The Darkness 2 has gone from finally being confirmed to being playable (albeit not by me) in just over a month. 2K showed us the game's demo for the first time at GDC 2011. The demo was a mix of in-game cut-scenes and actual gameplay.
The Darkness 2's demo begins with a black screen and the sound of hammering, something big and metal is being hit very hard. The scene opens with our anti-hero Jackie Estacando being crucified. Digital Experience, the game's new developer, didn't leave anything to the imagination. From the first person perspective, Jackie looks over at each of his hands, giant railroad-sized stakes are holding him to a wooden plank. A blue translucent light is being drained from him. He looks up and we see our villain, a familiar crippled man who wants what he can't take, The Darkness.
The scene fades; a flashback. Jackie is walking through his favorite Italian restaurant. Two years have passed since the events of The Darkness; he's now the Don. The scene is reminiscent of Goodfellas, complete with "Hey Jimmy, how you doin'?" This is where we see the differences in The Darkness 2's art style. The Darkness' developer Starbreeze used its own engine to capture a photo realistic look for the first game. Digital Extreme used its own engine, the Evolution engine, to focus on an artistic noir style. They wanted you to feel like you were playing a graphic novel.
Jackie continues through the restaurant. Two giggling blonds in less than cocktail attire are waiting for him. As he sits down and prepares to make small talk, a bullet shoots through one of the girl's eyes, exploding on impact. Immediately, Jackie looks up to see a a van come crashing through the window, taking out their table. It's safe to say the other blond didn't make it either.
Jackie is pulled from the wreckage; his leg has been badly wounded. And I mean badly. No traces of shoes, pants, or a big toe. Henchmen begin to storm the restaurant, taking out the patrons during their feeble attempts to kill Jackie.
The screen is flooded with light. Jackie is back in the room, nailed to a board. The villain explains to us that Jackie can't simply be stripped of his powers; he must willingly give them up. The man doesn't say why he wants Jackie's powers, but his face looks like it's decaying and is in serious need of a makeover. The darkness has healing powers so maybe that's his angle. Vanity is definitely my favorite sin.
The screen flashes, and Jackie is back in the restaurant's kitchen. Armed with a handgun, he can't take out the swarm of enemies approaching him. He panics, but only for a moment. He has backup after all. Two serpent like demons appear at each shoulder, chomping at the bit. His wounds have been healed, and Jackie is now on the run. The demons attack enemies as they approach, the left one grabs enemies and objects. The right slashes baddies into pieces. As you try to escape, Jackie encounters a darkling, demonic creature from the first game. Darklings will play a more substantial roll this time. The darkling takes out an enemy, tossing Jackie his oozie. While your shoulder demons are hard at work, Jackie holds a handgun in one hand and an oozie in the other. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you quad-wielding.
The left demon arm can throw items at enemies, impaling them to their surroundings. The right prefers a more intimate approach and can be used to slice enemies in half, or into pieces. Each demon has its own fighting style and special moves. The left arm can do a move called "the anaconda" where it wraps itself around an enemy before ripping through their chest. The "wishbone" is a move exclusive to the right demon, and it involves tearing an enemy apart from the legs down the middle. Just as the demon arms, which I nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsom, are getting into their stride, the screen flashes again.
Jackie is back with the old man. This time he's pulling a Green Goblin and threatening the life of Jackie's aunt. Jackie is getting agitated. One the man's lackeys is beating him in the face. Jackie looses it. He channels the darkness to free him; sending one of the stakes in his hand spiraling through the lackey's skull. Jackie falls to the floor, giving the main baddie enough time to take what he can of the blue light and leave. Before he escapes, the man tells Jackie this was his one chance to not let anyone get hurt. It's too late now. He slams the door, and the demo ends. And we are left to process what we've just witnessed, and scramble to find the nearest shower.
The Darkness 2 will be released this fall for the Xbox 360 and PS3.