The Darkness preview and screenshots

The Darkness is a title I’m not so sold on this year. It has the potential to be a fun, replayable game, but the answer to most of the questions during the hands-off demo was “We’re not sure yet.” There is one aspect of the game that could push it over the top though…

The Darkness is a first person shooter based on the comic book series by Top Cow. In a nutshell, Jackie Estacado, a mafia hit man for the Franchetti crime family, awakens one day with the powers of the Darkness. His scum bag uncle rules over the family and it is up to Jackie to take back control with his new-found powers. If you want more on that story, read the comic book.

This title is actually a blending of the comic book and shooter genres. What makes The Darkness different from every other first person shooters is the special powers our main character possesses. In the absence of light, the powers come out to play. Since this feature makes the game different, I don’t see why anyone would want to use the regular weapons… other than to shoot out the lights and make it dark again so the special powers re-emerge.

The power of the darkness takes form in two octopus-like arms on either side of the screen that can hurl your foes and in the shape of the darklings… small creatures with different abilities to wreak havok. Each darkling possesses a different attack, one more humorous than the next. My personal favorite was the chainsaw darkling. No explanation is necessary. Other special abilities consisted of sneak attacks and creating black holes that suck in any object or character in close proximity.

Without the darklings, there doesn’t appear to be much meat as far as gameplay goes in The Darkness. Based on the demo, it looked like the voice acting and facial expressions were top-notch, but that isn’t enough to carry a game. Creating as many darkling variations as possible and the ability to choose from a catalog that is compiled throughout the mission, could be enough. We’ll see what the final product will be. As I previously mentioned, there weren’t too many direct answers to that line of questioning.

What seems to be a throw-in to the The Darkness is the customization of televisions and monitors throughout the map. The developers didn’t seem to think there would be 100% personal customization for the screens, such as playing a DVD, but there could be the ability to use actual television programming or possibly movie downloads via the Xbox Live Marketplace. It’s a cool feature, but if it becomes a key feature in the game, I’m not too confident this title can hold water.

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