One of the most interesting—and NYC-appropriate—fixtures of New York Comic-Con was 2K's subway turnstile that housed the demo for the upcoming shooter sequel The Darkness II. After getting carded at the gate and stamped with the symbol of the Darkness on my hand (am I playing a game or going for a beer?) I got to go hands-on with Jackie Estacado and his demonic passenger. Check out my impressions after the break.
The demo started with Jackie being crucified and tortured by nameless men who were using a strange device to try to extract his Darkness powers. From here, the game goes into a series of flashbacks showing the events that led up to this moment. The gameplay starts innocently enough, with Jackie being escorted through a restaurant to meet his two(!) blonde dates. However, in the blink of an eye and a burst of brain matter, the game quickly turns back into the title we came here for: a full-bore FPS. However, the game's initial twist sees Jackie being hauled (his leg was mangled in an explosion) through the restaurant as he picks off his attackers one by one in a winking reference to the first game's opening car chase.
Jackie finally releases the Darkness and we're introduced to the game's new "quad-wielding" system. Guns are mapped to the two trigger keys while the twin Darkness tendrils that frame the screen are controlled by the left and right shoulder buttons. This opens a substantial number of violent possibilities, with Jackie able to combo-kill his enemies in a sickeningly satisfying fashion.
The other thing worth nothing is the game's substantially different visual style. The first game's photorealistic textures have been replaced with subtle cel shading and hand drawn textures that give the game an appropriate comic-book feel. It's a departure, to the say the least, but it lends the game a much more distinct tone in the increasingly crowded shooter market.
The Darkness II will be released February 7, 2012 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.