The Darkness II adding New Game Plus mode

By Andrew Yoon, Oct 10, 2011 9:00am PDT

"What is this? A Final Fantasy game?"

That's the surprised quip I made as I saw the skill tree you had access to in The Darkness II. While it may be an FPS, the developers at Digital Extremes have implemented an XP system to encourage playing in the most ruthless way possible.

"We didn't want players to just sit back and snipe," I was told during a hands-on demo last week. While every kill will earn you some XP, it's the up-close and personal kills that award the most points. For example, impaling a goon by throwing a spear through his chest earns much more points than an old fashioned head shot.

These points can then be applied on a branching skill tree. In my demo, I had managed to get just enough XP to unlock some new abilities. One was an armor that would activate in the darkness, allowing Jackie to take a bit more damage when out of the light. Another--the "Gourmet Hearts" power (available as a pre-order bonus)--would increase the potency of consumed hearts. The one that I chose, however, turned thrown bodies into darkness grenades.

See, your demonic arms are quite powerful, able to impale, hack, and dismember enemies quite easily. I thought to myself, "there's going to be a LOT of dead bodies." With the new power-up, I would be able to pick up one of these corpses with a demon arm, and hurl them like bombs at other enemies.

The skill tree is quite extensive, and I wasn't made privy to how far it extends. It would definitely take more than a single playthrough to unlock all the abilities, I was told. Thankfully, that's where New Game Plus mode comes in. You'll be able to play through the game over and over again, with your constantly improving abilities. It's an old school feature that's been rather absent this generation, but has been making its return in Arkham City, Demon's Souls, Bastion and now, The Darkness II.

The Darkness II will be available on February 7th.

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