We got some hands-on time with The Darkness II at PAX East earlier this year and came away with positive impressions on the game’s trademark quad-wielding and set pieces. Now, Digital Extremes‘ lead designer, Tom Galt, walks us through a little bit of the game, shedding more light on The Darkness II.

Galt shows off a firefight in which Jackie, the game’s protagonist and wielder of The Darkness, confronts members The Brotherhood of The Darkness. The brotherhood is a cult dedicated to capturing and stealing the powers of the Darkness from Jackie and this sequence plays out in an abandoned amusement park that takes stylistic cues from Coney Island. These guys prove to be a step up from the mobsters Jackie is so used to effortlessly tearing through, with specialized tactics, more aggressive AI, and even Darkness-enhanced armor.

The demo starts off with Jackie facing off against the basic recruits, but soon enough we are introduced to the Brotherhood melee specialist type. Bigger, better armored and itching to smash your skull into paste, the melee enemy type fills in the same kind of gameplay niche that Hunters fill in the Halo universe. Considering the lack of enemy diversity in the first game, the fact that The Darkness II will have at least 3 types (with more probably to be revealed), will be a major factor in making the game richer and more challenging.

The Darkness II also rewards gamers for their umm… creative brutality? Enemies drop little purple demon arm treats (Darkness Essence) when they’re killed, and the more sophisticated their destruction, the more Essence Jackie gains. The simple example: shoot an enemy a few times in the chest and get a little bit of essence, shoot him cleanly in the head and get a decent amount of esssence, grab him by the ankle and rip his spinal column out of his body, and you get a lot of Essence. License to be sadistic? I think so.

Speaking of sadism, nothing is quite as sadistic as the little demon companion that follows you around and does ungodly (but helpful) things to the enemies around you. The Darkling has been reimagined in this game and instead of having control over the Darklings, Jackie is now accompanied by (at least) one Darkling at all times, controlled by AI and programmed to help Jackie out in whatever way it can. This includes combat related things like distracting enemies and pulling them out of cover, to subtler things such as navigating levels.

The game footage looks sweet and the subtle changes to gameplay will help it stand out from the regular shooter fare when it releases. For those who haven’t played the first game, give it a run through. The Darkness II seems to be improving the gameplay in all the right ways, and if the story, voice acting and direction can live up to the original (which by all indications they are), then we’re looking at one of the best shooters of the year.

Unleash the mega-brutality this fall when The Darkness II releases on October 4th, 2011 for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Source: Game Trailers