Heyo! I'm Matt Brett, a freelance web designer living in beautiful BC, Canada. I specialize in WordPress development and generally making things that are awesome. When I'm not working, I'm playing video games, and I've published 133 game reviews over the past few years.

And Along Came “The Darkness”

First person shooters are a dime a dozen. Especially in North America – this genre of gaming is completely flooded and for the most part, each new game brings a slight twist but nothing more. But every once in a while a game comes along and changes all of that. While The Darkness is not entirely unique by any means, it manages to do just enough to really stand out in the crowd. At the same time, the familiarity that I feel while playing this game gives me a warm and tingly feeling deep down.

The studio that developed The Darkness (Starbreeze) released a game back in 2004 based on the Riddick movie series – The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. But unlike the movies, it was an incredible experience and to this day, remains one of my favourite games. I was ridiculously excited when I heard that a remake was in the works, but even more so when I found out that Starbreeze was the studio behind The Darkness. If you played Riddick, you will definitely see similarities.

The Darkness

You play as Jackie Estacado, a New York mob hitman who finds himself in a whole lot of trouble on his 21st birthday. Jackie’s voice was immediately familiar to me as the dude that voiced him played Nicky in The Black Donnellys – an amazing series that was canceled only a handful of episodes into the first season. A lot of the story is narrated by Jackie in the form of mini cut-scenes that cover up loading screens, which is quite a nice touch. But Jackie is only one of the great characters that make up the cast of The Darkness. There are allies and enemies through-out the game, along with civilians that you can choose to interact with and who provide you with side quests. Some of these characters are just great, though! The voice acting is stellar and the characters look, act and speak very realistically.

But obviously, there’s a lot more to The Darkness that make it an amazing experience. Jackie’s movements and fighting style will take some getting used to. He moves very slow in comparison to the majority of shooters and relies more on his powers than his guns. Through-out the game, you acquire various Darkness powers that are all quite useful and make things a lot easier when it comes to disposing of the baddies. You also have Darklings (minions) you can call on to lend a hand. Like your Darkness power, there are 4 Darklings and each has a unique ability.

I rented this game on Tuesday and have nearly completed it already on normal difficulty. I could have finished it off tonight, but I want to drag it out a bit more. That’s not to say it’s abnormally short – I put in quite a few hours over the past couple of days. I think by the time I’m done with it, it will feel just right. Even though I’ll have finished it by the time I return it, I’ll definitely be buying it. The Darkness is one of those games you always want to have on hand. And I’m certain the ending is going to be mind-blowingly-brilliant, as was the closing sequence in Riddick.

Rating: 4/5

The Darkness

9 Comments

  1. The negative previews of this game right before release(2-3 days I think) really put me off this game. Which is a pity as I like FPS games but most of the latest PS3/360 don't appeal to me. I was hoping that this one would change that. I'm glad that you have enjoyed it.

  2. Great game. Watch out though Matt, as there's a glitch which is preventing a lot of people from getting the Hard completion achievement if they have already played through it on Normal.

    I didn't read ANYTHING about this game meaning it had so many surprises when I began playing through it. It has so many nice touches that make the game stand out from just being another shooter. Xbox 360 must buy me thinks.

  3. I thinking of buying this game, because in Sweden we can't rent video games. At least not here in Kalmar. So I have to read a lot of reviews and ask people what they think before I buy any game at all.

    So it's great that you write a blog post about it. You are my first source for buying games :).

    Great that you enjoy the game!

  4. This is one of the reasons why I take reviews from the big websites with a grain of salt. I actually found the multiplayer very fun (albeit a bit laggy sometimes), despite what critics (and even Starbreeze) say.

    Although I had my fair share of UGH moments throughout the game (especially with the last few bosses), I'm not sure why this was getting negative previews. I have it on rental now but I'll probably be picking it up aswell.

  5. I agree with the comments regarding the show The Black Donnellys. I is a great show that was not given a chance to succeed on NBC. I was extremely disappointed when I found out the show was canceled. I just hope that all the fan support targeted towards HBO is sucessful in securing a second season for the show.

  6. I just completed it on normal. I have to say this is one of a few games I won't mind playing again for the "Play on Hard" achievement as well as some other achievements I missed this time around. Although I don't think I'll sit and play it 8 hrs straight again. :)

  7. @Daniel: I would take previews with a grain of salt. I don't normally read them myself as most sites seem to be reviewing unfinished builds of the game instead of merely giving observations. Kind of like what happened to Safari 3 beta when it was released.

    @Alexander: Oh wow, that sucks that you don't have rentals in Sweden. I can see why reviews and friend's opinions would be so important to you.

    @ReTodd: I'm in the same boat. Finished it last night, but could have jumped right back in and started playing again, going for some of the "opportunity" type achievements I missed the first time. I think I'll wait until I buy it, though. As I have to return it today.

  8. I havent finished it yet so I don't want to over react, but I found it a little lacking. Feels like a good concept that was rushed out the door rather than fleshed out more, mainly in the story.

    I was especially disapointed with the world war hell portion, it needed more creepyness and to be longer. Just when I was getting into it it was over.

    Don't get me wrong, I am still enjoying the game! The powers are a cool touch, it just leaves me wanting more.

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