|Min OS X: 10.6|
|The Darkness II|
April 26, 2012 | Jon Carr
Mac OS X: 10.6.8 / 10.7.2 | CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo | RAM: 2 GB | HD Space: 11 GB | Graphics: AMD HD2600 / Nvidia 9600GT with at least 256 MB VRAM or higher
Reviewer's Rig:27" iMac, Core i5 Quad 2.8Ghz, 8GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD5750 1GB
What is perhaps most interesting about The Darkness, is that it started as comic book back in 1996 (It's actually quite good, and anyone further interested in the story and Jackie should check them out. But be warned, they are even more explicit and gruesome than the game). The comics got a makeover in 2002, and still remain successful. In 2007 Starbreeze Studios (of Chronicles of Riddick fame) developed a game based on the comic books, also named The Darkness. Sadly, this game was console exclusive and never made its way to PC or Mac. The first game's story is briefly covered in an opening flashback and should be paid attention to as it highly relates to what is going on in the second game.
Yes, The Darkness 2 is now out on Mac as of a few days ago thanks to the efforts of Transgaming and published again by 2K (And is of course available at GameTreeMac, as well as Steamplay). However, Digital Extremes developed the 2nd game, not Starbreeze Studios. How the two compare Mac gamers will never know, but you can know that The Darkness 2 is very good. Why? Read on!
As a quick overview The Darkness is an evil, sentient being, one of the two primal forces in the game's universe (his opposite being The Angelus, who is female and Light) Both forces inhabit male and female hosts respectively, granting them amazing powers, but also causing them to fight for their individuality and control, as both forces contend not only with each other, but to take over their host completely so it does their bidding.
In the first game, The Darkness awakens in Jackie Estacado on his 21st birthday. As a hit man for the Franchetti crime family this turns out to be particularly useful since The Darkness enjoys and is fueled by killing. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the mob kills Jackie's girlfriend Jenny right in front of him while The Darkness forces him to watch. In turn Jackie goes on a murderous rampage and wipes out the whole mob. But by doing so he is completely consumed by The Darkness.
After the events of the first Darkness game, Jackie is now head of the Franchetti crime family and has been suppressing The Darkness for years. However, a spectacular ambush during an evening at a restaurant forces Jackie to awaken The Darkness once more, unleashing its awesome powers and imbuing our protagonist with scary Darkness arms and a predilection for shooting out lights.
As you can imagine The Darkness doesn't do well in the light. Anytime Jackie stands in, or is blasted with, light he is partially blinded and loses Darkness powers and abilities. So, it is in your best interest to shoot any and all lights, in addition to focusing on the light carrying foes you encounter later in the game. It's not quite Splinter Cell levels of lightbulb assassination, but it is part of things.
Perhaps the most interesting and compelling aspects of The Darkness 2 are the story and characters. Essentially, you are playing a criminal and a murderer. However, Jackie is extremely likable and easy to care for, especially when you see how tortured he is about Jenny's death. You have a number of flashbacks and possible hallucinations of Jenny throughout the game and these are surprisingly sweet and tender moments in contrast to all the brutal violence on display. Even without playing the first game it's easy to connect with Jackie and Jenny and care about both of them because it's so easy to see how much they loved each other, and how much Jackie still loves her. Not many games believably pull off romantic relationships, but The Darkness 2 is certainly one of them. You also get to interact with the men under you in your mansion between action missions and various other interesting characters who are all impressively voiced and animated.