The Darkness

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a game by Starbreeze Studios AB
Genre: Action
Platforms: XBox 360, Playstation 3
Editor Rating: 7.3/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 9.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: First Person Shooter Games
The Darkness
The Darkness
The Darkness
The Darkness

The Darkness is a brooding and macabre first-person shooter and action game that puts players in the shoes of a betrayed man hellbent on revenge. On the night of his 21st birthday, a scruffy ruffian named Jackie is attacked by his mob boss, triggering a tale of bloody vengeance. Armed with both traditional firearms and supernatural powers, Jackie must prowl the streets of New York City and tear apart his uncle's illicit businesses. With a slew of influences ranging from horror to film noir, The Darkness provides a captivating and gruesome adventure that is full of visceral entertainment.

Main Game Features

  • Eviscerate enemies in fierce FPS action
  • Open-ended gameplay progression
  • Wield devastating supernatural abilities


In The Darkness, you play as Jackie Estacado, a low-rung goon in the underground mob of New York City. On your 21st birthday, you and your small squad are sent to the Graves End Construction Site to execute a hit for your boss, Uncle Paulie. Things immediately go off the rails, as the gangsters are ambushed by police and armed workers. After realizing the whole operation is a setup orchestrated by Jackie's boss, he is caught off-guard by a hidden explosive and nearly killed. Luckily, the explosion awakens an inner evil known as the Darkness, granting Jackie demonic powers to wreak havoc on his foes. Now more powerful and enraged than ever before, Jackie sets out to eliminate Paulie. The narrative is well-paced and is guided by a narration by Jackie, adding an element of mystery to the storytelling. While the overarching themes and eventual conclusion are a bit predictable, it's still an engaging and interesting story.


Where The Darkness excels is in its vicious first-person combat that blends traditional shooter mechanics with a handful of really cool special abilities. At the beginning of the game, Jackie is only equipped with dual-wielded pistols, but soon gains his first Darkness ability. Combat is violent and brutal, with the ability to perform execution-style kill shots if you get close enough to enemies. There are a handful of Darkness abilities that are gained across the game, ranging in strength and purpose. For example, Jackie can spawn imp-like “darklings” to attack enemies, but they can also help solve environmental puzzles. A stealth-style ability called Creeping Dark lets you control a single tendril of Darkness, slinking through tight spaces and launching stealth attacks on unassuming enemies. If you're feeling especially destructive, you can also impale and destroy foes with your Darkness tentacles, sending them flying across the stage.

The game takes place in a few open-ended levels, ranging from the dingy streets of New York, to cemeteries and apartment complexes. To travel between areas, you can use the subway system, hopping a train for quick access to previous locales. In addition to the main story, you can also discover side-missions by talking with subway patrons, who provide some fun distractions. Collectibles are strewn about levels and awarded for side-mission completion as well, which unlock concept art and other bonus content. There are only a few downsides to the gameplay of the Darkness, which includes some buggy enemy AI, a lack of waypoints or objective markers, and slightly clunky controls.


The Darkness has a few flaws, mostly stemming from over-ambitious game design, but it's still a satisfying game through and through. The story strikes a great balance between heavy violence and classic mobster story fare, but adds a fun supernatural twist that makes it special.


Although the aiming can feel floaty at times, it's still entertaining to gun down enemies while making use of the impressive Darkness powers. The small mistakes are easily outbalanced by the strengths, making The Darkness a great shooting game with a lot of style.


  • Inventive powers that make combat exciting
  • The story is surprisingly gripping
  • Gameplay feels immersive


  • Movement is awkward at times
  • Bumbling enemy AI
  • Occasional glitches

Download The Darkness

XBox 360

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 3

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Chronicles of Riddick maker Starbreeze puts Vin Diesel on the sidelines to bring another bad boy to your console, the possessed mobster Jackie Estacado. The first-personshooting portions are merely standard fare, but it's Jackie's demonic side that'll grab ya. His powerful tentacles can toss vehicles as easily as foes, and if you're really in a jam, you can always call out some creepy helper darklings to saw off an enemy's head.

BOTTOM LINE: If Starbreeze can tighten up the controls, make this hit No. 2 for the developer. Expect a full review next issue.

Snapshots and Media

XBox 360 Screenshots

Playstation 3 Screenshots