Review: Dementium 2
William Redmoor just can’t seem to catch a break. Starring in the original title, “Dementium: The Ward”, the first game was the “First Phase” of his treatment which occurred during some brain surgery he was having. Under the influence he killed his daughter and staying in the twisted mental house of Bright Dawn, it seems the nightmares and twisted works of his mind are spilling out of his head and out into reality. The story while not super original or surprising does keep you interested throughout the adventure and is told in a way that keeps you on your toes.
However, the laments of poor William have conjured up some twisted images in his head; Or this place is really as twisted as William see’s. The monster selection is top notch, much of it seems original and you can tell the developers went all out on disturbing designs. Everything from pulsing flying cardiac-jellyfish to bleeding men who’s chests tear open to reveal a rib cage with rows of teeth. Much of the beasts and imagery in this game is deliciously twisted, Bright Dawn as well is pretty well designed, with some great artistic direction that really blends between the real and surreal, and support the twisted state William’s mind and Bright Dawn itself are in.
To support fantastic art direction though are some of the best graphics on the DS. Detail is put all over the game’s world, from blood spattered walls, objects lining shelves and tables, unique rooms and gadgets, and just all around polish. The sounds are also creepy and atmospheric, but may seem a bit limited by the DS’s speakers (if possible I would recommend using headphones), though a few music tracks may play a few more times than desired. There’s a few songs that you’ll have heard on loop several times before you finish the game.
Which leads into the biggest flaw of the game, repetition. Besides some looping music that tires on you, this game is a game that relies heavily on backtracking. They add more enemies and scares on the way back, but how many times you encounter a “Puzzle” which involved you finding a locked door and having to go around in circles and back through a stage looking for the key is a repetitive task done pretty repetitively. The worst offender is a locked door towards the end of a rather long stage where you press a switch and the key appears at the beginning of the stage, making you backtrack all the way to beginning of the stage then making your way back to the end of the stage. Boss encounters also last well past their welcome, taking long amounts of times to the point they get tedious. Luckily the bosses get more fun through the game and each one is better than the last, but your first boss literally will run from you and I found myself taking over 15 minutes to kill the thing not because it was challenging but because it wouldn’t stop running away and keeping up a non-changing attack pattern.
However, past backtracking and some repetition, there isn’t much to complain about the game. This game is one of the best FPS on the DS, if not the best. The controls and combat are fantastic. In fact, this game continuously will wow you with how good it controls. There are a few gripes with melee attacks sometimes missing to what feels like being unfair and occasionally you may jump when you didn’t want too by double tapping the DS Screen, but the FPS controls are fantastic, excellent maneuvering and a nice layout for switching weapons and items that feels completely natural. I would go as far on saying these are some of the best FPS shooter mechanics on the DS.
This game also is one of the darkest, most twisted games on the system. While it’s not crap-your-pants, piss-yourself scary (which I bring up only since the game advertised itself as such) it definitely is creepy, and has plenty of “WTF” moments littered throughout and some nice tension and things that will make you jump, which is an accomplishment for a handheld title, no less a title on the DS. If you have a spot in your heart for the dark and twisted, this game may very well satisfy your craving. Also those with a love for some psychological elements to their horror will find some in this title, though I would put it more on “Saw” psychological (with monsters) than Silent Hill Psychological.
The weapon selection is also ace. While not original you will have several types of gun and melee weapons from pistols, shotguns, sledgehammers, and knives and they all feel satisfying, with a good selection of enemies to keep you from feeling like you’re fighting the same thing over and over. However, to warn this game shouldn’t exactly be approached from an action horror game perspective. It actually has very limited ammo, making you conserve and decide when is the best moments to pull out your weapons, run, or melee. Melee can be difficult but sometimes needed when running doesn’t seem like an option and you’re trying to conserve those last few bullets.
The game also may suffer from being a bit short and fairly linear. There is a lot of backtracking, but when it comes down to it even with that the game isn’t too long, though maybe that works best for the handheld nature of the game. I found the game to be best in one or two hour bursts than in long gaming marathons, which suits very well for the handheld nature of the title. One last minor complaint is, on more than one occasion, I saw an enemy clip through the floor and then with half of it under the floor start attacking me at the waist, which while not annoying so much as odd, still is a complaint since I am sure the developers weren’t investing in phantom floors.
Still, if this at all sounds appealing to you it is definitely worth a shot. I would recommend this one to those who love the concept of handheld horror, those who want a good FPS on their DS, or just want to expand their DS library with a darker more twisted title. The games flaws are mostly overshadowed by all the game does right, and what it does right it does amazingly right. If you played and liked the first title, this game improves over a lot of issues the original has. But you don’t need to play the first title to enjoy this one, in fact some could say that adds to the freshness of such a game being on the DS.
Overall: 7.8/10 Good game with some amazing elements but suffers some from Repetition and a few minor issues