The Darkness II is one of my most anticipated titles for next year for many reasons. Mainly it’s that I kick ass in it (and who doesn’t appreciate that?), but predominantly because Digital Extremes made this game accessible for just that kind of experience.

When you think about the kinds of journeys we typically undergo in the most popular of games, it all accumulates to some variation of achieving triumph. For The Darkness II, although much of that is attributed to quests and the storyline, the sensation of triumph also owes itself to the pace of the gameplay. Being possessed by the darkness has its advantages, and you certainly wouldn’t expect those advantages to be anything less than extraordinary. Namely, when playing the single player campaign as Jackie Estacado, that involves tearing through enemies with massive, feisty demon arms. But in the recently revealed Vendettas co-op campaign, that similar experience can involve a number of different characters and their matching abilities.

The characters run the gamut from having mystical, dark pasts to hardcore military experience. While Inugami (my selection) runs rampant with his samurai sword called Kusanagi, you might be more inclined to choose Shoshanna for her Gun Channeling darkness powers. Jimmy Wilson is a Scott that has a fondness for a good drink. In fact, he’s drunk literally all the time. Even his darkness ability is humorous: control over the Darklings, who he endearingly calls “Little Jimmys.” Finally, Doctor J.P. DuMond is yet another character that can be played in the co-op Vendettas mode, whose fairly demonic-reliant attempts at helping those in need provided him with the ability to create Black Holes that attack enemies. Take a look at the first released co-op trailer we’ve posted above for a peak at these characters.

Playing with my fabulously adept co-op partner, Alex Navarro from Giant Bomb, we wreaked havoc through the gritty streets of what felt like side missions to the main storyline. You’re essentially filling in gaps in the storyline, says Sheldon Carter, Creative Director on the project. Those times where certain parts of your missions felt more smoothly organized than usual probably entailed a side hustle by the darkness crew. The collaboration of the side quests and main storyline are, as far as we are told but have yet to experience, seamless.

While Vendettas will see your choice character fulfilling what are essentially bitch missions, you’ll still be savagely slicing and shooting through your enemies at a frightful pace, either with pickaxes, samurai swords, and/or the more traditional first-person shooter weaponry (namely, lots and lots of guns).

We proceeded to beast through the strictly-human enemies, smashing out lights where needed to maintain our darkness powers. The best thing about the dual-wielding (and quad-wielding if you’re Jackie) in The Darkness II is the ease with which you can empty a clip in several enemies and then smoothly transition into a run-and-slice effort against the remaining ones. Speed-killing our enemies became the number one objective. It was a race between Alex and I as to who would reach the next suited-up baddy who dared to defend themselves against us. Although much of the context of the missions were often lost in this greedy and violent quest we had set for ourselves, the fun in playing the game was simply transferred to our lust for blood.

On achieving our mission - which, surprisingly did not just involve mutilating our foes and consuming their hearts for health (and fun) - we entered a mini-horde mode where crazed enemies violently attacked us while the screen pulsated and turned bright red. It’s another short burst of adrenaline, in which speed attacking our enemies seemed the best and most fun route. Although, these fiends were more apt to run at you menacingly, as demons of the dark are wont to do.

Our time spent with The Darkness II was a good sneak peak at the other playable characters, and to how exactly co-operative the multiplayer experience turned out to be. At least if you’re a team as solid as my partner and I, you can easily trade tasks between shooting out lights from afar while your companion takes care of the enemies rushing at you. We gladly welcome co-op into the ranks of the cel-shaded, comic book inspired The Darkness II for more opportunities to show off our skills with multiple weapons and (sometimes) arms.

You can look for the game to release on February 7th, for the 360, PS3, and PC.