Back when all of our common sense was really just a giant big bowl of water and cheerios, there was a shy title called The Darkness. It was developed by the developers Starbreeze Studios, more famous for their work on Escape from Butcher Bay. Supposedly this is a good game, but after sitting through around an hour of it, I got bored and hopped back on to Far Cry 2. There’s some sort of niggling feeling that you get after playing this game after a while, like a headache that slowly transforms into a migraine which slowly transforms into cancer.
The Darkness tells the tale of… ummm…. urr… Okay, I’m going to be honest here, I did not pay attention to the story. Whenever there was either a cutscene or even just a character blabbering to you, I always ended up running past them and missing out on the opportunity to hear what the fish was going on. What I gathered from the game manual is that you’re some guy who reaches his nineteenth birthday and suddenly becomes possessed by giant tentacles or something. These new found powers let you sprout wings and fly to the moon/ do boring gimmicky stuff.
I’m not going to bother rambling on about the plot because I don’t know what the blood hell happened, so lets talk Darkness instead. You can use these superpowers to bring these tentacles out from your back. These tentacles, with faces like a mix between Spider-man and the Aliens from… Alien, have the powers to do a lot of gimmicky things. They can attack dudes and devour their hearts, you can control one of them remotely and you can pick up stuff with them too. There’s also the gimmick of being able to summon demons from the dark reaches of hell, but they’re really just the imps from Overlord (next week!).
Let me start off by saying that it is a gimmick and if you want to argue with me, go ahead. It isn’t to say it isn’t a fun gimmick, I loved the brutal realism that it put across. Sometimes I was genuinely immersed in the world and having some crazy fun devouring people. But it is still a gimmick, a selling point. Really, you get that with every single game, some sort of gimmick or bullet point on the back of the box. With Far Cry 2 it was the whole African Savannah to explore, with COD4 it was the shooting mechanic and with the Eye of Judgment (Saturday!) it was being able to summon demons by placing cardboard in front of a camera.
So is the Darkness a bad game? Certainly not. The gunplay actually works quite well, although the controls aren’t tight enough to cope with most of the shootouts. I think what you have to understand with this game is that you can’t play it all in one go, unless you either have really low standards or being forced at gunpoint. The Darkness is the sort of game that can only be enjoyed for a few hours, and then becomes repetitive and downright boring. You unlock most of your powers half-way through the game and then you’re just about on easy street. Except with tentacles growing out of your back.
It’s a solid first-person shooter, I have to admit, but it is kind of bland to today’s standards. If the game was just one big thrill-ride of an FPS, without the tentacles gimmick, then it might have actually being more entertaining. Tighten up the controls, fix the tasteless environment and maybe bring in an interesting character or two and what do you have? Call of Duty 4. Just kidding, but it would be a very fun game. It’s too bad that The Darkness 2 was confirmed, otherwise I would task Starbreeze with creating a game where you writing about video-games. On a site called ”FLATFORM PLATION”.