Like any good multiplayer component, Vendettas also makes use of an experience system tied to enemy kills and completed objectives. Regular kills earn you small points, but execution kills are where you’ll get the big money XP. Never has merely wounding a man so you can finish him off up close been so much fun. We’re in awe of how brutal Shoshanna’s shotgun-to-the-mouth finisher is, and how painful JP’s spine-ripping final blow looks. We feel especially bad for anyone who has to clean up the messes left behind by Inugami’s and Jimmy’s hack-and-stab closing numbers. The executions do leave you exposed for other enemies, but the rewards you’ll reap are totally worth any damage you might incur. You can trade in your experience at purple relics, typically located at the beginning of chapters, and unlock new abilities and bonuses tied to health, ammo, and your Darkness powers.
As great as it was to use characters like Shoshanna and Inugami, their weapons are fairly standard first-person armaments. Throwing Jimmy’s axe across the lot, and getting it to stick in an enemy’s head delivers a whole new kind of exhilaration that is only possible with that character. The same can be said for JP and his voodoo staff. Though he can’t throw it across the map, the staff enables him to lift enemies from behind cover, which makes them much easier to shoot or slice. This is all part of what Sheldon Carter described as an effort to give players new experiences that differ from what’s available when playing as Jackie. The four characters may not have all the strengths and abilities afforded to the bearer of the Darkness, but they do have some Darkness powers of their own. When fighting alone, they may not seem so formidable, but when all four of these miscreants are fighting together, they become as powerful as Jackie himself.
We were already excited by just the single-player content in The Darkness II. Now that we’ve gotten a look at what Digital Extremes has in store for us on the multiplayer front, we’re looking forward to it even more. The new characters and weapons add a nice twist to what we’ve already seen, and we’re glad we’ll be able to experience this game with friends. Mostly because we’re not sure we can handle the power of the Darkness on our own, and now we’ll have someone to help shoulder the guilt of all that blood spilled.