May 17, 2007 - It's no secret that we've been following The Darkness for quite some time at IGN. The first person action title from Starbreeze, based off of the Top Cow graphic novel has been impressive in its blending of the New York underworld and the supernatural Otherworld, and we couldn't wait to check out more of the title, which will be released in the next month. Luckily, at Sony's Gamer's Day, we were able to get more details about the title with the very first level of the game.
If you've been following our coverage of The Darkness, you know that the main character, Jackie Estacado, is taken over by the mysterious powers of The Darkness on his 21st birthday. It may sound strange, but it couldn't come at a better time, as his "Uncle Paulie," (one of New York's powerful mob bosses) decides that the hitman has outlived his usefulness and attempts to have policemen, construction workers and other people on his payroll take out Jackie. All of these efforts culminate in a bomb in a building, which propels Jackie out of a window and into the embrace of the timeless powers of The Darkness, which gives him the ability to gain his revenge on his former mob family.
While we went through the opening chase sequence through one of New York's tunnels with Mikey and Nino again (culminating in Nino's beheading and Mikey's crippling via accident shrapnel), we were told that managing to shoot every construction worker in those tunnels would result in an accomplishment for the PS3. That's significant because, apart from Lair, this is one of the very first titles for the PS3 that's actively acknowledged an accomplishment system (akin to the 360's achievement system) from the start of development. How that might tie into Home's trophy room system is anyone's guess, but we were told that many of the other items that you could unlock would include full Top Cow comic books, cheats and behind the scenes movies with the developers of the game.
One thing that stood out within the game, apart from the various dark powers that Jackie will acquire, are the gunkata sequences based on close quarter kills. Depending on where Jackie happens to be when he fires his guns at an opponent that's a step or two in front of him, he'll perform a mini-cinematic kill that's particularly brutal. There are at least eight of them, so you shouldn't see the same move twice in a row. Of course, Jackie will also be able to trigger his darkness powers whenever he wants (once he gets them). That includes using the Demon Arm (the spiked tentacle that's been seen picking up cars and dumpsters), the Creeping Dark (the snake-like appendage that slides along the ground) and the Black Hole (a skill that sucks anyone nearby into its grasp and spins them around violently until they're released.
Of course, Jackie will also be able to summon one of four Darklings, including the Kamikaze, Berserker, Light Killer and Gunner to perform the dirty work that Jackie simply can't do. Perhaps that's clearing puzzles that he can't physically access, while other times these creatures perform solid backup for Estacado in battle. Impressively, while the game is particularly linear, there are numerous ways to solve the in-game puzzles. For instance, a player could use the Creeping Dark to bite through a fan that's blocking a player's progress, or send down a Darkling to destroy the fan for him.
While the build we saw was a beta that was about 85-90%, there were still a large number of mysteries that we couldn't get down to the bottom of. For instance, players will be able to devour the hearts of their fallen enemies, which will provide some kind of power up to his abilities. We were also told that the subway would be the primary method of transportation between locations in the game, but weren't told if there would be a cutscene whenever Jackie moved from place to place that would inform the character of what he needed to do or who he was looking for. However, we did note a cool feature that the designers are putting in. Instead of having a load bar, they're planning on including a monologue or other commentary from Jackie that advances the storyline significantly. We'll have more on The Darkness soon.
Thanks to IGN.com for sharing the news with us!