The Darkness II is the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Darkness. The Darkness II is developed by Digital Extremes (as opposed to Starbreeze who developed the first one) and was released on February 7th, 2012. The game continues the adventures of Jackie Estacado who's now a full fledged mob boss in New York City. The game features brand new Darkness attacks as well as a new cell-shaded art style intended to evoke the style of the comic-books.
The famously versatile voice of Mike Patton returns to supply The Darkness with the ghastly shrieks and grunts it has become synonymous with. However, Patton is the only reprising voice actor from the original Darkness, with the rest of the returning characters featuring different voice actors - including Jackie himself, who was voiced by Brian Bloom instead of Kirk Acevedo.
The Darkness II picks up some time after the first game and stars Jackie Estacado. The game lets you view a video when starting a new game called "Previously on The Darkness" which summarizes the plot of the first game. The plot is told through first person dialogue scenes (which can be skipped) and during loading screens where Jackie gives a monologue about what The Darkness is doing to him and how much he misses his now dead girlfriend, Jenny.
The game starts with Jackie going to dinner at an italian restaurant that he owns. It's suggested that he hasn't used The Darkness in quite some time, having realized that The Darkness was consuming him. While having diner with some pretty ladies, bullets start flying in the restaurant and a truck (which crashes through the restaurant) nearly kills him and horribly disfigures his leg. Having no other choice, he's forced to call upon The Darkness to survive the hit.
After surviving the assassination attempt, Jackie and his crew search to know who ordered the assassination attempt. It's discovered that one of the patrons of the restaurant (Swifty) gave Jackie's position away to the assassins so Jackie decides to start his investigation by paying the patron a little visit. During his quest, Jackie has surreal visions of Jenny, where he reveals that he would rather live in an imaginary world with her than in the real world.
Swifty is only a pawn to a larger association called the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood's leader, Victor Valente, wants the Darkness for himself in order to control the world. Jackie is captured by the Brotherhood and crucified. This kills Jackie and as the Darkness works on reviving him, Jackie is transported to a mental asylum. There, Jenny is a doctor while Jackie's men are all patients or guards of the mental institution. Jenny explains to Jackie that there is no such thing as the Darkness and he's not a mob boss. The Darkness is in fact a mental illness and Jackie's crazy. Jackie doesn't accept this but before he can ask more questions, he wakes up nailed to a cross in front of Victor. Victor uses a siphon to start extracting the Darkness. Jackie finds the strength to take the nails out of his hands and escape just as the Brotherhood attack his home and murder his aunt.
Dead set on getting even, Jackie attacks the Brotherhood head on. As he's doing this, he has vivid visions of Jenny and makes a trip to the asylum. Jackie begins to doubt his sanity, wondering if the Darkness isn't just something that lives in his mind. It's revealed that the siphon used to extract the Darkness can also make it stronger. The Darkness explains that it owns Jenny's soul and if he doesn't get the siphon, she'll rot in hell for eternity. It's also revealed that a polar opposite of the Darkness exists: the Angelus. The Angelus is, like the Darkness, a celestial being who wishes to fill the world with light. The Angelus can only use a woman as a host.
Jackie is captured by the Brotherhood, put in an iron maiden and the Darkness is drained from him. He's saved by a darkling and manages to get the Darkness back. He finds out that Victor has brought him to his father's house (which is full of Darkness relics) and that Victor still holds a majority of the Darkness's essence and the siphon. Jackie eventually defeats Victor and gets the siphon back and in a sudden plot twist, Jackie kills himself as he knows that the siphon is the only thing that can permanently kill him and take him to the Darkness where Jenny is being held.
Instead of ending up in hell, Jackie finds himself in the mental asylum. Realizing that the asylum and the visions of Jenny were all fabricated by the Darkness in order to keep him in check, Jackie commits suicide and ends up in hell where he defeats the Darkness by freeing Jenny. Jenny and Jackie spend a few final moments together before the screen fades to black.
In a post credit cutscene, it's revealed that Jenny is the Angelus and that by defeating the Darkness, Jackie has paved the way for the rise of the Angelus. As a now transformed Jenny escapes hell, Jackie is left trapped inside the Darkness.
The Darkness II is a first person shooter. The player controls Jackie from the first person perspective. The gameplay focuses mainly around gunplay and using The Darkness. Jackie can pick up any firearm and can dual wield smaller weapons such as uzis. Ammo can be picked up off enemies or by finding ammo crates. Jackie can carry two light weapons plus a large firearm (shotguns & assault rifles) at a time.
The Darkness is what sets The Darkness from other first person shooters. Acquired roughly 15 minutes into the game, it can only be used in the darkness which encourages the player to shoot out lights and destroy generators scattered around the environment. The Darkness is comprised of two sentient tentacles that can be independently controlled with two different triggers or keys.
The left head can be used to grab objects and people. Once grabbed, the object or person can be thrown or devoured. Throwing objects can be useful since they can impale enemies or cut them in half. Devouring enemies can be used to gain health or ammo. The animation is different and is determined by which part of the body you grabbed the enemy by (legs, torso or head). Finally, objects such as car doors can be grabbed and used as shields.
The right head is used to strike enemies and destroy barriers and objects. Controlling this tentacle is similar to analogue combat in Dead Island. Pressing the right trigger and a direction on the analogue stick causes the tentacle to swipe up, down, left or right. This sometimes slices weakened enemies in half or can be used to slam air born enemies to the ground, sending out a shockwave that stuns other enemies. The strike tentacle can also be used to stun an enemy so he can be grabbed by the grab tentacle.
Across the majority of the story, Jackie is accompanied by an AI-controlled Darkling. He will primarily follow to give support, such as attacking an enemy allowing Jackie to grab him, or will at least provide comic-relief (such as urinating on corpses) and act as a guide, showing Jackie where to go next. Through a specific upgrade, Jackie is eventually able to pick up the Darkling like any other object and throw at an enemy, which will result in the Darkling beating his prey to death. The Darkling can be temporarily 'killed', even by the player, but will always resurface soon after.
On two occasions during the story, the player will gain control of the Darkling after he is forced to separate from Jackie. Because of his small stature, the player is encouraged to play stealthily during these segments - moving through air vents and executing enemies from behind. Should the player wander into a light source, they will quickly die. Though much like when he's an AI companion, the Darkling will respawn soon after should he perish, with all of the player's kills persisting no matter how many times they may die.
Throughout the game, Jackie will earn "Essence", which serves as the game's currency for upgrades. The upgrading system is made up of four "trees", with each tree associating to a specific field of Darkness abilities. The player spends their accumulated Essence points towards various upgrades of their choosing. For instance, some abilities allow Jackie to replenish additional health by devouring the hearts of those he kills, while other abilities grant the player a physical shield, protecting them from projectiles. The game allows the player to respec as they choose, at the cost of additional Essence points.
Vendettas is a mode where the player plays as one of 4 hit men who each have specific Darkness powers and go on missions for Jackie. The Vendettas campaign happens at the same time as the game's main campaign and focuses on securing dark relics from Brotherhood agents. The campaign can be played offline alone or online co-operatively with other people (there is no split-screen). There is also a hit list option where players can replay specific missions from the Vendettas campaign as well as new ones specific to the Hit List mode. Each character has their own upgrade tree.
Out to get revenge for the murder of his family, Inugami sports a darkness imbedded samurai sword (Kusanagi) as well as the ability to sprint longer and use the swarm ability. The Kusanagi, which was used as a symbol of peace and tranquility between historic leaders of Japan, was since used to butcher thousands of innocents, cursing the sword to absorb a year of the bearer's life not used to consume the souls of a thousand "wicked" men.
A highly skilled Mossad agent who's unique weapon is the Arm of the Night (a two shot double barreled shotgun imbedded with the Darkness). She has the ability to quickly reload weapons and use gun channeling, which lets her shoot through walls and automatically target enemies.
JP is a powerful shaman from New Orleans who uses a mystical mace called the midnight stick that cause enemies to fly up into the air when hit with the stick. JP can also heal other members of his team and create a black hole that sucks in all surrounding opponents.
His appearance is based on the ''Professor Badass'' internet meme.
Jimmy is a drunk soccer fan from Glasgow who uses a battle axe (Dark Axe) that he can throw. He's very resistant to damage and can summon a Darkling.
Jimmy The Grape makes a coy reference to Mafia II, when he briefs how he used to work with a man called ''Vito something'' during the 50s. Jimmy's voice actor, Frank Ashmore, starred in Mafia II as Leone Galante.