apart from all the other first person shooters on the market.
I’ve just finished playing the two demos and immediately the first thing that struck me was the game’s dark, visceral comic book art style. What do you think is the game’s biggest selling point? After all there are a lot of first person shooters out on the market right now.
Basically, as you touched on, it’s the graphical style. One of the things the developers really wanted to get across was the whole graphic noire (art style), which is in the comics they’ve done at Top Cow, and taking them into the game. One of the things that you may’ve seen in the demo is Quad-Weilding, which lets you use all four shoulder buttons (Left trigger, Left Bumper, Right Trigger, and Right Bumper) on an Xbox (controller). This basically means that you can dual wield but you also have two demon arms.
One of these demon arms is called Slashy, which lets you slash things, you can cut people in half, and other cool moves like that. It’s a little bit gory! The other is called Grabby, which that ability you can actually grab people or objects in the world. For example, you can grab doors, you can use them as a shield or throw them at opponents to slice them in half. You can also use (Grabby) to grab enemies and do execution moves – pull off their head, do a thing called Anaconda, where the demon arm wraps around a guy and spears him through the stomach – all kinds of nasty things!
It really is a change from more natural first person shooters, and very different from other shooters. It has also got a great story written by Paul Jenkins, the guy who actually wrote some of The Darkness comic books for Top Cow, as well as the original (video game’s) story, making it a true continuation of the story from the first game. Hopefully fans of the original will really like it, and there’s a whole mixture of things that contribute (to setting it apart) but I think those are the three main things.
One of the things that I liked about the original game was the stealth mechanic, where you had to shoot out lights creating darkness, making you feel like a real predator. Does stealth still play a part in The Darkness II?
In the game this time around the developers felt that the lights in the first game, while they were good, didn’t make much of a difference. So what you will see this time is that when you go into the light your vision is impaired, you can’t really see anything because it is very bright, and you can’t use your darkness powers in the light. You do still have to shoot out lights, but one of the things is that The Brotherhood, a group that you encounter in the game, throw light grenades at you. These explode in a big ball of light, and basically blind you.
There is still a tactical element to the game. Later on in the game there are these guys with big light guns, they’ll point the light at you, blinding you, and you’ll have to be quite tactical about how you take them out. There are also sections where you can also play as a Darkling (one of The Darkness’ minions). If you remember there were parts of the first game where you played as a slithering demon arm, in The Darkness II you play as a Darkling instead. This leads to some cool stealth sections, creeping around, executing people. For fans of the original there is a mixture (of gameplay), but this game is more action orientated, more bad ass Jacky Estecado style action, but yes, there are stealth sections as well.
One of the most obvious changes is the shift from the dark realistic graphical style to a more cel shaded look – any thoughts on the reason behind that shift?
One of the things that Digital Extremes (The Darkness II’s developer) wanted to do was to make it look more like the comic books. They’re massive fans of the comics, and if you go to their studio they’ve got all of the source material on their desks, and they’re big comic book fans anyway. They really wanted to recreate the comic books, and their vision was to make The Darkness II seem like you were playing through a graphic novel. You can see from screenshots that the lighting effects are nice and clear, and really gets across the look of the game. It really is fantastic. It is supposed to represent the look of the comic books, the graphic noire comic book look, as opposed to look of the original game. I think it looks great, and it’s one of the main stand out points of the game, and I hope that consumers will like it.
A lot of people liked the original game, it may not have been a massive success in terms of sales, and it has been quite a while since that was made, so can we hope for a third instalment?
(laughing) Well I personally cannot comment on that, but people really loved the first one. It was a real cult hit in some respects. Speaking to the average gamer on the street you’ll probably find that most people will have played it on their Xbox or PS3. So, for us, The Darkness II is going out there, hopefully people will like it, and then it’s all up to the powers that be if there will be a third one. It’s not up to me, but who knows.
The Darkness II is due for release in February 2012. Currently there is a promotion going on where, if you preorder the game, you are upgraded to the limited edition version of the game at no extra charge. Stay tuned to newbreview.com for our full review of The Darkness II shortly after the game’s release.
In the meantime, why not read Ian’s hands on preview with The Darkness II by clicking on the following link: Preview:- The Darkness II