The Darkness (360) – Review

The Darkness - Cover

The Darkness, based off the comic of the same name by Top Cow Productions, developed by Starbreeze Studios, and published by 2K Games, takes a unique approach to first-person shooters that reminds me of elements from Max Payne and Deus Ex. It offers a story that is integrated well with the gameplay, a detailed environment of New York City, and a set of fun powers to use as you gain levels. There are some flaws, such as a rather lackluster online component, but the game still stands out for the solo play.

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The Darkness (360) – Mid-game Thoughts

I was worried before about this game not offering much, but there’s actually a pretty good bit of content here.  The game does a good job of keeping a story telling pace while keeping the action going at the same time.  It’s got a Max Payne head-warping feel to it, particularly with at least two sets of areas that are completely unexpected for the setting that you’re introduced to.  I also like how, while being an FPS, it had small but simple side quests that help give the game more depth.

And yes, the latter powers that you get are pretty damn impressive.  “Black Hole” may be fireflower-cheap, but it’s got its drawbacks, and its quite fun to watch ragdoll physics at work.

The Darkness (360) – Initial Impressions

Played through about 2 or so hours of the game so far.   It’s got a weird combination of Deus Ex and Condemned: Criminal Origins to it in that there feels like there’s some non-linearity and that you have a couple opinions besides pure firepower to deal with tight situations (including some stealth attacks and the Darkness powers).  The setting (in this case, NYC late one night) also brings these games to mind.

I’m a bit odd about what the game considers “dark” where your powers are supposed to manifest themselves better; the graphics don’t see to have a strong contrast between light and dark, but there are several profiles that can be set depending on your TV along with a gamma setting to adjust this further; however, there’s no ‘guide’ (eg, selecting a profile to make a near-black square disappear or the like) to help with the lighting setting.

My only concern in the longevity of the play is how many more powers the character manifests.  When you defeat a foe regardless of method, you eat their heart, and eating so many hearts raises your Darkness level, but there are only 5 such levels in the game; the fact I hit one within a couple hours makes me hope this game isn’t too short.

I was almost tempted to see how long into “To Kill a Mockingbird” (the movie with Gregory Peck) is used within the game, shown somewhat early in the game.

Haven’t tried multiplayer yet.