The VPH Review: The Darkness II On The Edge of Town

This is what boredom & an unlimited video game rental policy gets you: it gets you to play The Darkness II. At least that’s what I thought as I shuffled home, hands shoved in pockets & kicking cans.  “Stupid…Darkness II…razzemfrazzem.”

That was all before I got home and fired the game up.  Whoa. I take back all of my Charlie Brown-esque dejection about renting this game. Even though it only took me about eight hours to finish, those were a cool-ass eight hours! Took me around 8 hours to complete Darkness II and I’m glad I played it.  Was it a game I’d go back to later?  Probably not, but definitely fun enough that you can probably pick it up some weekend you’ve got nothing going on.  Watch some terrible documentary on Netflix or tear mobsters apart with Darkness demons from Hell? Real tough choice…

The visuals were comical and different, which is always really appreciated.  Nice to see 2K Games got out of the box a bit for a non-run of the mill gaming experience. I wasn’t real keen on the cut scenes though; they didn’t seem to add anything and luckily they let you skip them because I really wasn’t interested.  They just didn’t seem to advance the story too much.  What did  enhance the story in my oh-so-humble opinion was the monkey that you can throw.  Always a bonus!  Would you like to buy a monkey?

Bottom line: Does the Darkness II set the world on fire? Was it a land mark video gaming event?  No, but it was never intended to.  It’s a pass-able comic book property that’s been adapted to video games and it’s a fun, bloody, messy, quick experience. Like your birth, just waaaaay cheaper (like that last joke).

–VPH OUT

The VPH Review: Starhawk (Warhawk…IN….SPAAAAAAAAACE)

ANOTHER mech?Starhawk is a pretty fun game if you’re the kind of person that enjoyed Command & Conquer: Red Alert.  It doesn’t come close to the depth and strategy that C&C embodies, but for a PS3 RTS  Starhawk is a reminder of just how fun games of this ilk are. The only other recent PS3 game I can think of that resembles Starhawk is Brutal Legend.  Brutal Legend was more of a more enjoyable game though because the characters, the story and the hilarious setting really pulled me in. Though considering that Meat Loaf’ s Bat Out of Hell is one of my favorite albums it’s pretty easy to understand my attraction to Brutal Legend.

Starhawk served its purpose for me as a game simply because it was different from what I’ve played for the last six  months: Modern Warfare 3, random sports titles and Skyrim. I picked this game up without knowing much about it, having never played (ed.note: the very excellent) Warhawk. I was pleasantly surprised. The story wasn’t something I could get invested in because it was somewhat bland and formulaic but the gameplay itself I found enjoyable for the 8-10 hours it took to finish. I loved the idea of building defensive structures to stop waves of enemies and the building of offensive units to crush your opponents. Sadly, the single player only touches the surface of the various building possibilities. You’re not going to need to craft more than one of anything as once you do the combat itself is pretty much over. I would have liked to see more of a “castle defense” -esque mode, where you’re constantly building, defending and attacking against waves of enemies.

In my opinion, Starhawk is a nice change of pace for someone who’s been slogging through CoD, Skyrim or Street Fighter X Tekken for the past few months and would instead  like to collaborate with groups of people to build & defend structures then jump in a crazy mech, transform into a jet & fly around the unfriendly skies.