The Darkness is a game with a good atmosphere, accomplished moments of tension and creepiness and a few problems.
First of all, there are a lot of loading times. You have to take the subway to go to the different locations, to do the missions and every time there's a loading screen. The developer tried to mask this by putting in little monologues by Jackie Estacado, the main character, to advance the story but all these loads get old really fast.
Another problem is the fact that Jackie can't run. This is very annoying, not only during the combat sequences but also as you walk through the streets, slowly, just to get to your destination. There's also no map. You have to watch the street signs and try to find the way. At the start of the game this is very disorienting.
The game is in essence a FPS with a revenge story. Jackie Estacado is a hitman for his uncle, a Mafia boss. On his 21st birthday Jackie not only finds out his uncle Paulie wants him dead, he also gets a visit from the darkness, a demon of sorts, who's origin is never really explained, that needs a host and has haunted the Estacado family for generations. The darkness gives Jackie some powers, like a demon arm which can impale enemies or pick up cars and throw them, two darkness guns, a black hole which sucks enemies into hell and "creeping dark". Creeping Dark sends one of the snakes that accompany you through the game, slithering away to do stealth kills, open doors, go through small openings, etc. Some of these powers are useful, some aren't. Creeping Dark is hard to control as is the demon arm. The Darkness guns are ok but not very powerful and you never lack ammo for the other weapons, so not much use for them. The black hole is the biggest power and is so strong it almost feels like a cheat at times. All these powers feed on the dark which brings us to another problem. You have to shoot out all the lights in the game. For a game called The Darkness, there's a lot of light, everywhere and you'll spend a lot of time just shooting it, again and again to be able to use your powers. Very dull. You could use a light killer darkling to do it but his AI is simply awful. Darklings are little creatures you can summon to kill enemies with guns or bombs or many other ways but their AI is so bad they're also close to useless. Jackie is also surprisingly weak. The beginning is the hardest part of the whole game. You don't have any powers yet and Jackie dies with two or three shots. Very frustrating. The weapons, all of them, also feel very weak. You don't get any thrill with shooting them, they just don't feel powerful.
The game does have some very entertaining moments. Two chapters are spent in a place resembling hell, where you fight zombie Nazis and it's creepy and exciting. The story is well written and the voice acting is superb. There's plenty of violence and mayhem. To make your powers stronger you order one of those snakes to eat the hearts of the dead enemies and it's cool and disturbing at the same time. There's something you don't see everyday. There are also execution moves, when you get close to an enemy. Jackie among other executions can for example shoot him right in the face and blow his head off. It's just nasty and very cool too. A shame you can't do it often because Jackie... yeah he dies easily.
Even so, the game is not hard and you won't have a hard time going through it. I took about 8 hours to unlock most things and finish it on normal. The multiplayer is dead so single player is all you get.
The Darkness is fun. The open world experience fails, there's no cars, almost no people on the street and a map is sorely missing but the graphics are very good and everything is seedy and or macabre. The atmosphere is perfect. There's always a feeling of unease and creepiness. The gore and carnage is amazing.
Still, I get the idea that with a little more work and some tweaks this could have been an amazing game. This way, it's a good game which fans of the genre shouldn't miss.