Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Darkness Video Game Impression

The Darkness is rising ... again ... for a different publisher. Originally scheduled to be published by Majesco and since handed off to 2K Games the next title from Riddick developer Starbreeze is looking nice. Being in limbo is not good for a video game (just ask Starcraft Ghost) but The Darkness has nothing to worry about. Behind closed curtains at Comic-Con show attendees (yup, regular people, not just press) were privy to the first few stages of The Darkness as Jackie comes into his power.

What Is It? Based on Top Cows comic of the same name we follow Mafia hit man Jackie Estacado, who on his 21st birthday is not only looking to be wacked by his adoptive uncle, but also comes into an age old power known as ... yup, you got it, The Darkness. While the license is from Top Cows comic, the original story is not scripture. Paul Jenkins pens the game, he was an original writer on the printed page, so this game will delight fans new and old. We will get more info on the story as the game gets closer to launch, lets just say it's not for the faint of heart. Game play wise the games first level puts you in the back seat of a Mafia driven convertible in first-person mode. You're on rails, and will laugh your ass off at the commentary by the two wise guys in the front seat, and the first time you see all the Irish construction workers shooting at you. The game will be primarily FPS with occasional moves to an over the shoulder third-person perspective when needed.

Why Should You Care? This is not your ordinary FPS. While the demo displayed the gorgeous settings (these are the guys who did Riddick after all) it's the game play that raised an eyebrow as you don't feel like you're floating through a level. You see your arms, if you get too close to a call you will raise your guns up and if you fire too close to a wall the gun will recoil out of your hands. It's little touches like that that impressed as the games still in the works. I touched on it a little earlier and will reiterate here, the voice work is looking good, or I should say sounding good, really good at this point. The music changes to match the mood, and if you have a killer stereo setup like the demo booth then you will be totally immersed in a very Gothic, gritty, bloody world. Oh, there is a really cool TV in the game, where you can watch real shows like Popeye and even the news. Sounds silly, but it's so fun. The screen in clean, no health bars, no ammo counts, nada. Just you, your arms and the environment. You know your health based on red flashed when you get his, similar to King Kong, and once you gain the darkness power your darklings eye color will tell you the power you are using.

Why You May Be Sad? Besides not coming out till 2007, it's the curse of licensed games. Why The Darkness? Why not the sexier Witchblade or former Top Cow alum Fathom? For a series that has pretty much run it's course it was interesting to see it picked up as a video game. The Darkness does have a fan base, but by choosing this title, this license there is a chance the casual game player will take a pass.

Two reasons you should not pass it up. First the developer, Starbreeze Studios. These guys brought you The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. That game freaking rocked, and all they're doing is building on top of that excellent platform and then some. Second, this is not your daddy's FPS. The wild card in this game is the Darkness itself. A power that allows you to call upon demons/darklings, and harness the power of shadow. Other FPS may have BFG's and whatnot, but how many have demons as weapons, not many.

2007 looks to be a really interesting year in the console war as everyone is looking to establish their footholds. The Darkness is going to be a worthy addition to any gamers library looking to help their preferred game system take the lead in the next generation. Get ready as The Darkness is rising.

1 comment:

  1. videogamereview4June 2, 2008 at 2:19 PM

    Cool, I am going to have to check it out! Thanks for the post.