Players can choose between four reasonably different characters: Inugami, Shoshanna, Jimmy Wilson, and JP Dumond (Note: just as fair warning, these characters are ridiculously stereotypical, borderline offensively so). These characters each have a unique weapon in their left hand as well as a unique darkness power pulled from one of Jackie’s skill trees in the single-player (e.g. Inugami has Jackie’s swarm ability). These characters are leveled up just like Jackie via essence in a shop. They each only have access to three different skill trees, one focusing on their special darkness power, another focusing on general gun abilities, and a third focusing on group utility and upgrades to their special left-hand weapons.
The cast of Vendettas. From left to right: JP Dumond, Jimmy Wilson, Shoshanna, Inugami
On paper, the gameplay sounds pretty good. But in actual play, the co-op campaign starts to feel pretty lacking pretty quickly. It’s great to be able to play the game with friends, but sad reality is that the co-op takes away two of the strongest draws of the game: the quad-wield system and the story. While the co-op characters do have some darkness powers, most of what makes the combat fresh in Darkness II is the ability to do things like gunning people down with two weapons in your hands whilst grabbing someone with a demon arm and throwing them at their buddy. Going back to a normal dual-wield system while playing the game just feels bland. Take away the story as well, and you’re left with something that feels pretty gosh darn repetitive. Run down some allies, kill some guys, blow out some generators do the light doesn’t slowly kill you (not to mention blind you), (Optional boss stage here), end of level. It’s not a terrible experience, but it’s just not something that I’d want to play over and over for weeks. On the bright side, there is none of that one player dying and being forced to watch their friends complete the mission without them nonsense (people get incapacitated and their friends get a generous 50 seconds to run over and revive them before they bleed out), and there’s a good amount of ammo to share around.
All in all, the vendettas co-op mode is a completely average experience, but it sometimes feels worse than that if you’re comparing it to the single-player campaign. It may provide some entertainment a couple times through with friends, but it’s hard to recommend picking up the game for the co-op. It will certainly add a little bang for your buck if you’re already planning on getting the game for the single-player, but if for some reason you’re eying it just for the sake of the co-op, I’d strongly recommend a rental or waiting for a severe price drop.
Editor's Note: The Co-Optimus Co-Op Review of the Darkness II was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: The Vendettas co-op mode is a separate story in which players can choose from four different characters and level them up in co-op play.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.