The Darkness 2 multiplayer preview

viernes, 9 de diciembre de 2011 , Posted by admin at 2:53

 The Darkness 2 multiplayer preview

Nick Cowen take a look at some of the multiplayer elements of The Darkness 2, one of the first big games releases of 2012

 he Darkness 2 ... finding a parking space in New York was never easy

When it was released back in 2007, The Darkness was something of an oddity. In a genre of games that was becoming increasingly filled with testosterone-soaked run and gun action, The Darkness (along with BioShock) stood out from the pack by offering players an FPS experience augmented by superpowers.

It told the story of Jackie Estacado, a mob hitman, who had the good fortune to become possessed by a demonic spirit called The Darkness on the same day he had the bad fortune to be blown out of a window by his Mafioso uncle.
The single-player campaign was excellent, mixing atmospheric horror with gore-splattered action and all of it was shaded in a palette of moody greys, browns and blacks. It had a multiplayer, but it seemed tacked on as an afterthought, offering only four match-types and supporting eight players.

We only mention all this because it seems a little odd to be previewing The Darkness II with the game's multiplayer mode. To be honest, its predecessor didn't need one and, let's face it, it's not remembered as one of the gold standards among online shooters.

Besides, unless a shooter's online mode allows it to eat into the multiplayer audiences of the genre's current big boys – Gears, CoD, BF3, Halo – it seems a wasted effort to include one. Perhaps knowing this, Digital Extremes has decided against a competitive multiplayer for The Darkness II and has instead created an online co-op mode called Vendettas.

Vendettas is split into two modes, Campaign and Hit List. Campaign is a story-based mode that runs parallel to the main single-player campaign in The Darkness II. It involves a team of super-powered killers seeking out artefacts for Estacado, which apparently contain the essence of The Darkness.

There are four characters to choose from – a street samurai (Inugami), an ex-Mossad operative (Shoshanna), a voodoo priest (JP DuMond) and a brawler from Scotland (Jimmy Wilson). Each of them carries a weapon that is powered by The Darkness; Inugami has a sword, Shoshanna a sawn-off, DuMond has a staff and Wilson carries an axe.

Each of them also possesses a power – such as unlimited ammunition or the ability to summon imp-like creatures called Darklings – that the player can activate for brief periods of time.

The levels we played through essentially amounted to fetch-questing. At the start, the team are told that Estacado needs them to rescue a mobster or find an artefact and then the player heads into a level, which involves running through an environment and shooting at anything that moves (the levels we played through involved a junkyard, a printing press and what looked like a run-down housing project).

Players can carry two firearms along with their Darkness weapon. They also have the option of dual-wielding by hitting down on the D-Pad, but this means they can't aim down the sights of the two guns they're holding. It's rare they'll need to use iron-sights all that much (although it does happen) because most of the action takes place in close quarters and at quite a frenetic pace. It's also graphically violent.

Due to the fact that the Darkness team are all superpowered beings, they're able to soak up quite a bit of damage before they go down. They can also keep their health levels topped up by using their Darkness weapon to extract the hearts of any of the enemies they've killed.

The Darkness weapons do feel a tad overpowered; one blast from Shoshanna's shotgun can send an opponent flying with a massive hole in their chest, while Inugami's katana cuts through enemies like they're made out of paper.

Wilson's axe is a thrown weapon, which returns to his hand like the hammer of Thor. DuMond's staff is the odd bird in this flock as attacks with it aren't lethal. Instead, the staff allows the player to levitate foes briefly, and then they can riddle their target with bullets while they're suspended helplessly in the air.

Each team member also has an execution attack. Players arm this by firing one or two shots into a victim and then moving in for the kill when a prompt to hit the left bumper appears.

At this point Inugami and Wilson will use their weapons to chop a foe in half, DuMond levitates them into the air and twists them apart, and Shoshanna puts her shotgun in the victim's mouth and literally blows their head off.

It's all quite visceral, although the in-game dialogue and comic-book cel-shaded graphics combine to make it seem more cartoon-like than shocking.

The AI doesn't seem too challenging, although it doesn't let the mode down. Players need to take stock of their surroundings because the AI will try to box them in and flank them should the opportunity present itself.

They also need to take out any electric lights in the environment as direct exposure to light weakens their abilities and will ultimately kill them. It's also worth keeping an eye-out for shimmering Darkness portals; players earn XP for kills, headshots, Darkness weapon usage, hearts they collect and executions, and can spend these points at a portal to level up their special abilities.

The other mode in Vendettas, Hit List, is a drop-in/drop-out mode where players can replay missions from the co-op Campaign mode. It also contains a set of unlockable missions that are exclusive to the mode and some levels that require two players.

Unfortunately, at the preview event we attended, we couldn't play any of the Hit List content, nor could we play the levels offered us in Campaign any other way except solo, due to Wi-Fi issues. So we can't report on Hit List or how Campaign stacks up when tackled with a few mates. We can say, however, that Campaign seems perfectly serviceable as a solo experience.

Still, the meat of the matter in The Darkness II is the main campaign, and so far no details have been forthcoming. In a world where the dominant trend in shooters is to package a short campaign with an extensive multiplayer, that's more than a little worrying.

Make no mistake, Vendettas looks fine and plays very well, but really, we're hoping it's a tantalising extra and not the main event.

The Darkness 2 will be release on 10 February for Xbox 360, PC and PS3
• This article was amended on 7 December 2011 to correct the name of the developer behnd The Darkness II

 Video// Youtube 

Article,photographs and video taken entirely from the web The Guardian.co.uk