Violating guys with tentacles has never been so fun! Uhh...
I tried playing The Darkness 1 in the lead-up to The Darkness 2 and I have no other way to say it other than it felt it's age. It didn't feel like a great game by modern standards, though I certainly recall enjoying what I played of it back in the day. But going back to finish it up so many years later it just didn't really click.
I wanted to stay for the story stuff, which holds up well even now - but the gameplay didn't click and I dropped it.
Fortunately as you load up The Darkness 2 it'll ask you if you'd like a recap of what happened in the previous game, bringing you up to speed and making you as prepared as anyone else to step into Jackie Estacado's fancy Italian shoes to shoot up some bad guys.
And shoot them up you will. There is a decently large array of pistols, rifles, shotguns and machine guns with which to lay waste to the enemy. They all felt pretty good to use and no matter what weapon I was using I never felt underpowered. They will all do the job with reasonable amounts of effectiveness.
Guns are fun and all, but the highlight of the game of course is The Darkness itself and the powers it bestows upon Jackie are what separates this shooter from a myriad of others. Guns are tied to the trigger and the ability to grab or slash with the tentacles are bound to the bumpers, making it really easy to mix things up in combat. You'll be grabbing one guy whilst blasting another in the face, you'll be whipping dudes left and right whilst impaling others on large metal poles. The game does a good job of making you feel like a real bad-ass as you literally tear through waves of enemies, sending limbs, heads and torsos flying all over the place.
The story told around all the fighting is pretty well done and the presentation of all that is as interesting as the action going on around it. The game has a fairly unique look to it, I doesn't look quite cell-shaded but it certainly has a cartoony quality to it, though it isn't at all lacking in detail. As mentioned before the story telling of the original game was certainly the highlight of it and while the gameplay does a better job of carrying the game this time around the narrative is no slouch at all. I won't spoil it, but the way the game ends certainly lends itself to a sequel and I sincerely hope it happens.
The Darkness 2 doesn't overstay it's welcome, I finished it in a little less than six hours.
But unlike most shorter games I don't feel like The Darkness 2 needed padding out.
It did as much as it needed too and it was gone, but for as long as it lasts I had a great load of fun with it.