The Darkness

Not for anyone under 17
Cameron Nutter - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Incredible violence, massive amounts of language. Player uses a dark power throughout the game. Some sexual and drug references.

This game was reviewed on the 360; the PS3 version might differ in quality, but not content.

Jackie Estacado’s family runs, or actually is, the Italian mafia. On his 21st birthday, his “uncle” Paulie puts a price on his head. On this day he also inherits a deadly curse: the power to control the darkness itself, which has been passed down since his grandfather’s days. Using the powers, he manages to escape the initial attackers sent by Paulie, but he doesn’t stop there. Paulie constantly sends his goons after Jackie to try to kill him. Jackie’s family members encourage him to take Paulie down, especially after Paulie takes drastic measures to hurt him by killing someone who he holds very dear. While fighting with and against The Darkness power and trying to find Paulie to make him pay for what he has done, Jackie has to fight a war on two fronts; one with a human being and another against a power much greater than himself.

The game is a first person shooter that adds the “darkness” power into the gameplay mix. The Darkness are snake-looking beings that float behind you and come out to play when summoned and sometimes on their own. They have multiple powers that are slowly unlocked throughout the game. This Darkness adds a very useful ability for the fights in the game, but towards the end the powers get so strong that it makes the game too easy. The game show you how powerful The Darkness is, and how evil an enemy and ally it becomes.

The Darkness is almost an open world game, as you can explore the city at your own pace, but you really only have one main mission and two, maybe three side missions going on at a time. Sometimes I got lost in the city, but in the subway there is a nice little voice that gives me direction when I need it. You won’t be lost for long.


The game got a Mature rating from the ESRB for strong language. And they weren’t lying. The game has countless amounts of the “F-bombs”, countless uses of Gods name in vain and many others. Every curse word in the book is used. I tried to count the cursing, and I was up to about thirty each when I lost the little paper I was counting on. There is no option to turn the cursing off, so I suggest that if you can’t handle that much cursing, or want to turn the volume off, stay away from this game.

The f-word is also used in a sexual context sometimes and there are some sexual comments made about the main character’s girlfriend. There is alsoΒ  mention of marijuana and a lot of characters smoke cigarettes.

The game also was rated Mature for strong violence and blood and gore. The player uses the cursed Darkness powers in the game which powers itself up by eating the hearts of humans. So when you kill someone by either shooting them or having The Darkness shoot a spear through their head, you press A and one of the darkling snakes sweep down and rip the heart right out of the dead enemy, and sit there and chew on it right in front of you, making crunching and slurping noises. Sometimes, the two little darklings that are beside you fight over the heart, tearing it up. You will be doing this over and over again. By the end of the game, I had eaten 302 hearts total.

Blood is abundant in everything you do in the game: you shoot someone, blood spurts everywhere; you eat a heart, blood goes everywhere. The entire game is a blood bath. And you can’t avoid it, because there is no way to turn the blood off and you have to kill people in the game to beat it.

Jackie is also killing for the wrong reason: revenge. They killed someone he loves, and he goes crazy to kill everyone that he can until this makes him feel better, but it never does. He is very negative during the entire game and doesn’t care what he has to do.

The Darkness has a brilliant story and amazing voice acting. It has some problems with graphic glitches and slowdown, but for the most part it is a decent looking game. The story really will blow you away and the sound effects were done very well, but it is extremely dark and gritty with language and violence out the wazzu. I can’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 17, as the ESRB suggests. If you can handle the content, you’ll find a very good story that will certainly make you think by the end.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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