The Darkness 2 co-op 'Vendettas' mode announced

By Andrew Yoon, Dec 06, 2011 6:45am PST

In this day and age, every first-person shooter needs an online multiplayer mode--they don't necessarily have to be competitive, though. The Darkness II will have reason for an online pass via a newly-announced cooperative mode called "Vendettas." This four-player online adventure is described as a "dark comedy" that runs in parallel to the single player story. While you won't assume control of Jackie and The Darkness, you will be able to play as one of four cohorts--"enemies of your enemies"--created specifically for Digital Extreme's game.

I was offered a hands-on demo in NYC recently. At first, I was dismayed to see such blatant stereotyping in the character-select screen. These characters aren't part of the comic book series that inspires the game; rather, the developers decided to create their own characters to ensure lively cooperative gameplay. Each of the four members of the team carries a Darkness relic, that endows them with a special ability. For example, Inugami, the stereotypical Japanese samurai, can use a sword to pierce through enemies.

Jimmy Wilson is an axe-wielding Scottish alcoholic--perfect for feeling like you're playing alongside Scrooge McDuck from Duck Tales. He's also hilarious.

Rounding out the rest of the cast is J.P. DuMond is a black voodoo-doctor from New Orleans, and Shoshanna, an ultra-devoted Israeli military operative.

The four offer color commentary and banter throughout the missions. Of course, there's some immature fun to be had listening in, as four caricatures that interact with each other are likely to clash in some way. These four also have additional Darkness powers, each replicating one of Jackie's abilities from the single player campaign. For example, Wilson can launch Darklings to attack/distract his enemies. DuMond can launch a black hole, while Inagumi can launch a swarm of Darkness at the Brotherhood.

While I appreciate the narrative extension offered by Vendettas, playing as these four characters wasn't nearly as interesting as controlling Jackie, especially given your limited power set. (Jackie has, essentially, all of the powers of the four characters combined. Plus demon arms.) The more lighthearted tone is an interesting contrast from the grim narrative of the single player campaign, but I found myself more compelled by Jackie's struggle.

From a gameplay perspective, I didn't feel like I was really cooperating at all in Vendettas. It felt perfectly okay to run around, as if we were four players were simply playing single-player simultaneously. The core gameplay is fun enough, but I don't think Vendettas is adding much to the table.

The Darkness II will be available on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on February 7.

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