Game Review: Damnation
Release: May 26, 2009
Genre: Sci-Fi Shooter
Developer: Blue Omega
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PC and Playstation 3
Players: 1-2, (1-8 online)
ESRB Rating: Mature
It’s a steampunk version of Tomb Raider with bad gunplay.
The steampunk design is one of the things that stands out in this game, because although at some points in the levels it can get very boring and repetitive, the design and charm that the steampunk brings to the game wants you to carry on with the game. But that’s about it.
For starters. The gunplay in this game is BAD. Not just Bionic Commando bad. Even worse. And because of this, some parts of the game can get very annoying if you get charged by tons of enemies and have to shoot at them like shooting a needle at a mosquito. And because the AI is so bad, they jitter around so fast that you can’t really get any kind of shot in their direction.
Before I start complaining, how about I explain the game to you first. You play an outlaw called Hamilton Rourke and you are in a weird 19th century gang that likes to fight any kind of authority. Your enemy is Prescott, a typical rich guy that sits back in his chair and sends evil robots at you (yes, evil robots). The settings are many wooden towns on the outskirts of the big city, but then every so often you will be hit by a giant building or mountain that you have to find your way up. You will like the atmosphere that some of the game gives you, such as when you are walking around the town trying to make your way to Prescott. His voice blaring out of the loudspeaker telling everyone to follow his regime, similar to Half Life 2.
There are 3 things to do in this game. Shoot, Jump and then every so often you will be able to ride (an awesome looking) steampunk motorbike, that can somehow ride upside-down on the roof of caves. The storyline does have some interesting parts in it, but it can be expected what is going to happen. And even though the game features some cutscenes. Some are in-engine and some aren’t. The rendered cutscenes are beautiful as expected. But the graphics in the game in general aren’t very good. So the in-game cutscenes are just as bad.
The jumping and the scaling of the walls in this game are a mix between Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell, in which you have to make your way up ledges, jump to ropes, and then maybe do a couple of swings on a bar to jump to the next rooftop. Even though it is very repetitive and each section seems to have a shooting and then climbing section, it can be quite rewarding when you have finally made your way to the tower at the end of the game to kill Prescott. Occasionally you will get a puzzle section. Some are easy, but one in particular is terrible, in which you have to get 2 gears working by moving statues to be in a certain place so water goes from one to another and then eventually spins the gear. But it sucks, one fall and you have to spend 10 minutes getting back to the top.
The way that you make your way to the next level is in a Mass Effect style lift sequence, it was annoying in Mass Effect and it’s annoying now. Especially because you can’t even move around in the lift, or see out the side. It’s just plenty of one minute rides in a giant boring wooden box.
Shooting in the game is fairly powerful providing that you can be accurate enough. You can get some powerful weapons like the Sniper Rifle and the steam powered gun. But the ammo in these are so limited that you have to save them for a bad situation and you mainly just use your pistol for most of the game. The driving sections are awesome (some people disagree) but i think that even though it is simple, it is really good to be jumping across chasms in a rocket boosted 3-wheeled motorbike. Don’t even get me started on the framerate, having 3 or 4 enemies on the screen seems to slow down the framerate and it doesn’t go back up even after you’ve killed them. And the sounds that the characters make, and the guns are just as bad.
Oh and the Multiplayer. Don’t expect a match when there aren’t any people on the game. I didn’t even get into one match, and this is an even bigger problem with the Xbox 360 version because most of the games achievements are for Multiplayer.
Krazys Final Say: The Jumping and Biking sections can’t make up for the fact that the game is repetitive, boring and could of been something better if the shooting had been improved and the levels were a little more creative.