The Darkness - hands-on

There is an eerie realism and palpable grit to the urban wastelands you’ll explore, with believable physics and animations to back it up. Using a technique called Vo-Cap, Starbreeze motion captured the physical movements of the voice actors while delivering their lines, allowing for a visual consistency in the NPC acting that’s rarely seen in gaming. Whether it’s a twitching addict on the street or your burly body-disposal buddy Butcher, everyone looks and moves convincingly, with a style and gait all their own.

Fans will notice minor changes to character’s appearances, such as Jackie’s longer hair, but it’s all done to make the universe and character models more visually consistent and convincing. The smoothness of acting and animation extends to your Darkness powers too, as mouthy slithering tendrils emerge convincingly from around the edges of your vision when your powers are activated, and evil little darklings crawl forth from spawn holes to do your sick bidding when summoned.

Outside of raw attack power, the darklings provide much of the black humor and dynamic interactions in the game. There are several different breeds at your disposal, depending on your mood; strapped with explosives, wielding sledgehammers, etc., they emerge ready to inflict all sorts of evil on your enemies. Switching them out at different points is simple, and they make for a gratifying extra action element outside of the otherwise standard gun battles. They can be useful little critters too, opening doors for you and the like.

The Demon Arms (dark tendrils/tentacles/hell beasts/whatever) that whip into view around the edges of your vision when activated have their uses too: eating the hearts of your enemies, detaching as little wall-crawling evil controllable scouts, throwing cars around, impaling attackers, etc. it really makes you feel powerful, and the violent force of your attacks is gratifying when you’re hitting an enemy with everything you’ve got.


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