Damnation First Look

We jump, flip, and shoot our way through an alternate history of the United States.

by

There's a popular adage that goes "The future is unwritten," but that doesn't necessarily mean the past is set in stone, either. Plenty of games have played fast and loose with history books to develop an alternate take on any number of bygone eras. One such game we recently had a chance to see is Damnation, a shooter that imagines what it would be like if the American Civil War extended well into the 20th century. You play as Hamilton Rourke, leader of a group of rebels fighting against a powerful industrialist named Prescott, a man who commands an army of mercenaries equipped with technology well ahead of its time.

Wild West steampunk would be a good way to describe the look of Damnation.

We had the opportunity to see a demo of Damnation's introductory level, which eases you into the gameplay mechanics with a few tutorials. The first thing that becomes apparent is that Damnation isn't a pure shooter. Like Tomb Raider and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, it combines gun combat with liberal amounts of platforming. Just as often as you mow down waves of enemies, you'll be shimmying along ledges and leaping over gaps. This level, which takes place in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, introduces Blue Omega's philosophy of putting you in a wide-open area with a simple, visible goal made complicated by treacherous terrain. In this case, you see a bridge looming in the distance that you need to get to, but with a slight problem: Between you and that bridge is a seemingly bottomless chasm. You need to work your way along the outlying cliffs and through the run-down buildings that stand in the path between you and the bridge.

Rourke begins by shooting down the chains holding up a drawbridge so he can clear the first gap. Once over, his group of non-player characters spies a zip line stretching across an even larger gap. Your team needs to jump and grab the line, one by one, then slide down to the next area. Greeting you when you land is a group of Prescott's forces, soldiers with glowing masks and powerful guns that display the game's steampunk aesthetic. With the gun combat, you manually aim from the third-person perspective, using a variety of fictional weaponry that feels very futuristic for the turn-of-the-century setting. Adding a slight twist to the combat is your ability to engage a spirit vision, which temporarily allows you to sense where far-off enemies are by rendering them in a glowing red hue while desaturating everything else within view.

The space between these shootouts is filled with exploration sequences. Rourke is quite the athletic adventurer, which is good, because he has all manner of towering buildings and natural obstacles ahead of him. Beyond the usual leaping over long gaps, you'll need to perform various acts of athletic prowess, such as holding onto ledges to perform a backward jump, flipping up walls by grabbing ledges above you as you face outward, and, occasionally, just plain diving through glass windows. In our session, we didn't pick up on anything terribly revolutionary about this platforming, but the animation was slick and the level design looked intriguing. At this point, the climbing and jumping portion is looking much more compelling than the shooting.

Rourke is never afraid to swing from flagpole to rooftop.

There will also be vehicles in the game, but unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to see any of them. Another intriguing feature that was mentioned is two-player co-op. Following Rourke around is his gang of NPC allies, but at any point in the game, you can have a friend assume control of one of these characters. On the down side, it doesn't sound like there will be much interaction between players in terms of platforming. So rather than having one player give another a boost to make it over a large wall, teamwork looks to be more of the communicating and giving directions variety.

Visually, Damnation is looking nice. There's a sort of Wild West steampunk look to the characters and weapons, as well as a great sense of scale given to you as you gaze over the chasm at the beginning of the level, with the Rocky Mountains towering in the distance. The voice acting seems a little stiff at this point, but that may or may not be a product of its early stage of development. Damnation is scheduled for release later this year on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. You can expect to see more coverage as information becomes available.

Discussion

123 comments
Version300
Version300

This game is brilliant played it yesterday at my friends.

blu329
blu329

I think it looks pretty good it also looks like a mix between red dead revolver or gun mixed with prince of persia.

beverage14
beverage14

its oddworld strangers wrath's theme mixed with assasins creed climbing abilities and they give you guns to go with all of it

dan_151
dan_151

how many times does the word steampunk appear in this preview?

Subject17
Subject17

I agree with devoid... ...It does look like Van Helsing

devoid27
devoid27

makes me think of Van Helsing lol

rsv1995
rsv1995

I liked prince of persia, but now this is like prince of persia with futuristic guns

starduke
starduke

Wild west meets steampunk. Interesting...

12345678ew
12345678ew

i would buy this first day, but it's coming out on the same day as infamous, which is first minute.

belmont67
belmont67

For some reason I am reminded of Darkwatch, just a little bit.

BarkotGamer
BarkotGamer

this will get a 6.5-7.5 in GS, no more, but the main char reminds me of FF7's Vincent, so ill see how this one goes.

jcopp72
jcopp72

looks alittle interesting - is it open world?

Rojan_Bo
Rojan_Bo

I think it looks good, but there was no mention of having to actually fight while doing all of the fancy platforming, which i see as a bit of a worry...

megamaster32
megamaster32

this game reminds me of one of the indiana jones lol

stupid4
stupid4

sounds like a good game to me

sam1771771
sam1771771

this sounds like tomb raider minus the boobs

kbenz63
kbenz63

Seems to be a good start could become a must buy. The swinging on flagpoles and jumping on rooftops sounds like Assassins Creed or Tomb Raider doesn't it?

harkusrex
harkusrex

looks ok actually.......codemasters hasnt turned out anything good recently....but hey one can change.like the steampunk setting....

athenian29
athenian29

Hmm. After Turning Point, I'm skeptical of Codemasters, but this does look interesting...

henrik02
henrik02

Doesn't look too promising...

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

Looks pretty cool... I love how practical the female lead's clothing is. Nothing poppin' out when somersaulting through bullets, no sir!

meyh100
meyh100

i hope the critics won't kill it

king_bobo
king_bobo

I hope this game has competitive multiplayer. It would be cool to swing around and stuff whilst fighting human opponents.

19803
19803

Why don't they ever make a game where you are one of the "Bad Guy's" soldiers. It does get annoying sometimes playing the same plot over and over. The HL2 has a mod that lets you play as a Combine soldier and it's pretty good. And don't say there's no plot in it- look at Overlord where you play the bad guy, it's pretty good. Haze was the closest thing. You get to play as a rebel and government soldier or whatever they are.

emorainbo
emorainbo

Looks like a certain will smith movie...

Vasot
Vasot

Looks pretty good for a mutliplatform game

aj_marquez
aj_marquez

MAN! I'M SURE THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS GAME ARE THE SAME PEOPLE BEHIND THE "DAMNATION" MOD FOR UT2K4!

MikeyOfLamb
MikeyOfLamb

possibly it could be good, but there are many other games that look more interesting to me

demosnipe1589
demosnipe1589

is this a rip off of Prince of Persia, and Assassins Creed?

Mariusyka
Mariusyka

Looks nice.....lets play the game when appears and then DISCUSS.

Ineor
Ineor

Looks interesting, but nothing really new to make me want it badly. I'll watch out for more and see if it develops into something good.

is0lati0n
is0lati0n

Not really concerned about this game, but graphically, it looks awesome.

wars45
wars45

LETS SEE IF ITS GOOD

denaz
denaz

Hmmm looks like it could be a bit of fun if done the right way. Will definately keep my eye on this one

gangstamario1
gangstamario1

This game looks pretty cool it kind of reminds me of prince of persia .The co op looks cool to hopefully it will turn out great lookin forward to it.

dead888
dead888

i want this game so bad !

nwidmann
nwidmann

Yeah, good call shockg2000. I don't understand how some people cough-up 60 bones and don't even bother to read an artilcle in game informer or on gamespot? I mean, c'mon people!

Graycrash
Graycrash

Eeh... I can't really contribute an opinion at this point. Nothing great, but nothing bad. We'll just have to wait and see.

kvan33
kvan33

I can't believe noone is comparing this game to Darkwatch. Oh that's right...nobody played that game. I don't expect much more from this game either.