Abilities and load times
The game's designers clearly had fun developing Jackie's supernatural abilities and as a result the game it a lot of fun...for a couple of hours. After that the designers seemed to not to care much about making the game have a lot of variety. With only a couple of exceptions you deal with up to four or five enemies at a time to either shoot them or use your Darkness powers. It doesn't help that the enemy AI in the game is scripted and weak; you pretty much know what they are going to do in most situations and that makes them easy to take out. It also doesn't help that the game makes you walk through a lot of the same areas over and over again in New York, especially if you decide to go on some of the game's side quests to unlock extra content (Top Cow comics, movies, art designs, etc).
The load times as you go through each section also take a while which breaks up the flow of the game as you sometimes have to go through four or five levels to accomplish a task. It gets tedious and old really fast. One thing that we did think was odd is that in the game your human mob enemies don't really seem to care much that you have a demon power that you can manifest. We think they should be scared our of their wits but they only mention these abilities in passing.
One thing that the game can't be faulted on is the graphics. Starbreeze's proprietary engine is as good or better than any other graphics engine out there in terms of visual candy with high polygon character models, normal mapped textures and impressive lighting effects.It's not perfect; for some reason the game's facial animations seem a bit off when Jackie talks to anyone in the game which can be a bit distracting. We didn't notice any difference at at between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions in terms of graphics One cool thing is the game's ability to put in video content in television's inside the game. You could watch full movies like To Kill A Mockingbird or The Man With The Golden Arm if you wanted or even Popeye cartoon shorts.
The Darkness also has a multiplayer mode with standard gameplay features like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag, along with a mode called Survival (be the last human standing). You can play as a standard non-Darkness powered human or you can play as a Darkling which allows you to run on walls and ceilings along with giving you a melee attack. Why you can't play a human with Darkness powers in multiplayer is an odd choice for us. The game has up to eight players in multiplayer mode but seems to have been a project put into the game in the last minute (much like F.E.A.R. multiplayer game was)
The voice acting in the game is a mixed bag. As the voice of The Darkness itself, Mike Patton is excellent with some truly evil sounding timbers as he taunts Jackie in the game. The same cannot be said on Jackie's voice actor Kirk Acevedo delivers his lines with a dull and static presentation. The script is written at times like a bad Sopranos episode with mob figures saying the same old, same old statements we have heard a thousand times before in various mob movies and TV shows. One thing to keep in mind is that nearly everyone in the game is pretty much a bad guy, including Jackie. If you have an issue with playing a game that has some nasty characters in it with no real hero you might want to stay away. Jackie does have some redeeming features (his love of Jenny being the main one) but he is a mafia hit man and that never really goes away.