"The Darkness II" Demo Showcases Quad-Wielding Abilities and Mysterious Stranger

Jackie Estacado's about to take a trip back into Hell -- and the Darkness is ready to drag him back there. Next month, 2K Games releases "The Darkness II," the long-awaited sequel to the original 2007 game based on Marc Silvestri's hit Top Cow comic. Now, 2K Games has released a free action-packed playable demo exclusively for Xbox Live Gold members with a public demo available for Free Xbox Live and PlayStation Network users next week.

The demo is essentially the same as the three-part preview showcased at last year's Comic-Con International at San Diego. The first scene sees players take control of Jackie as he fights to survive an ambush in a restaurant against several rivals. The second introduces the powers of the Darkness as Jackie fights more thugs in a back alley while introducing players to the new "quad-wielding" control scheme. Finally, players maneuver through the subway -- alongside a British-clad Darkling -- using the Darkness limbs to fend off even more thugs before coming face-to-face with an image from Jackie's past: his slain girlfriend, Jenny. All three stages circle around a mysterious stranger who wants the power of the Darkness for himself -- and is willing to threaten remaining members of Jackie's family to get it.

Although short, the demo really gives players a great idea of what to expect from the game's new quad-wielding control scheme which allows players to grip two weapons in Jackie's human hands and command his demon limbs to attack enemies and grab objects. Jackie can use sign posts and launch them like spears, impaling foes; obtain car doors as shields while shooting through the windows; and -- perhaps the sickest pleasure of all -- snag and tear apart enemies in a number of creative and gruesome ways. (Our personal favorite? The wishbone - and you can guess what that implies.)

The "Darkness II" demo also gives players a taste of the abilities they'll be able to purchase in the final game, such as being able to devour hearts (which keeps the Darkness from losing its power) and gaining new combat power-ups.

"The Darkness II" hits stores on February 7 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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