Previews

E3 2011's Most Anticipated: The Darkness 2

CVG E3 2011 Awards: Vote for the games that most excite you!

The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.

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Shortly before the show, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor at the Los Angeles event. Show your favourites the love!

Game: The Darkness 2
Publisher: 2K
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain

Just a few moments later the scene will be one of absolute carnage. Toothy demon tentacles will hurl parking meters through spines and cleave bodies in two, while a Darkling decked out in a Union Jack will urinate on the corpses of the deceased. Right now, however, everything is rather pleasant. Jackie Estacado, returning hero and possessor of the gravel-voiced Darkness, is now the head of the Estacado crime family and he's being led to his table in a restaurant by a courteous head waiter.

The scene is a buzz of Italian-American activity; it's pure Goodfellas. There's a lot of hand-waving and a fair few shouts of "Ey! Jackie!" Nearby a woman, who in a few short minutes will be running around on fire, complains that her ravioli is too spicy.

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"Right off the bat we wanted to get across the feeling that Jackie is the Don of the family," explains Tom Galt, the game's lead designer. "In the first game, he was important but he was a hitman - a guy for hire going on some jobs. We wanted to show, right off the bat, that now people listen to what he says. He doesn't do missions for random people. He calls the shots."

It's two years since Jackie avenged the death of his girlfriend Jenny, you see, and he's climbed the ranks. He's still, however, ravaged by guilt and the deep dark internal monologue of the Darkness that possesses him. The development house responsible for his plight has changed too - with the almighty Starbreeze handing their own Darkness powers over to the slightly less awe-inspiring team at Digital 'Dark Sector' Extremes.

From the action on show, however, it doesn't seem like we need to worry too much. Above everything else the standout achievement of Starbreeze's original was the narrative, with such electric scenes as the one in which Jenny is murdered, as well as famed 'TV-watching' sequence.

It's a welcome relief, then, that the one returning member of the original team is writer Paul Jenkins, an established Darkness author from our own fair shores.

JACK IN THE BOX
Getting back to the impending doom, poor Jackie has hardly had a chance to settle down in the company of two lapdancers before a bullet has gorged a hole in one of their heads, her cranium power-slamming the table. A car careens into the restaurant window, Jackie's foot is thoroughly mangled and chaos reigns. Some of the assembled wise guys pull you back through the burning restaurant, and you shoot from the floor while everything turns to hell and goons in orange boiler suits pile through the hole in the wall.

In the ensuing madness chandeliers collapse, faces explode in clouds of claret and a gas leak in the kitchen completes a somewhat lengthy insurance claim. It's only when Jackie finds himself in darkness that his restorative powers can work their magic and, indeed, when he can be reunited with the demon tendrils that are both his gift, and his life-long curse.

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