The Darkness Review

It’s your twenty-first birthday and on this special day, your uncle Paulie decides that he wants to kill you. And if that wasn’t bad enough you get possessed by an evil supernatural being that is trying to take control of your life. Now how’s that for a great present?

The Darkness is an adventure/shooter with small elements of RPG gameplay. But the big story about this game is the storyline. The game has a movie like quality to it and it’s quite possible to forget, at times, that you are actually playing a video game.



Followers of the graphic novel may be somewhat disappointed because the plot strays away from the main plot elements of the comic. But according to a recent interview done by GamerNode, the lead designer at Starbreeze, Jens Andersson, said that this decision was made in order to make the game more playable and exciting. And from the looks of it, they’ve made the right choice.

You play the role of Jackie Estacado, a hitman for the Franchetti crime family. The sudden change of heart by his uncle Paulie from protector to executioner makes him angry, (Heck, I would be too) and sets him on a vendetta to strike back at Paulie at all costs. However, you’re also being taken over by an evil supernatural power that is bent on controlling you. And if things weren’t bad enough, the police are also after you. Talk about life pressures.

In this game you’ll use a variety of weapons such as pistols, shotguns, semi-automatic pistols to blow the baddies to nice uniform pieces — and your Darkness powers. This is where the game breaks away from your standard FPS games and adds a new element of battle to this genre. Your supernatural Darkness abilities can only be used while you are in the shadows or when the ambient light is low. This allows for some interesting gameplay as you constantly look for unlit areas for cover or wind up shooting out lights in order for your powers to activate.



In your supernatural arsenal is the ability to summon up evil minions called Darklings. These little critters can be called up from specific portals throughout the game and are used to mow down the enemy with gunfire, killing enemies with suicide bombings, striking down hapless victims by merciless attacks, or destroying sources of light for you. In addition, your powers encompass the ability to rip out and devour the hearts of your victims. (Ewwww.) With each heart that is consumed, your Darkness powers increase accordingly. Of course, you have your standard issue long tentacles which can skewer your opponents or slither in serpent-like ways to get into tight corners or to make tasty treats out of mobsters. Yum. Oh, did I mention that you have a pair of great Darkness pistols to blow away the forces of hell and other bad guys?

The action is intense with a mixture of a sometimes slow moving plot and simplistic gameplay. The multiplayer section of the game offers some mildly entertaining moments. You can assume human or Darkling form as you play games as capture the flag, death match, a survivor game and others. Not very deep, but it will keep some shooter fans happy. Some of the levels will remind you of Quake.



Gears of War graphics seem to be the standard as far as next gen graphics are concerned. If I may be so bold to say, the graphics from The Darkness are close to or equivalent to Gears. (Let the arguing begin.) The settings in New York City, in various locales, such as subways, dilapidated old buildings, deserted streets, and rundown houses are realistic and truly well done. The lighting is eerie and quite good. You’ll notice a lot of televisions spread throughout different areas of the game too. These aren’t just for set decoration. You’ll be able to watch real old movies, TV shows and cartoons on various channels. These just aren’t short clips; you can view the entire programs in one or several sittings. You’ll get a kick out of seeing old Flash Gordon movies and even an old Frank Sinatra movie called The Man with the Golden Arm.

The voice acting and dialogue of this game is first rate and for once, the voice talent understands what the script is all about. They don’t over act or under act their characters and this adds more enjoyment in playing the game. But beware, the language is extremely salty, so don’t play this game if your Aunt Becky decides to give you a visit. The music score is haunting while the sound effects and ambient sounds gives a creepy and dark feel to the whole game.




The Darkness will appeal to horror fans and mafia fans alike. However, not everyone will be comfortable with the setting and premise of this game due to the fact that you’ll be playing the part of the bad guy, which incidentally, is possessed by an ancient malicious spirit.


In short, if you like horror-based games or good storylines, you’ll feel right at home with The Darkness. But be forewarned, the intense nature of the game maybe too much for some.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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