|System: PC, PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blue Omega||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Luckily, the platforming and climbing in Damnation work better than the shooting, but they feel just about as interesting. Each area in the game begins with a camera pan of roughly where you need to go to reach the next area. Unfortunately, since every area is so large, takes so long to traverse, and everything in them looks so incredibly similar, it can often be difficult to have any idea where you are going.
Players will need to keep their eyes open for bright orange ledges, ropes, chains, windows, ladders, and the other rebels who travel with you in the levels to desperately try to figure out where to go. The actual act of climbing and platforming is pretty solid with Rourke pulling himself up on ledges, shimmying, sliding down zip-lines, wall jumping, and climbing ropes with relative ease. Theres even a nice feature that has you holding down a shoulder button in order to jump away from walls, making sure that you dont perish unintentionally when trying to simply get around the environment. Sadly though, even though it somewhat works, the platforming gets stale quickly, since levels tend to drag on infinitely and you are basically just doing the same thing in every area of the game.
There are also a ton of technical issues that seemingly attempt to dash any remaining hopes of having fun with Damnation. The games framerate will frequently drop, making the action lurch. Players are often forced to wait through lengthy load times that spring up in some of the most inconvenient times. In particular, I always seemed to have these loading interruptions in the middle of jumps during every segment that required me to ride a steam-powered motorcycle between areas. Perhaps the worst offenders though are the glitches that necessitate a system restart to deal with. I was lucky enough to both have the game refuse to load the next area after a cutscene as well as just plain getting stuck inside a mountain while playing.
If you can manage to find anyone willing to put up with the prevalent and persistent gameplay problems, Damnation also offers up a few multiplayer options. You can play through the campaign with another player either online or split-screen, although cutting the screen in half makes finding enemies and your next destination that much more difficult. There are also some incredibly basic versus modes present consisting of deathmatch, team deathmatch, king of the hill, and capture the flag, but good luck finding anybody playing this game online; youll need it. Even if you do manage to find a few people to play against, the vertical nature and vast sizes of the included maps will make rounds feel more like games of hide and seek than competitive multiplayer.
In the end, Damnation really is a sad story. The game had an interesting concept and a good amount of potential but it just never came together. It is really unfortunate to see it fail in just about every aspect because even if it had gotten one thing right, be it platforming, shooting, multiplayer, or its storyline, perhaps it could have still found an audience happy to check it out. However, as it is I cant imagine anyone enjoying their time spent with this game.
CCC Staff Contributor