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The Darkness

Butcher Bay: a triple-max prison - a no-daylight slam. For gamers watching 2004's movie The Chronicles Of Riddick, Vin Diesel just growled the name and the details took care of themselves. Xbox and PC's Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay was a great companion piece, both referential and individual, and better than most at suggesting the physical presence of the player, the world around them, and the universe around that. The Darkness marks Starbreeze Studios' own escape from a trailblazing debut, but not in every respect.

Here, once again, is a first-person shooter with third-person interludes, where the light is both your great enemy and your enemies' greatest defence. Regardless of the manmade weapons at your disposal, you'll always feel hunted so long as you can be seen. But when the lights go out (usually by your hand), the roles are spectacularly reversed. In simply eyeing-up the themes and devices of Top Cow Productions' bleak comic book revenge story, the Swedish developer must have seen half its job done already.

The Darkness fades in on mafia hit man Jackie Estracado's 21st birthday, minutes before he's betrayed by his adoptive uncle Paulie, don of the Franchetti crime family. But a police chase (an on-rails introduction with moderate freedom to look and shoot) and subsequent car crash derails those plans, just as Jackie discovers something else he didn't know before.

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