239: Journey Into Darkness

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Fantastic game, and even better for the fact that you can grab a copy now for like 10 bucks

FalloutForever:

cynicalandbored:
Great article, and a great game. My only pet peeve about it was that the city was almost entirely unpopulated on street level, which took away a bit from the immersion. Otherwise, everything said in the article was entirely true. Bravo.

Well if you ask me I don't there would be many people around at night do you?

uh, yeah. In a game based on underground crime and such, there should at least be way more thugs shuffling around. But the thing is, because there are so few people, it kinda makes meeting a person........important? I remember the first time I was "mugged". I felt so sorry for the guy. He was just trying to make some money, but he had to choose me of all people to rob.

Veishan:
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

You mean to tell me the shotgun loading simulator has a...PLOT!?!?

XD That made me laugh. I remember using the damn thing only to be killed halfway through reload.

The thing that really made the game for me though?(besides the awesome story) The minions you could summon. I mean, who could forget those little guys? Killing hobo's throwing unsuspecting people out of their apartment windows, jack-hammering people's faces in......and the lines they said....

I'm (very pleasantly) surprised by the good review this article and the responses in the thread have garnered for the game. I remember downloading a demo and thinking it was nothing special, which is too bad. (The gameplay wasn't anything to write home about, and the demo didn't really talk much about the story.) I was also surprised to see that this game had a metacritic score above 80

But as a comic fan and a fan of great narratives, I'm very happy. I'll have to pick this game up at some point if I see it in the bargain bin, or at least rent it. Thanks - good article.

FalloutForever:

cynicalandbored:
Great article, and a great game. My only pet peeve about it was that the city was almost entirely unpopulated on street level, which took away a bit from the immersion. Otherwise, everything said in the article was entirely true. Bravo.

Well if you ask me I don't there would be many people around at night do you?

I live in a small city in Ireland, on a tiny backstreet on the outskirts of town. I can see more people out my window right now than populated the city in The Darkness. I could look out in 4 hours and see more people, and by then it'll be 3.20am. Cities have people at any time of the day or night. That one did not. Just making the point. I did also say I loved the game.

Ah, this article brings back memories...despite its unfortunate misuse of the word "titular".

I actually got this game, despite not owning a console. I resorted to visiting my friend and borrowing his just to enjoy the game. I never got to finish it. I thought Jackie himself looked like shit - the black curtain hair and the black leather jacket felt like just a shallow attempt to appeal to the goth demographic. The characters themselves made up for it. I actually enjoyed what little I got to play, and I wish the fuckers went to the trouble of bringing out a PC version.

While the article was one big-fat-spoiler (does it count as a "spoiler" if the game is 3 years old?) I'd never known anything about the game other than it was based on a comic but after reading the 3-page recap I'm sold on looking for and playing through this game.

The storyline of The Darkness is indeed one of the best in FPS history. I say this because it's not the best storyline ever, but then again I've not seen many FPSes that even bother trying!

Unfortunately the game itself is pretty so-so. It's a fun run through but it's not an earthshattering experience in terms of actual gameplay. I completed it once and I've not looked at it since.

Hells yeah, the Darkness. I love it. I actually ended up buying a collection of the first few issues of the comic to compare (yeah, I know you can see them on the game, but I couldn't read the blasted things on my tiny TV). It's awesome how in the comic Jackie is pretty much the quintessencial 90's antihero, and the only thing that bothers him about the whole being taken over by a demon thing is that he can't have sex, and when they made the game they switched the whole thing around and made him a much more humane character. And Jenny is right up there with Aylix in the scale of well-rounded female characters. As a matter of fact, I think there are few characters in videogames that are just as human as she is. (One that comes to mind is universally rated Roman Bellic. He, too was a deep, realistic character, and as is rare in videogames his body language often carried the weight.) Her reactions during the scene of her death are pretty much perfect - they frame him first as a spunky girl, than as merely human. (It's also telling that Estacado's reaction to this is shooting himself in the head without hesitation. Can't think of comics Estacado doing that.

Although that kiss scene trampled over the Uncanny Valley in a rocket-powered monster truck. I don't think kisses work in first person games! The character's mouth is clearly supposed to be by the TV that is sitting halfway across the room, as well as twice the size of a human head!

(And the gameplay was also cool. The first time you manage to shoot down one guy while impaling the other in the heart with your evil spikes of evil... I hope they get a sequel so that the story doesn't end up hanging.)

Logan, I'm very glad you took the time to talk about The Darkness. I feel like it was the most underrated game of the advent of the new generation. It wasn't just an advance in graphical technology, it was a masterpiece of story telling. Moreso than Metal Gear, more than most other games that strive to combine gameplay with compelling story.

I've played through the game TWICE at seperate times. Each time took me a week to beat, savoring the story every step of the way. I see used copies sitting at EB games for less than 10 dollars, and I shake my head that people that aren't in the know aren't snapping that golden deal up.

@all, if you haven't played it, The Darkness is fantastic.

The Random One:
I hope they get a sequel so that the story doesn't end up hanging.)

It's an old google find, but a man in Starbreeze studios suggested heavily that they were working on the sequel. I haven't heard anything, but I also hope for the same.

I kinda wish Yahtzee would have reviewed it properly rather than the demo. Granted, he'd probably have pooped all over it anyway. But some people make their purchases based on his say so. After his demo review, I can't imagine he convinced anyone that it was a worthwhile game.

Great article for a great game. Another one I'll mark down for a replay someday. Shame the online multiplayer sucked huge dino balls

Hmm, this does make me think that I shouldn't have passed up this game, though when I played the demo at the time it was hardly breathtaking for me and all I saw (from it's marketing at least) was gun-shootn' action and such. Didn't seem like a game I would have enjoyed.

That and I never knew about the comics it was based off of.

Either way, an interesting read, though it feels kind of arbitrary to go back and play it now for some reason.

ranger19:
I'll have to pick this game up at some point if I see it in the bargain bin,

You're in luck! There has never been such a bargain. :) Local EBs will likely have the same thing in your choice of system.

The Darkness is still one of my top ten favorite games of this generation. The story was incredibly well told, and the vo's were well done. What also worked was the writing, because very little of it felt corny or unrealistic. It's a total shame it didn't sell as well as it should have, but it is nice to see it get some recognition every now and then. Maybe more folks will get exposed to it and pick it up.

Great article, though.

To pass this game would be a crime. This is one of the few games on the 360 that had me deeply affected through the story. Powerful and dark, it's storytelling genius.

I wonder; does anyone have any info about the planned sequel?

Firia:

You're in luck! There has never been such a bargain. :) Local EBs will likely have the same thing in your choice of system.

By Grabthar's hammer... what a saving.
Just a shame so many of the achievements are multiplayer.

The Darkness is a masterpiece of this generation. Storytelling has never been so well done in an FPS.

You will not find immersion like it. As the article says, you really start to care for Jenny, when you first get your new power you find it awesome and love using it. Then when it shows its true self and stabs you in the back you despise it.

The demons, although stupid had real charm. Each one had its own charecter and was quite disturbing. The visit to pergatory is genuinely twisted and leaves you feeling uneasy for the duration.

What I found interesting was how hollow your revenge felt at the end.

A fantastic game that everyone needs to play through.

the Darkness was one of the three games I bought with my xbox 360. It is now one of my favorite games eva!

Firia:

ranger19:
I'll have to pick this game up at some point if I see it in the bargain bin,

You're in luck! There has never been such a bargain. :) Local EBs will likely have the same thing in your choice of system.

I like! :) At that price, how can I not pick this up! Thanks!

One thing I would like to point out is that the Darkness doesn't really restrain Jackie to prove that it can when Jenny is set to get shot, it is more concerned with simply removing anything that will keep Jackie from turning to it. I also find it interesting that Starbreeze chose to make the Darkness more adversarial than it is in the comic. The comic presents the Darkness as a much more passive entity, in fact the tag line is "Jackie Estacado is The Darkness." over time his bodily functions are being subsumed by the Darkness itself. The last time I checked he isn't even able to eat food any more because the Darkness has taken over his digestive tract.

thenumberthirteen:
and a boss fight you win by not fighting (something that took me ages to find out, and was a surreal experience).

Really, which one was that because my memory fails me at the moment...
EDIT: Found it. Indeed you don't fight him per se :)

The Darkness is a great game. I played through the story 3 times and sometimes I still feel like playing.
I can't say I really hated The Darkness (the creature that is). I can remember being pissed at it for not letting me stop Paulie from shooting Jenny, but eventhough I did spend that one "level" with her watching tv until she fell asleep I didn't feel that great a connection to her just yet. Events after that sure did help raise sympathy though.

There's no doubt The Darkness is the cruelest creature I've ever encountered in a videogame, and I'm fairly certain it took great pleasure in making Jackie watch how his girlfriend got shot, but I don't think it stopped Jackie "just because it could". I think it stopped Jackie because it wanted him to feel lost, to lose everything good left in his life so he would have but no other way to go than into the darkness.

Still, brilliant story showing that to get revenge you can lose everything you were.

I read the first volume of the comic, downloaded the demo and found it interesting if nothing else.
I'll have to get the game in the bargain bin.

Snowalker:
Man, I really wish I had played the Darkness, that sounds awesome.

same here I saw that game at gamestop for under ten bucks

I bought Alone in the Dark instead. I didn't have high hopes for AitD but it was a very good game and the storyline was good they really need to make a sequel to it.

Yeah, I liked the Darkness.

Although I wasn't big on the enemy AI/dialogue. You'd think they'd be a bit more intimidated to see a guy with two massive demon tendrils with mouths rip out and eat one of their allies' hearts.

By the way, I bet a few people don't know that Yahtzee's little "evil imp" characters are based on the summonable demons in that game. But you know now!

In my opinion The Darkness is one of the most underrated video games ever. Sure the AI sucked and the puzzles were often stupid (see Yahtzee's review) but it had a great story, great characters and perhaps one of the best depictions of a consuming dark evil of any video game. As video games based on comic books tend to suck The Darkness was surprisingly good.

As mentioned, I found the scene where Jackie is cuddling up on the couch with Jenny quite moving, not to mention being able to watch The Man with the Golden Arm in it's entirety. It makes what happens to her later in the game all the more chilling.

I was very excited to pick up this game. Excited and nervous at the same time - The Darkness is one of my all time favorite comics. An obscure title, often overshadowed by it's sister series, The Witchblade (which at least rings a few bells when the title is mentioned). I knew these guys were going to do whatever they wanted with the game because there weren't going to be enough people in love with it that they felt like they had to make a game like Arkham Asylum.

I was looking forward to fighting the Angelus, maybe even Sonatine or the Magdelina. But it wasn't meant to be. And I have to tell you, I enjoyed this game more than I ever thought I could have. I was actually quite happy they steered clear of the comic's more super natural villians while still managing to stay somewhat true to the comics.

I was glad the the Darkness was given a voice. In the comics it's one part power and one part possession. It usually depends on who's writing the arc at the time. I liked how the game handled it. How this power that you, the player, had come to rely so heavily upon eventually became the game's true villian.

Jackie's a great character. In a world of comic books where the good guys are always good and the bad guys are always bad (and no one ever stays dead), Jackie walks a fine line in between. I wish this game had gotten more recognition. I'd love to see a sequel.

ranger19:

Firia:

ranger19:
I'll have to pick this game up at some point if I see it in the bargain bin,

You're in luck! There has never been such a bargain. :) Local EBs will likely have the same thing in your choice of system.

I like! :) At that price, how can I not pick this up! Thanks!

Glad I could help. :)

Sheo_Dagana:

I was looking forward to fighting the Angelus, maybe even Sonatine or the Magdelina. But it wasn't meant to be. And I have to tell you, I enjoyed this game more than I ever thought I could have. I was actually quite happy they steered clear of the comic's more super natural villians while still managing to stay somewhat true to the comics.

There is the sequal to look forward to. :)

Firia:

Sheo_Dagana:

I was looking forward to fighting the Angelus, maybe even Sonatine or the Magdelina. But it wasn't meant to be. And I have to tell you, I enjoyed this game more than I ever thought I could have. I was actually quite happy they steered clear of the comic's more super natural villians while still managing to stay somewhat true to the comics.

There is the sequal to look forward to. :)

Really? Amazing! I was thinking they wouldn't get one so I never bothered to look!

Sheo_Dagana:

Firia:

Sheo_Dagana:

I was looking forward to fighting the Angelus, maybe even Sonatine or the Magdelina. But it wasn't meant to be. And I have to tell you, I enjoyed this game more than I ever thought I could have. I was actually quite happy they steered clear of the comic's more super natural villians while still managing to stay somewhat true to the comics.

There is the sequal to look forward to. :)

Really? Amazing! I was thinking they wouldn't get one so I never bothered to look!

I believe they just announced it. I googled it after reading this article. It was a late 2009 announcement, so it's probably still a good year off, at least. That's still more than the last time I googled it! :D

Veishan:
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

You mean to tell me the shotgun loading simulator has a...PLOT!?!?

Yes, and a rather spectacular one from the sound of it.

Wow, I can't believe I missed out completely on that.
I was pretty intrigued with the game at the beginning, with a convincing main character, uniquely nasty Darkness killing powers, and the whole WW1-reenactmet in Hell thing, which I must admit totally fascinated me.

Unfortunately, I let all the reviewers' reports of mediocrity get to me, and now all it gets me is a second glance at the $20 bargain bin.
I swear the next time I see it, I'll be making that purchase.
I'm all for effective, riveting plotlines and more than willing to put up with allegedly dull combat mechanics to experience them.

Can't wait to have my emotions cruelly manipulated against me.

It's a nice article, well thought out, but the darkness doesn't do it simply because it can. The Darkness is something that was once pure, but went insane from living eternally alone. It loses it's mind and becomes The Darkness, a near-omnipresent being that feasts on pain, anger and sadness, because it grows stronger from it, more and more with every bit, to the point it no longer needs Jackie, so he may pull in more, and more from our world, and inflict it upon humans, why you ask?

Because we can die, while it can't.

Why does it force humans to fight a war that was ended years ago, but never dies?

because in a sense, it knows it can't die, and they become like him to, senselessly lashing out against their enemy, wanting them to feel pain and feeds their insane god.

I personally found it an excellent game - I loved the story/NPC interaction most of all, its one thing that is chronically overlooked in the vast majority of FPS's now. The music as well.. fantastic - once again, overlooked in the game world.

The purgatory/hell levels were.. interesting, to say the least. Deeply twisted, and it did make you feel quite.. ill, with some of the images that popped up. I'm deeply pissed off my 360 died the other day, as I wanted to play through this again, its unfortunate that people don't play online anymore, as it looked vaugely enjoyable.

Mind you, there is a deep sense of satisfaction at impaling something and then lobbing them around. Particularly over the edge of something.

Only thing that let it down? Animation. The lip-sync, and some sections involving animation that is key to a certain section, such as the Harmonica player in a subway.. well, it was really bizzarely done, as far as I was aware you weren't able to play that kind of instrument 3 inches from your mouth. ;)

In regards to the sequel, I wouldn't hold your breath, as Starbreeze aren't developing it (last time I checked), so it could be downright awful. =/

This game has solid source material, a well-written script performed by quality voice actors, and some truly unique gameplay mechanics... But it's all so disjointed that the experience ultimately falls flat. Much of the music is horribly out of place (some of it sounds more like something from a fantasy game than an FPS featuring a violent anti-hero prowling the streets of modern-day New York), the Darkness powers are poorly managed (why can't I use them all at once? The colour scheme suggests that this may have been the case at some point in development), the free-roaming aspect and side-missions are unambitious and ultimately unnecessary (effectively breaking any narrative flow), and major plot points are either poorly-explained or glossed-over completely... Seriously, the fact that the protagonist has creepy, bloodthirsty monsters protruding from his body is really only noticed by one other main character, and even then, only in passing; the big transformation scene when the Darkness first manifests itself just kinda happens and is promptly forgotten; key scenes in your character's internal struggle are left to chance instead of logic (wander around until you find something you can interact with)... I could go on, but you get the idea. The Darkness isn't a broken game, and it's pretty enjoyable at times, but I just can't get over the fact that it could've been so much better... Ditch the free-roaming aspect and tell me a good story.

The Darkness has a new, refreshing concept and manages to execute it beautifully. I bought it on its launch, and it was indeed worth it. The combat system was a bit... Restrictive and slow at times, but I never got to a point where it was frustrating or the like.

The real reason I played it was for the story. I'm honestly getting rather tired of all these games that feel more like sports challenges rather then an immersive experience. The Darkness was not one of those. It told a story about a man who's world is suddnely turned upsidedown, seeking to stand by his ideals and protect the ones he care for. But the world grows into a more dangerous and spine-chilling place for every hour.

This game put up a proper background for the story universe to unfold and stretch out further, its ending managed to touch my heart in a wqay only movies or books had managed before. They put effort into creating rich characters and an immersive setting consumed by horrors, which made you care about what was happening.

The Darkness is an experience that I recommend to go through. Now make that sequel, Starbreeze!

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