The Darkness review

They believed in a thing called love - you can taste it in the rhythm of their hearts

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Darkness powers aside, the shooting action is great, if not particularly revolutionary. Auto-targeting makes aiming in the heat of a firefight a relative breeze, and you'll eventually have a wide array of weapons to choose from, starting with a pair of pistols and working up to automatic shotguns and assault rifles. Most of the weapons can be used for close-up execution moves, too, which deliver a random visual payoff - like, say, a gun shoved into a bad guy's mouth and fired, or a quick rifle-butt followed by a spray of bullets to the face - while cleanly killing a target in one move.

That's assuming you can get close before being drilled full of holes, of course. Your enemies aren't smart enough to do things like flank you or fight as a team, but they'll frequently shoot from behind cover, and they usually won't rush you if they know you're hiding around the corner. Later on, some of the cops you'll fight even carry riot shields, meaning you'll either have to distract them with a Darkling or fire up a black hole to get past their defenses. Nearly every enemy can kill you in a second if you're not careful, though, especially if you don't have The Darkness - and its automatic shielding - activated.

Whether you're fighting mob goons, wandering through the streets or just helping old ladies find lost jewelry in the hub-like subway stations, The Darkness packs some jaw-dropping production values. The environments look fantastic and are packed with destructible objects, the characters are extremely detailed (right down to faded facial scars) and even Jackie's gun-toting hands bob, move and aim realistically according to his movements and surroundings. If you want to take a break from the adventure, you can even sit and watch any of the in-game TVs, which play hours of low-res video that ranges from music videos and old cartoons to Flash Gordon shorts and full-length versions of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Man with the Golden Arm. You can even change the channel.

The script and acting (in the game, not the movie) are absolutely top-notch as well; surprisingly, some of the best parts are the loading screens, during which Jackie delivers monologues about his current situation and what's about to come next. Or maybe he'll just play with his guns for a little bit. Either way, these sequences do a lot to make him an extremely likable guy, and they're a hell of a lot more entertaining than watching a progress bar.

More info

DescriptionSpew demons and bullets as you kill your way through mob families and possibly hell itself in your quest for karmic redemption.
Platform"PS3","Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"18+","18+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.