“The Darkness 2”

Comic book fans were definitely interested when it was first announced that there would be a Darkness video game. The Darkness series features had become a hit with a sinful protagonist in mafia assassin Jackie Estacado, the wielder of the Darkness. The first Darkness game delivered a solid first-person shooter with a well put-together story.

This next game in the series will in some ways get closer to the title’s roots. Game texture designs will use a cel-shading technique and darker noir inspired style to be more aligned to the Darkness comic book art. The game, as well, shows a better control of Darkness powers with the new Quad-Wielding combat, which allows for the use of Darkness abilities at the same time players use guns.

The game will feature an increased sensitivity to light. In the first game Darkness powers could not be used when Estacado was in a well-lit area, however, to show the new connection, players will feel more uncomfortable in light, with exposure to light resulting in blurring of vision occupied with a high pitched ringing, making light a physical threat with a ‘light vs. darkness’ feel.

There is a positive side to this increase in interacting with the environment as now Jackie can use the environment for help and combat actions such as using objects as shields and pole objects to impale things. Unlike in the first game, players are able to use their weapons and Darkness abilities in public places. That will be even more fun as well as a new feature, a point system (‘Dark Essence’) that can be used to make purchases from a tree of abilities.

“Darkness 2” will be available Oct. 4 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

“Star Wars: The Old Republic”

Another franchise with a history outside of games is Star Wars. “Star Wars: The Old Republic” is an upcoming multiplayer online role-playing game based on the Star Wars universe. As part of the “Knights of the Old Republic” series, this story takes place over 3,500 years before the events in the Star Wars films and centers around a galaxy divided between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire.

There have been eight classes revealed, from Bounty Hunter to Imperial Agent to Jedi Consular. As characters become more seasoned, they can choose from two advanced classes or specialized careers which further define the role characters have, defining which skills are available to characters and access to various special abilities. Classes have completely different storylines which are separate yet all connected in the game’s overall story.

Choice is at the heart of “The Old Republic,” allowing players to explore many places they can take their characters – from taking the dark side to choosing unique combinations of fighting styles. Moral choices by players create branching storylines for them to take.

A major part of a player’s story will include companions. Companions are AI characters who complement a player’s strengths or weaknesses and will fight by his/her side, provide commentary, information and points of interest. Each class has a completely unique set of companions they will encounter throughout the game.

An interesting attribute of companions is they may try to influence your decisions and you, in turn, will influence them and change how they develop as the story progresses. Based on players’ choices, companions can become their closest friends, lovers or even betray them.

Ships also gain importance, as players will have missions that involve traveling in space as well as space battles. Starships also serve as players’ home bases where they can relay orders back to as they explore. The player can assign up to five companions to perform various skills from three main Crew Skills for your team to train in from among three main categories: gathering, crafting and mission skills. The mission skills allow the player’s companions to perform acts on the player’s behalf, gaining the player light or dark side influence as well as other rewards.

Players are not restricted to AI, however, as they can also join friends in guilds with various bonuses. Major challenges can also be taken on together with other players at flashpoints.

A release date has not been set for “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” but it will be available for Microsoft Windows.