Without question, The Darkness II was by far the goriest game I saw during Game Developer’s Conference. The eyes-on demo began with disfigured enemies nailing Mafia hitman Jackie Estacado’s hands to a board. They want the Darkness, an unholy power Jackie controls, and punch him in the face repeatedly in an attempt to obtain it. All of this takes place in a first person perspective just like the game Starbreeze Studios made. Except The Darkness II is being made by Dark Sector developer Digital Extremes.
The game switches to a flashback where Jackie walks into a lavish Italian restaurant where waiters and patrons greet him. Jackie walks to a private table with two flirtatious ladies. Before he can order a drink one of the ladies is shot in the face and Jackie is wounded.
A bodyguard came to Jackie’s rescue and dragged him through the stage leaving a bloody trail behind. The lead designer shot a few enemies during this scripted sequence, demonstrating that the scene is indeed playable. A few bodies and second pistol later, The Darkness II switches to the present where a man with a bulging eyeball gives Jackie another beating. They really want the power of the Darkness and a stream of it flows into a golden box. However, the power can only be obtained if Jackie gives it up on his own volition, which explains why they unnamed group is tourturing him.
Back to the past, Jackie unleashes the power of the Darkness, which heals his wounds. Demonic tentacles pop out on screen, one of them smiles at the player, and the other tears a gangster apart. The rest of the demo was a demonstration of Jackie’s deadly tentacles. One of them is used to pick up objects such as parking meters to toss like a javelin to impale thugs. It’s possible to grab enemies too and throw them or eviscerate them with a move the designer called the "anaconda" where a tentacle wraps around an enemy like a snake before piercing the body Aliens style. The right darkness tentacle is the slashing arm, which Jackie uses to cut mobsters into pieces.
The arms add a bit of strategy into The Darkness II. You can snatch guns with the grabbing arm to surprise enemies. The grabbing arm can also pull off car doors, which act as a shield and a weapon. Once you’re done defending yourself you can toss the car door like a Frisbee, an attack that chops an enemy in half. OK, that’s enough carnage.
Jackie can also call a Darkling, little imp like creatures that steal weapons and… desecrate the dead by urinating on corpses. Digital Extremes decided to give the Darkling a larger role in the game with a personalities and one-liners. As Jackie and his buddy walked through a Manhattan subway they passed by ceiling lights, which overstimulated Jackie’s senses. The game’s screen changed colors when Jackie passed by and the designer explained its a wise idea to shoot lights to keep Jackie in the Darkness.
Switching back to present where the Darkness whispered to Jackie to escape. Empowered by the unholy entity, Jackie ripped a spike out of his hand and drilled it into one of the captors. Jackie was free, but an older man, the same one who explained Jackie should let go of the Darkness because he can’t control the power, escaped swearing to bring harm to Jackie’s family.
The demo ended here, but we have more coverage of The Darkness II coming including an interview with Digital Extremes. The Darkness II is slated for a fall release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.