It's all been done. Or has it?
The First Person Shooter genre is pretty crowded; if you can think of it, someone probably already has done it, usually across multiple sequels. Finding truly unique territory, rather, finding truly unique and ?interesting- territory in a FPS seems rare these days. Swedish developer Starbreeze Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, hopes to breathe some new life into the FPS genre with the release of The Darkness. The Darkness will meld traditional FPS fare with some ?superhero-ish? abilities for the main character. Along with that it will feature a strong storyline adapted from the Top Cow comic of the same name written by Paul Jenkins who is a frequent contributor to the series. Currently targeted for release in late June for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, The Darkness looks to combine some interesting gameplay elements, a great story and wonderful graphics to become a must-have next-gen title.
In The Darkness you will play the young Jackie Estacado, a mafia hitman on the verge of his 21st birthday. Raised in an orphanage and adopted by ?Uncle? Paulie Franchetti, a mafia crime boss in New York City, Jackie has been groomed to be a hitman his whole life (which is lucky for us because if he were a video game playing weenie, such as myself, the game would be pretty short). Unbeknownst to Jackie, his family carries a dark secret that only manifests itself in males when the reach their 21st birthday. The universal powers of chaos and creation, referred to as simply ?the darkness?, dwell within him and give to him demonic powers. The story begins with Jackie and Paulie having some ?issues?. As you can imagine, issues in a mafia family don?t just get talked about and then resolved with hugs. Their falling out is pretty drastic (and amusing) and now it is up to you to help Jackie get his revenge. All the while you are learning about your new demonic abilities and what the darkness?s motives are. The story looks to play a major role in the game and having one of the writers from the comic series will certainly help to achieve just that.
As I mentioned before, Jackie has acquired some new abilities with the awakening of The Darkness inside him. Beside the assortment of guns Jackie has access to; The Darkness inside of him gives him access to two additional primary abilities: Demon Arms and Darklings. Demon arms are quite literally extra arms that you can use to pick up and throw stuff. What is really cool is that the objects that you can pick up come in a huge variety of sizes. Whole cars can be picked up and then throw at enemies. These arms are very long and will come in handy should you run out of ammo; for example you could sneak up behind some guards, pick one up and throw him at the other. Quite fun. Darklings, are demonic entities that you can call upon to do your bidding ? at least as long as your bidding involves killing something. You can also take control of a Darkling to get access to areas that Jackie cannot get to (which perhaps isn?t killing something directly but does give Jackie more access to kill things; a mere technicality).
Keeping these abilities available requires, aptly enough, staying in the dark where Jackie?s strength and dark abilities recharge. This means you willl have to pay attention to the environment and find or create places to recharge. These abilities are what gives The Darkness its unique gameplay and should add a great deal of depth to your strategy. This is not going to be a game where you mow down legions of dumb enemies who mindlessly attack you.