This M-rated, $59.99 first-person shooter, based on the comic-book series of the same name, dares to be different — and for the most part succeeds.
The surprisingly interesting story centers on mobster Jackie Estacado. He soon finds himself on the bad side of a deal gone wrong with his employer, who just happens to be the Don of the New York mafia.
So what does he do? Well, what does any trained assassin do? He kills stuff.
In "The Darkness," that includes pretty much everything in his path — mobsters, police officers and random strangers — in a blood-soaked zeal to exact revenge on his former employers.
He has a variety of weapons, including pistols and shotguns, at his disposal.
What makes this game different from other first-person shooters are the demonic powers Estacado gains as the game progresses.
You see, Estacado isn't just a professional killer. He's also somehow become possessed by evil spirits, giving him a pair of grisly, snarling tentacle-like serpents that sprout from his shoulders with the tap of a button.
He can summon this "Darkness" mode and other powers at will, and with devastating results on his enemies.
He gains the ability to withstand gunshot wounds more effectively, and his supernatural abilities add various possibilities.
I was able to guide one of the tentacles around corners to take out enemies from afar, for example.
You also can summon little demonic buddies who'll help unlock doors and fight for you. (Just be sure to shoot out all the street lamps; demons in this world don't last long when exposed to light).
It's this dynamic that makes the game so much fun. There's shooting aplenty, but the demonic powers bring a new dimension to the action, making the game much more that a simple point-and-shoot affair.
Blood splatters everywhere and the language is definitely adults-only, but this is a game that lets you bring out your inner demon unlike any other.
I did have a few complaints. "The Darkness" has some excellent graphics but the screen is — surprise, surprise — very dark. I found it hard to see unless I shuttered the blinds and flicked off the lights.
Another complaint, though it is really a compliment of sorts, is that "The Darkness" felt too short and left me wanting more.
I blew through the game in a couple days; more dedicated players could probably do it in one extended sitting.
"The Darkness" is proof that sometimes, anyway, it's good to be bad.
Three stars out of four.