Screaming Into The Abyss

The Darkness
By Ben Zvan
On August 20, 2007 at 11:35
Games

After a summer of superhero videogames like Superman and Spiderman and outcry against violent games about criminals, two games really stand out. inFamous from Sucker Punch, which sets up the player to "discover and grow extraordinary powers" while leading a city into either salvation or chaos, and The Darkness from 2kgames which puts the player in the position of darkness incarnate, exacting vengeance on the mob.

I downloaded the demo for The Darkness on PS3 this weekend. I'm surprised I haven't heard more noise from the anti-videogame camp yet. Any game that has a button specifically for devouring the heart of an enemy has to merit their attention.

The textures in the game are a little rough, but I expect that will improve for the full version. I'm guessing that the use of dynamic lighting everywhere is a little expensive in the game engine too, so they might have skimped some places to get that working. There's no way they could do without the dynamic lighting though, since all the lights are destroy-able and that's an intimate part of the game-play. I'm torn between "Why would I want to play a criminal who is basically EVIL?" and "Dang, this is an awesome game!"

The weapons in your arsenal are pretty standard pistols-and-shotgun fare, but the Darkness powers are what make the game shine (pun intended). While I was playing, I was reminded of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones in that the main character's alter-ego is a total bad-ass who lives in shadow. You've got minions, tentacles, and the aforementioned ability to devour hearts (I'm not sure what that gets you, but the game keeps a running tally), you can see in total darkness, act at a distance and basically be a Power of Destruction.

The details of object interaction add some great realism. If you're half around a corner, only one hand can hold a gun out to shoot. There are two reticles, one for your left gun, one for the right. If there's a car in the way of a gate, you can open the gate a little, but then it bounces back off the car. This interaction combined with the Darkness Powers provide an opportunity for unique environmental puzzles that the developers didn't shy away from.

Overall, I'm looking forward to the full release and an opportunity to impale opponents with my tentacles, devour hearts, and feel kinda' dirty.

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