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The Darkness

Developer: Starbreeze | Publisher: 2K Games
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 06/25/07 | Genre: FPS

darkness.jpgFrom the same team (Starbreeze) that brought you the incredible The Chronicles of Riddick, The Darkness has made its way to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Based on a comic from Top Crow, the Darkness is a dark and sometimes gruesome First Person Shooter that includes plenty of language and elements that make it earn a Mature rating.

You play as Jackie Estacado, who is celebrating his 21st birthday--yet surprisingly looks like he is in his late 30's. As the game begins, you wake up in a speeding convertible and a deal you have just done for the mob has gone bad. As you sit in the back seat, the driver and passenger seat begin to fill you in on the details and try to get all of you out safely alive. Unfortunately, when you mess with the mob, you get burned. Jackie's Uncle Paulie, the leader of the mob, suspects you of being dirty and this leads you into some pretty hairy situations.

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Not very far in the game, Jackie will be possessed by a demon known as The Darkness. This demon can only be heard by a voice inside of Jackie and shows itself as two tentacle creatures that gain skills and abilities by feasting on the hearts of their victims. However, you can only utilize The Darkness while in the dark. So you will spend some of your time attempting to get rid of the lights wherever you are. But when the lights go out and The Darkness comes out, you also gain the ability to see in the dark and give yourself more shielding from anything that attempts to hurt you.

Graphically, The Darkness looks very good. As the game begins and until the very end, the up to 1080p visuals are crisp and run at a very steady framerate. The game's dark and gritty graphics are exactly what you would expect to anyone who played The Chronicles of Riddick. However, because the lip synching is not very good, you may be pulled out of the realistic environment from time to time. Fortunately the days of bad lip synching will soon come to an end with the inclusion of full motion capture studios and all of the technology Sony has made possible on the PlayStation 3.

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The vast majority of the story within The Darkness takes place in New York. Sine the game is relatively linear, there should never be a time when you get stuck. But if that does happen, a simple look at your objectives will lead you to your next goal. The main story in the game is surprisingly long and while there are some side-missions that you can complete, they aren't really worth the time or effort unless you are one of those "achievement-whores" that has to get every single point in every single Xbox 360 game.

Once players get through the single player game, there is an eight player multiplayer mode with some pretty basic options: Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch. The multiplayer mode feels like they added it without much thought. Sadly, if it weren't there, reviewers would probably let that negatively impact the final score. However, if it is added without much thought, we tend to do the same thing. Either way you look at it, I wouldn't pick up The Darkness to play the multiplayer mode. Play it for the single player campaign first and if you need more--go ahead and try out the multiplayer.

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The Darkness is definitely a Mature game with many dark elements and language. However, if you don't mind these elements, The Darkness will ultimately provide you with a fun and enjoyable single player experience that you will not stop playing until the end. Just don't expect to replay this adventure once you reach the conclusion of the story. Because of this, I recommend a rental of this game first. Also, both Xbox 360 and PS3 versions look and play almost identical. So unless you want/need GamerScore points, feel free to pickup either version.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 08/19/07
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes
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Screenshots for The Darkness

Jeanne D'Arc

In Memory of Billy Kent Rutherford