Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tech: The Darkness

Video games that have polished presentations are few and far between. It's even rarer to find that kind of shine on a game that features a first time adaptation of a comic book. I present..."The Darkness":

It's an FPS for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and from the start, you know the development team lavished a lot of attention on the game. After all, it's possible to watch a tiny, postage-stamp version of "To Kill A Mockingbird" on the TV of your in-game apartment. You can do side missions for people, you can unlock concept art and comic books, and every loading screen has a neat little monologue from the main character, Jackie.

Ah yes, Jackie. He's been double-crossed by the mob, and now he's out for revenge. Pretty standard fare, until you consider that Jackie wields the Darkness, a malevolent being that thrives in the shadows. With this power, you can produce devilish minions out of thin air, you can impale your foes with black tentacles, and you can even summon black holes that suck in anyone who's unlucky enough to be near. It's the powers (and the gore that ensues) that make "The Darkness" a little bit better than the standard humdrum FPS.

Some issues keep the game from being a top-tier title, though. AI (both of your enemies and your minions) is sometimes awful. The controls for switching between your Darkness powers feel a bit clunky. What the game needs most, though, is a minimap - the vague map from the menu is almost no help to finding where you are in the levels, and the semi-open-ended nature of the game exacerbates this. Still, even with these faults, I played through "The Darkness" and enjoyed it.

Rating: 83/100


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