A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game doesn't have any positive messages whatsoever. The game is extremely violent, bloody, and gory; there's sexual activity to be seen and heard while in a brothel (though no nudity); and dialogue sequences have very strong profanity and refer to illegal narcotics, too.
Positive Role Models
Aside from the fact the main hero, Jackie Estacado, sometimes kills demonic creatures -- which some might consider a "positive" action -- he is a mafia boss who kills many hundreds of people and beasts throughout the game, be it with guns, swords, or axes or with his supernatural powers called the Darkness (including tentacle-like Demon Arms to impale enemies and perform other execution moves). Innocent bystanders can also be killed if too close to the battles.
Ease of Play
The game isn't too difficult to play -- even if the gamer hasn't played the first The Darkness. It employs familiar first-person mechanics and a couple of other controls explained near the start of the game.
Violence & Scariness
THE DARKNESS II is an extremely violent first-person shooter that fuses traditional weaponry -- such as rifles, pistols, and swords -- with the unique supernatural ability to kill enemies with Demon Arms that can tear someone apart. Blood and gore is seen often, sometimes with dramatic finishing moves, plus enemies scream in pain. As the protagonist Jackie, players can also collect human hearts with his Demon Arms, remove spines, and decapitate people and creatures.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
While there is no nudity, sexual acts can be seen and heard. Specifically, in one scene Jackie enters a brothel and sees a woman performing fellatio on a man (with the head bobbing up and down) and sexual intercourse with a man behind a kneeling woman. Gamers will hear moaning sounds.
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The game has very strong profanity, including words like "f--k," c--t," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and "hell." It can be heard between non-interactive cinematic cut-scenes as well as during dialogue sequences and combat.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are a couple of dialogue references to alcohol and drug use. One line says something to the effect of "...was too busy snorting coke off a hooker's a-s..."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Darkness II is an extremely violent game, heavily focused on killing humans and creatures using traditional weapons and supernatural abilities, including using your Demon Arms to graphically execute those who stand in your way. Blood and gore can be seen throughout the game, including body dismemberment, impaling, beheading, and ripping someone's spine out. The game also shows sexual acts performed (though with no nudity), contains drug references, and players can hear very strong profanity.
Is It Any Good?
For the most part, The Darkness II is a good action game if you're into these kinds of gory shooters. While the game has its issues -- the solo campaign can be completed in only a few hours and the levels can be quite linear so you feel like you're kept on a tight leash -- it still can be quite fun to wield ridiculous powers and see what you're able to do with it all. Plus, you're able to upgrade your abilities over time and do things like summon a swarm of bees or create a black hole to suck enemies into. THE DARKNESS II is a fun and frantic B-grade game that's not quite worth the $60 (or $50 for the PC version) -- unless you loved the original and appreciate the Demon Arms game mechanic. Again, be aware of its mature content; if you can, try before you buy at a video game store or friend's house to see if this violent, gory, sexual, and profanity-laden sequel is for you.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.