So I know I’m not the only one out there who always thought that a mental ward would be a cool place to visit. Play in the padded rooms, or horse around with the electro therapy machines. It would be a blast, wouldn’t it? Let me tell you this, after seeing the inside of the Bright Dawn Treatment Center and how things worked and went along in there… I think I’m going to have to pass. Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure playing through SouthPeak Games newest release Dementium II, a follow up to their 2007 hit Dementium: The Ward. The latest patient of developer Renegade Kid, this survival horror has fun toying with your mind while you try to survive an onslaught of abominations and demented creatures. Now if you dont know much about the game I suggest you go check out the game site HERE. Just so you can get an idea for what kind of game this really is. It’s just beyond words how awesome it is. So get that straight jacket buckled up tight and grab your flashlight.. Though I haven’t worked out how your gonna hold it yet… Cause it’s gonna get dark and crazy man!
Dementium IIpicks up right where the first one left off. From the start of the game I am introduced to the main character, William Redmoor. As we are being carted down a hall to my cell I overhear the doctor telling me that I did so well in the first phase of my treatment that I got to continue on to phase two. Yay me! After being dropped off in my cell I find a postcard. Aww.. mail for the crazies? How sweet! Wait… it’s from.. me? Interesting.
After getting the gist of the controls, I was able to make it out of my cell into the nice white halls of the treatment center. Only to have the world around me warp into some demonic dungeon of doom! With mutilated bodies chained to the walls and walking abominations trying to kill me. It got pretty intense pretty quick. Following a bit more exploration and fisticuffs I wandered into an operation observation room. Looks like some serious surgery going on there too… Here I am informed that the surgeries and procedures I went through seemed to have let whatever was in my head out and now everything is just going crazy. After taking on a large mouthed wall climber thing I set out on a journey to regain my sanity escape Bright Dawn and find my special someone who has been taken. Its all great fun!
The control scheme for DII were very easy to pick up. If any of you are familiar with the Metroid Prime Hunters title then you already know the basics. All the action takes place on the top screen while the bottom screen lets you control everything, from looking around to equipping items. Sliding your stylus around the bottom screen allows William to look around and aim his weapon if you have one equipped. Your movement is controlled by the d-pad or for you lefty’s out there the four buttons and to beat up those baddies? The L or R button is what you want.
As far as equipping items and using health pills that’s all done by hitting the menu button and the bottom screen and sliding over what you want. Need to reload that shotgun? Or turn on your flashlight quick? Again just tap the screen on the items picture and you are good to go. When it comes to using those weapons though its very simple. Walk up to enemy, hit enemy a few times, enemy falls down, you run back a few steps enemy gets up and comes back at you. You basically just rinse and repeat this until the thing stops getting up. Some weapons take a few shots to down a monster, like the shank, while the sledgehammer puts them on their ass in one blow. Sure different monsters have different attacks and methods for killing but the same sequence of hit and knock down run away and hit and knock down it what you will be doing all the time. Luckily the game keeps you very interested so the killing doesn’t seem like much of a chore at all.
The game has a great horror element to it as well. You get the feeling that the guys behind the scenes truly wanted to deliver terrifying experience that one wont soon forget. The use of such foreboding sounds and eerie music, and the old 80 horror movie settings just suck you in and really get you into the whole experience. Though I will tell you this now, to fully enjoy all the sound and music you have to play with headphones, there are small nuances and sounds that just don’t come through as well on the DS speakers. Playing in a dark room isn’t that bad either… but I don’t want you to stress yourself too much the first time through. Remember, baby steps. The musical cues you get as monsters near if very reminiscent of the famous shower murder film scene, also you will know if a building is clear if you can no longer hear the enemies lurking about. Its a dead giveaway that the room isn’t empty if you hear something shambling about inside. The horror ambiance pulls you in and the graphics and gameplay keep you there to the very end.
As we move alone I am obligated to tell you that no game is made perfectly and Dementium II is no exception to that rule. So while there are only a few I did have some gripes with the game during my playtime. One of the things that I mentioned before was the fighting, Yes you have your guns and knives but you feel like there could have been more. Shooting and stabbing are always a good time in my book. It just feels like it was something that could have been more fleshed out. Give me a few different attack options with my shiv. A stab to go with the slice. Let me hit an enemy in the gut with my sledge hammer to stun him while I run. Things like that. The other problem I had was with the menu screen and equipping weapons (and this one was really minor). When you press the menu button on the bottom screen it brings up the menu, duh. But as soon as you lift your stylus is goes back to the map screen. So you have to keep your stylus pressed on the screen and drag over to the item you want to use or weapon you wish to equip. Like I said this is a minor issue but I found it a bit annoying. I would need some health pills and hit the menu button and lift to tap the pills only to find I’m tapping the map screen for no reason. Now remember when I said when you go into a building you hear the monsters walking around? Well that’s nice but a problem I found there was that some of the places are kinda big and, well, some enemies are kind of small. So until you find that last creature in a house you are going to keep hearing that noise as if you were right next to them. No matter where there are in the house you always hear an enemy like its right next to you. So you can imagine how annoyed I was when I couldn’t find a tiny work monster in a 4 story hotel building..
But all gripes aside the game delivered everything I expected. It was a great story and it was given to me well. The pacing never seemed rushed or even too slow for that matter. I liked having to find certain weapons to access certain areas and not having all those areas be necessary to go into, some just having spare ammo and nothing else.
For those of you who like a challenge the game offers three levels of difficulty from easy to crazy, so its fun for all you players. Once you beat the game there may not be too much reason to go back and do it again, but a survival mode will test your wits against wave after wave if that’s what you dig. I cant say I’ve had a reason to pick up my DS in a while but Dementium II gave me a great reason to pick it back up and I think you would do well to grab up a copy of this well crafted game.
Up for a chat hmm? shoot me an email at JynX [at] roboawesome.com I miss you guys soo much……
|Pros||Some genuine scares, great music and ambiance, enjoyable gameplay|
|Cons||Not much replay appeal, Simplistic fights, Menu access may be a bit bothering|
|Verdict||A great game. A must pick up for the DS|