(DS)

Game Review

Dementium II Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Andrew Wight

A demented good time

Dementium II, the sequel to 2007’s Dementium: The Ward, has many characteristics spawning from a mixture of the Resident Evil-style survivor horror sub-genre and a first-person shooter. You control your character in a first-person perspective through many creepy, unsettling locales, but it’s not your ordinary shooter: it has many elements that are seen in your typical Resident Evil or Silent Hill, and the result is mixed. It has a lot of neat technical upsides going for it but often stumbles along the short but challenging 4-hour campaign.

It definitely features a plethora of technical wonder on the Nintendo DS's ageing architecture, something that developer Renegade Kid seems to understand. Running at a brisk 60 frames per second, Dementium II pushes the boundaries of what the DS’s five-year-old technology can handle but that comes at a price: every piece of art, every texture and every enemy design is very generic. There aren’t many varying enemy types so you’ll likely get sick of killing the same bad guys over and over again.

While the visuals are a mix of great tech and bland art, the audio is simply too generic. While it’s doubtful someone would come into Dementium II looking for amazing sound design since the original was similar, it’s definitely an irritating mixture of repeating measures and low quality sound effects.

Luckily the high quality single player campaign is enough to keep you hooked. In fact, the unsettling, surreal and downright scary atmosphere is done tremendously well. Playing a deranged inmate locked in prison with no recollection of what’s going on, you find yourself shifting between alternate dimensions while attempting to uncover a mystery that becomes larger than your typical prison escape. Unfortunately Dementium II features hardly any narrative: you will likely never really know what’s happening, and this can ultimately mar your experience.

The gameplay experience is fun, though. You might not even care about the story or what’s happening; the atmosphere is impressively realised and the controls work particularly well. Like its predecessor you control your movement with the D-Pad (or the face buttons if you’re left handed) while looking and aiming is done completely with the stylus and touchscreen. This makes for some fidgety design choices, though: selecting your weapon or healing yourself is done by pressing different areas of the interface on the touch screen. You could potentially press one of these buttons accidentally while aiming or moving around, making for some troubling times. It’s also disappointing to mention that the game doesn’t feature a D-Pad + Button control style, with no alternative layout for those who don't like the touchscreen.

Dementium II’s campaign is a mixture of puzzle solving and monster slaying. It’s not just a first-person shooter, think of it more as a first-person brawler that feels extremely similar to a Resident Evil game. You will definitely shoot your fair share of bad guys, but your main attack style will be with a knife or hammer. This makes for some interesting combat against some pretty gruesomely designed enemies. Ammo is unsettlingly scarce so you’ll have to decide to use each weapon at the most opportune time.

Sadly the overall feature set is poor: the campaign is a mere four hours in length and can easily be finished in a few sittings. There’s a simple survival mode that unlocks after you beat the game but is, again, very generic: you’ll go through multiple environments where killing the set amount of enemies will unlock the door to a new area, with the idea to get as many kills as you possibly can. It’s not very fun, it features no additional weapons or gameplay elements, and has no online connectivity – no leaderboards, nothing.

For all its problems though, you’ll find yourself hooked. You will sit there sometimes for three hours at a time trying to inch yourself toward the conclusion, often suffering through the cramped hands and hurting wrists because the game is ultimately engaging.

Conclusion

Dementium II is a decent game with lots of interesting elements combined with a surprising amount of impressive technology, but sadly it just comes together in a very bland, uninspired way. The campaign at four hours long is short, but it’s definitely sweet. Renegade Kid made a great first step with the original Dementium, and Dementium II has enough interesting elements to give it a try.

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Game Trailer

The official teaser trailer for Dementium II, coming early 2010 from SouthPeak Games!

User Comments (22)

WaveWarlock

#1

WaveWarlock said:

I would of gave the original an 8/10. I definitly had a good time with it. The music really gave the game atmosphere in a dreary, depressing and eerie kind if way. The main problem I had with it was the terrible generic and confusing map, the hallways began to look all the same, it was frusturating and very difficult in spots mainly due to respawning enemies ect ect. I would of liked to see much more variety, different enivironments and more puzzles, along with Puzzles that were more unique regarding touch screen controls. On the flip side, the graphics were striking and fantastic, the touch screen controls were awesome, the Boss battles were good fun, it was intuitive, and overall the game just drew you in. And that ending....yeesh was it sad and mildly disturbing. Poor guy....

PS: The flying shrieking heads in the original freaked the hell out of me when I saw them for the first time. Not only are they fast and creepy looking, but their voice increasingly gets louder as the dash towards you. God I hate them.lol

YoshiSage

#3

YoshiSage said:

Never heard of Dementium, though I might or might not give this game a try...

Kaeobais

#5

Kaeobais said:

I can't help but feel that this series would do much better on a different platform.

zionich

#6

zionich said:

More or less it has been done on other platforms.

Enjoyed the first, but ya, I like getting more bang for my buck.

WaveWarlock

#7

WaveWarlock said:

Based on what I've played, aside from the Wii....First person shooter controls are fantastic on the DS, as far as Dementium goes. Give the game a try, I know I'm buying.

CanisWolfred

#9

CanisWolfred said:

@Shadx

I whole-heartedly agree. I think the series would be so much better on the PS2, Wii, or PC. The DS is just too restrictive for what they're trying to do.

WaveWarlock

#10

WaveWarlock said:

Dementium would definitly be better on the Wii that's for sure.
But it's nice to see it on the DS at least.

Ren

#11

Ren said:

first one was really boring and repetitive. A whole bunch of the same hall way linked together in a snaky pattern. Same blocky zombie in every room, that respawns every time you turn around (from being lost by seeing the same lockers over and over). if this one is anything like that one It really should start at about a 4 and go up based on basic things being fixed. People seem to give an automatic pass on first person DS games just because it seems like a difficult feat for that platform. doesn't make them any less sucky if you ask me.

Objection

#13

Objection said:

First one was a huge let-down The NA/US version was ridiculous in its difficulty and ultimately not worth the trouble.

Nintendoftw

#16

Nintendoftw said:

STOP complaining about FPS controsl on the DS, THEY ARE EXCELLENT. Much better than any mouse, maybe not motion controller, but MUCH better than a mouse.

theblackdragonAdmin

#17

theblackdragon said:

@Nintendoftw:
(a) 7 is not a bad score at all.
(b) there's more than one way to engineer an interface for an FPS on the DS; perhaps this one was more annoying than others.

WaveWarlock

#18

WaveWarlock said:

Weird, i found Dementiums controls to be fantastic. definitly better than mouse/keyboard and dual analog.

WaveWarlock

#21

WaveWarlock said:

Although DII practically improves on the first Dementium in every way, i still feel that that the original was more creepy, the stylus controls were more smooth and not as sensetive which not only made the game control better, but 'look' more impressive at the same time. Coupled by a compelling and eerie story with a great ending.

DII on the other hand improves on the originals horrible map, has a much better selection of weapons, you can now jump and crouch, although it may feel annoying to pull off at times, the enemy design has improved although still generic, there are more locations and the environments aren't repetitive as the first. But the ending was just awful....All of that work just for the game to abruptly end with a cheesy one note ending that gave us zero answers? Total BS I say!

Anyways, as great as it is to have this game running at 60fps, one can only think how much more impressive the environments and enemies would of looked if it were running at 30fps. Games on the original PSONE like Silent Hill and Resident Evil still have better looking enemies as far as art direction and originality goes, where as Dementium's fall on the generic side.

Undead_terror

#22

Undead_terror said:

i love the game,got both games on a birthday(the first one i know for sure),love the story and gameplay and even a survival mode thats nice but could of done better

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