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Having Had Such high hopes for this game, it's a crushing disappointment to finally play it and discover it's so generic and dull. While the gimmick of verticality was never going to be anything more than "you go up levels instead of along them," and discovering this is true doesn't disappoint at all, it's souldestroying to find out Damnation's actual gameplay is a cobbled together mash-up of most console-led third-person action shooters. All the verticality really does is make it feel like a poor man's Prince of Persia.
The plot follows the adventures of Rourke, a man wearing what I believe to be an abnormal amount of eye shadow. His job, accompanied by a motley crew of dullards, is to defeat an evil guy called Prescott, sadly not modelled on our ex-Deputy Prime Minister. He does this in a steampunk version of the US Civil War, examining what might have happened had it continued for decades rather than a mere four years. The end result is what made the game looked compelling in all the previews and prerelease information we got our mitts on: a potentially intriguing action game in a unique setting.
Sadly, what we actually have is a sub-Geors of War action shooter with Prince of Persia platforming elements that just never feels as smooth or fluid as the latter game.
Most importantly, Damnation just never once felt fun to play. Combat is poor, with guns either being limp or wildly inaccurate. You can only carry three at a time and it seems that the majority of the weapons you could pick up had virtually no ammo and there was no real prospect of obtaining more. Because of this, you end up using the basic pistol and machine gun the whole time, which is just unsatisfying.
The list of problems with the game is too long for this review - boring characters; average-to-weak graphics; idiotic, irrelevant and ineffective comrades; a platform-leaping mechanic that just feels silly and tacked on, even though it is a core element of the game, and so on and so on.
Not once did I actually enjoy myself or think "Yeah, that was pretty good," except for when I dabbled quickly in the co-op mode. Damnation is deeply generic and boring, so it gets the sort of mark that it deserves.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP