There comes from time to time games which lay low in the flurry of big game media and promotions. Some slip through the medias radar until release, and some like Damnation reveal very little about the game, but what they do give out is promising and leading. Damnation was exactly the kind of game which fed us small but impressive shots and videos, but upon release was it as good as we were hoping?
Damnation follows the story of Hamilton Rouke, in his mission to bring down a military complex, Prescott Standard Industries that plans to restore order to a Civil War torn America by crushing anyone who stands in their way, the tyrannous company have no real means of bringing true order, but something of their own…
There alone, is as about as much of the story as you’ll follow as sadly, not only is it predictable and done before, but poorly told as you’re instantly thrown into the middle of it, as if you’re expected to know what’s really going on. Sometimes, this technique works, however when done in ways as such as you only just know what the deal is and not much about anything else, you instantly don’t care for the characters issues or what as a group their trying to achieve. What IS interesting is the setting the game is put in. Rather than a WW2 or futuristic setting, were ‘Steampunk’ is the general era, where steam powered machines are a major source of power yet there’s still a hint of advanced power behind a lot of the creations in the game.
When first playing, you’ll instantly recognise a familiar sight that is Gears of War. The game does use the Unreal engine and perhaps does lean from the Gears tree a little too much, mainly in visuals, weapon selection screens and other things including HUD screens and the way the screen would pan out and around a new area which you’d have to sit through every time.
The game, whilst closely resembling that of Gears is one of the first few Third person shooters I’ve played which doesn’t include a cover system, which in its own way is good, it’s not a complete Gears rip, and it makes a change.
What IS good about the gameplay is that gun-play can be seamlessly entwined with running around and throwing yourself like a lunatic, at one time I can be sniping my enemies from a rooftop, then throw myself through a window, grab hold of a flag pole and hang off the side of it whilst shooting the remaining enemies. Its this kind of run and jump off things and shoot people which makes the game fun and playable, not to mention creative in how you kill your enemies.
The climbing and usage of the environment isn’t far from that of Assassins Creed, yet more implemented in the game. It would be wrong to say that Damnation is JUST a shooter. As gunfights are just a third of what this game is split into. Whilst gunning your way through the crowds is a big part, the adventure side is also a key point, where gunfights are often broken up by the use of adventurous areas in which you must use your acrobatic skills to find your way out or through a certain area.
Bikes also play a large role in the game as bridging the gap between areas further away than normal. Whilst it’s rather strange there would be such kind of vehicle lying around just when you need it, the bike sections are very tacky and not really necessary as each section usually consists of drive, boost, run over a few enemies, jump with your boost and then ride along a wall. The whole driving feels plastic and rather unpolished. Thankfully these sections are over quickly, and your soon back to running and jumping around, like the nutter you are.
The game does come complete with Co-op. If you can find a friend to play through it with you, then brilliant. If not, your really not that hard done by with the game due to the fact the game isn’t terribly difficult. Enemies can be overwhelming at times but never outsmarting. The enemies are quick to move but like you cannot take obvious cover and will often stop to shoot or just stop to…actually I’m not that 100% why they do stop at certain times, but its great if you’re a rookie sniper or are trying to catch that last guy. The larger robot enemies are also a pain but for the wrong reasons. Due to some of the designs of the indoors areas, I often found my running and jumping around almost confused the enemies causing them to get stuck on the environment whilst trying to get to me. Whilst this is an easy win to progress to the next area, it’s still a bit of a hollow victory.
As mentioned before, here are where a lot of Gears resemblances are made, the game in no way is the best of looking games such as Gears 2 or even Gears 1, but its still in no way the worst of lookers. The game is still happily playable even if you may find yourself cringing at the repetitive skinned enemies and those driving sequences.
The games story isn’t the longest of games, yet there is a online multiplayer, a co-op for the campaign and of course, whilst the game isn’t the greatest, its still a little bit of fun if you can buy it on the cheap, its great in small doses, the story requires little to no effort attention wise, depending on if the game catches you in the first level.
Sadly, with the games lack of promotion to begin with, my curiosity got the best of me here, and whilst I was hoping for a fantastic game to enjoy, I still got something I’d come to every so often and have a blast with the free running shooter. Even if it’s only till the next new Third person shooter comes out, if you see it on the cheap and you’re waiting out for your next favourite release, give it a go.
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