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At Gamescom, Digital Extremes gave us another taste of what's in store for Jackie Estacado in The Darkness II, and holy shit, it's ultra-violent. We're shown the Hellgate Field amusement park level where Jackie is off to track down some good-for-nothing named Viktor and his gang called The Brotherhood. This new pack of enemies aren't the usual fodder that Jackie and his death dealing tentacles are used to, no sir. These guys know that throwing in flash grenades, turning on lights and generally making the place look less bleak with any illumination they can find, removes the darkness powers from the moody hero but we'll talk about that more later.
The demo sees Jackie sneaking through the shadows to gain entrance to the amusement park. As he wanders around the tentacles grab at his gun and Mike Patton - who's providing the vocals for the Darkness - spits barbs at him and how he's now their puppet. Lead designer, Tom Goltz, explains that this time around the Darkness is far more aggressive to their host and are actively trying to take full control of Jackie, so expect more mind games to be played like when he sees a ghostly apparition of his dead missus, Jenny. It's a complete mind mess for you and him. Anyway, back to the action.
Above: That's a nice mask
As Jackie approaches the gates he's almost immediately set upon by the Brotherhood, but not in an all guns blazing way. Instead they throw in a flash bang and turn on a car's headlights to drain Jackie of his supernatural powers. This leaves him with an AK47 for fixing this mess. A few trigger squeezes later and the lights have been shot out and the Darkness has returned, which is particularly bad news for one enemy that has his head and spinal column ripped from his body by one of the demon tentacles. Ouchy.
This is just one of a bunch of executions that have us wincing at the sight of them. We see legs being removed, enemies decapitated as a massive photo frame is thrown at them and also a pool cue being used to skewer a man to death. The most brutal of all these is a close up execution where an enemy is held in one tentacle and the other pulls his head off. It's the grimace of the poor sap's face and the couple of tugs it needs to be removed from the neck that's particularly nasty.
Above: I'm doing a Russian dance HOY!
The Darkness II obviously sees the return of the Darklings - tiny, Golem type creatures that will do Jackie's bidding. The one found in this demo is driving a dodgem around whilst wearing what appears to be the famous Union Jack dress once sported by Ginger Spice. Brilliantly, the confused little fella has a cockney accent so when he's asking Jackie whether he should use a truck to smash the gates of this amusement park fortress we couldn't help but chuckle at the novelty.
When Jackie finally meets Viktor - a high speed boss who disappears in a puff of smoke - we're shown the new skills tree system used to upgrade weapons and tentacles. The one we're shown is about gun channelling. This nifty power allows Jackie to channel the power of the demons into his guns, which turns the AK from a deadly weapon into a hose of instant death. The bullets glow blue as they pump from the barrel louder than ever and manage to drop the Brotherhood goons in a heartbeat. Not only that, but while in this temporary gun channelling state you can also see enemies behind walls (they glow yellow) and then shoot through their cover.
Above: It's Darkling Spice
The action on-screen ends with Jackie at Viktor's mercy in the middle of the amusement park, but as the killing blow happens a flash of light whites out the screen and Jackie is seen looking at hands. As he stands up he's in a different place, a hospital with crude drawings of what looks like a Darkling on the wall. Ahead of him is a doctor who tells him that everything is going to be fine and... and... that's it. A cliff hanger ending for The Darkness II that's certain to make you feel as though he's dreaming all of this madness. Or is it the Darkness playing another trick on him? We'll hopefully find out more very soon.
August 19, 2011