The huge potential and the great idea of combining steam-punk with western have been both wasted in Damnation.
The Bad: Bugs & glitches ● Overall poor gameplay mechanics ● Stupid enemy A.I. ● Poor character animation & physics ● The graphics ● No cover system ● Weak voice-over.
Judging by the screenshots and videos Damnation looked like a really solid shooter with many awesome platforming elements similar to those from Uncharted series.So the first impression was very good. We don't have many western games nowadays and Damnation is one of those. Unfortunately, the whole game isn't as good as those screens and videos. Damnation is an example of wasted potential.
Steam-punk western action game is what Damnation really is. The game takes place in the U.S. immersed in the civil war which actually didn't end. Instead, we have machines and things like that which use a steam. In general, we have a mix of cowboys and future technology where steam is the main scource. Our main character Rourke is a rebel cowboy, an outlaw who wants to rescue his girlfriend. What's more, there are also other characters who will help us in our mission, like a beautiful Indian woman, latino gunman and a scientist (professor). There are two organizations in Damnation, the one in which we are and the other who wants to rule the country. We are like freedom fighters whose goal is to save the whole nation or something like that. Rourke is a very serious guy, so if you like such characters then you will probably like him. I have to say that the story is pretty interesting and original. Moreover, this steam-punk western idea is really great and also very original, but unfortunately, most of the game's mechanics don't work as it should.
Damnation is all about the shooter gone vertical. It means that except shooting, we will have many acrobatic elements in the game. This is true, but too bad that the characters animation is really poor. Rourke's and other NPC's movements are unrealistic and cheap. That's a shame, because most of the game's locations are really big and well-designed for these platforming elements. Moreover, our character Rourke doesn't breath nor blink. This is terrible, even on PSX we could see our character breathing and now we have next gen systems! Shame on you Damnation developers! Moreover, each and every character in the game has the same animation. Yakecan (Indian woman) moves exactly the same as Rourke. This is so unrealistic. The cool addition to the gameplay is the Spirit vision which allows us to see our enemies through walls. This is nice and interesting idea which can be very helpful during combat. Too bad we can't sneak upon our enemies. If we could, then the Spirit vision would be even more helpful.
The shooting sequences are also very poor. Although, the weapons have cool design and look great, their accuracy is so bad that it's almost impossible to aim. What's more, there is no cover system in this game which is a huge mistake. The developers said that the cover system isn't necessary in Damnation, but they are wrong. Apart from shooting and doing all these platforming things, in Damnation, we can ride a steam bike instead of horse. This is a huge plus, because not many games offer a possibility of riding a vehicle. Unfortunately, the physics in Damnation is unrealistic and bad too.
The level design is really cool. The towns look like those from western movies but with huge chimneys and things like that. We can easily see that this is a steam-punk, not only a typical wild west. It is very atmospheric. Apart from towns, we will also visit caves and caverns. PSI city in which our last mission takes place has some nice design.
The enemy A.I. is poor. Sometimes we will see our enemies standing in front of us and doing absolutely nothing. They are so stupid. I can't understand why the developer made such stupid A.I.
The visual effects in Damnation are as bad as the gameplay mechanics unfortunately. Sometimes I wouldn't say that this title is a next gen game. The textures, the environment and the characters look just awful up close. Sometimes the lighting effects look pretty good. The sound and voice over are also weak. The weapons sound is of bad quality too.
In conclusion, Damnation has some really nice moments which I liked and it could be an awesome steam-punk western game if not those horrible glitches, bad character animation and physics and poor gameplay mechanics. The idea of making a steam-punk game and combine it with western was perfect and very original, but unfortunately, this huge potential has been wasted.
Reviewer's tilt: 5/10