Gaming Previews: The Darkness II and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Now with even more darkness
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Now with even more darkness
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The Darkness II Preview

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What’s it about?

The Darkness was originally a comic book before making the jump to video games and it’s always stayed very true to its heritage in that respect. In case you haven’t played the original, The Darkness itself is an entity that possesses our anti-hero, Jackie Estacado. Jackie also happens to be neck deep in the mob. Despite Jackie’s good intentions, it’s not easy for a mob-connected super being to keep his powers to himself. So he doesn’t…and we’re glad.

How does it look?

It’s the game’s style that solidifies the melding of comic and video game here. But this game isn’t called Rainbows and Sunlight for a reason. Environments scream out comic noir and dim lighting is the norm throughout. We’re fans of the style but the actual graphics fall short of 2012 expectations.

Is it any good?

Putting the graphics aside, the story is more compelling than 90% of the games out there and that’s what will make fans of the original come back. Beyond the advancement of the excellent plot, new abilities - like being able to wield the Darkness while firing guns - add a layer of depth to the gameplay and make Jackie an even more deadly foe.

Also included this time around is four player co-op mode where you and friends can jump into a game of voodoo shoot ‘em up, advancing through levels and using each character’s unique Darkness abilities to team up for some seriously badass carnage.

If I like this, what else will I like?

The Darkness, Dark Souls, Operation: Get Behind the Darkies

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Preview

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What’s it about?

It’s tough to ignore the celebrities surrounding Kingdoms of Amalur (it’s being made in part by Todd “Remember Spawn?” McFarlane and Curt “I was on the Red Sox, please don’t hate me” Schilling). This new RPG is taking advantage of the role playing kick that everyone’s been on since pounding out a few hundred hours of Skyrim. Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning starts you out as a corpse among corpses and, since that’s pretty much the bottom of any barrel that’s ever existed, the game only gets better from there.

If you played an RPG before, you can guess where this is going.

How does it look?

Reports of glitches are currently getting thrown around on the internets but this is a preview and we won’t knock off points for that. Graphically, we were a little disappointed with the ho hum nature of the world that yielded a very meh visual experience. What the game lacks in environment-ingenuity, it makes up for in character modeling, creating a style that’s reminiscent of the hellish world of Spawn but doing so without feeling like a lazy ripoff.

Is it any good?

While it probably won’t make any converts of people who don’t play RPGs, fans of the category are going to be happy to have a Skyrim alternative to help them wade through the post-holiday malaise. We’ll reserve proper judgment for our review when the game drops on February 7th but, at first glance, what you’re getting with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a core RPG experience that will help you branch out to stories beyond the Elder Scrolls or Fables. If you care to make the jump, then KoA might be a good landing zone. If you’d rather be a bald space marine, sadly this isn’t for you. Too bad there aren’t any games like that. [sigh]

If I like this, what else will I like?

Fable 3, Skyrim, sharing a donut with Curt