The title is the perfect foreshadowing to a terrible game that does nothing right.
Damnation. This game is a damnation all right. It's a damnation to the deepest fires of hell, to the deepest pit of oblivion where even the darkest and most dangerous of evils wouldn't ever dare to go. But why is it so? There are many reasons that you should avoid even renting this game, as it does everything mediocre at best. So what do you say we get started?
First off, let's start with the presentation. I'm not gonna lie, but the whole steampunk element going on in this game was not a bad idea. I've always liked the type of games that stood out, the ones that had quirky elements to it that make it distinguishable from every other game on the market today, kind of like the countless FPSs being crapped out of the gaming industry's ass. Believe me, this game does stand out...but that's the only "good' thing about this game or the only good thing you can say about this game...if you really want to give credit to this useless game at all.
The first thing you notice is that the game looks terrible. The graphics are what you would probably see on a bad Xbox 360 launch title. This game like many other used the famous Unreal Engine, the same engine that was used in Mirror's Edge, Gears of War and Bioshock. They tried to give the game a Gears of War-esque feel to it, but as you can see, it looks terrible. This game is here to prove that just because you use the Unreal Engine, your game can still look bad. The game is a blurry, fogged up mess. The textures are bland and blurred out in the distance. The colour scheme and environments are what you'd call graphical diarrhea. It's all a mish-mash of brown, grey and red buildings and mountains and overall it just looks terrible. The cutscenes are horribly done, the framerate runs choppy through them and the graphics used look like something you'd see in a PS2 game. For 2009, that's pathetic. From here on out though, it only gets worse.
If the horrible bland graphics aren't enough, you're also treated to a whole plethora of glitches and bugs to suffer from since the developers couldn't take enough time before the game was released to actually test it out and make sure it ran smoothly. Clipping issues out the ass, getting stuck in awkward places, framerate drops, and a whole lot more. The game is a mess. How could the developers release the game in this state? What a joke!
The characters look like complete and utter uninspired wastes of imagination. You have your typical alpha-male badass as the main character, the evil maniacal sadist moron hellbent on destroying the world as the villain, the sidekick that you meet along the way that thinks he's funny and never shuts up, and girls that are all dressed in sleezy clothing, have big butts and large boobs that look like they were done by inexperienced plastic surgeons to appeal to the immature spectrum of the male audience. The same kind of males that watch Transformers because "Megan Fox iz sooo hawt". The characters are terrible, have no personality and are annoying. Speaking for myself, I loathed all the characters in this game. They are so dull, so static and so annoying that it's embarrassing. The story and plot made absolutely no sense, like the writers were trying to throw too many things into one game. For example, it turns out that one of your allies has a brother that happens to be some Native American that has magical powers. With that comes a whole bunch of plotholes. How come he has powers and she doesn't? The two don't even look related? Was one of the two adopted? We didn't even get to find out how this all came to be, it just throws it at us.
The voice acting is too bad to even put in words. It is beyond atrocious. The dialogue is the most corny, pretentious crap that I have ever heard. It seems so out of place with the gritty setting that it makes the story and characters seem so much more unbelievable. The voice acting lacks feeling and expression. It sounds like the actors are reading it off a script. It sounds like a bad school play. It really makes you wonder...how can the developers release something like this and not feel embarrassed? It blows my mind completely that someone was even thinking about something like this.
There really isn't much to say about the gameplay at all. The objective of the game is basically to climb from point A to point B while shooting loads of the same uninspired enemies and mastering the worst platforming controls I've ever used in a video game. You'll run into a bunch of enemies on the way. You kill them by using the horrible arsenal of weapons the game has provided for you. The crosshairs are so inaccurate. Whenever you're crouching behind something and you aim at the enemy, it goes red and teases you into thinking you can shoot at the enemy when really you're just aiming the gun at the obstacle in front of you. Even when you do aim properly, it's no use. The guns have no recoil, but the bullets still manage to spray all over the place. Especially with the machine gun. The machine gun is the worst weapon you can use in this game. It takes a long time to kill someone with it as it sprays all over the place. On top of that, it doesn't even take any technique to kill an enemy. You basically spray at an enemy hoping the enemy dies first. It all depends on who dies first. And if that's not enough, there is no cover system. You take cover by crouching behind an object, but it doesn't help since you can't aim at an enemy while taking cover. That means you have to get out of cover and unavoidably take damage while you shoot at an enemy. For a third person shooter game, a cover system is required. In Gears of War for example, there are times when there's too many enemies to face at a time and you are going to have to take cover to regain your health. And while you're taking cover, you can still shoot at the enemy from the obstacle you're crouching behind. You can even flip tables over to create a cover for you so you don't get killed. But Damnation doesn't have that, and that is what really makes the game suck bad. It doesn't even have a lean feature! If you're going to make a game that has no cover system, then at least put a lean feature!
The game doesn't have a health bar. When you're dying, the game slowly turns into a grey fogged up mess to the point where you can't even see what you're shooting at. I have to ask, why did they think this would be a good idea. If you're almost dead, shouldn't the game help you a little bit to get you back on track instead of giving you the penalty before it's even necessary? There are many other games that don't have a health bar, like Call of Duty 4. If you're almost dead, the screen will be red around the edges. Couldn't Damnation have done that instead? And on top of that if you do die, you can't try again from where you left off because there's no quick save option. So if you die, you don't get to try again from where you left off, you have to go to the last checkpoint you saved at.
The platforming and the action outside of combat isn't much better. The controls are hard to get used to, but it's still hard because it's as if your character can only aim in eight different directions. You will find yourself pressing awkward buttons constantly to get your character to do what you want it to do. The controls aren't so bad themselves. They could be better, but that's not what sucks, since they're pretty easy to navigate once you've got the feel for them. It's just that the platforming segments are boring as hell. Hell, the whole game is boring as hell. Jumping and climbing through the same environments, fighting the same armies of bad guys, is this the kind of game you really want to buy?
There is no replay value to this game. Once you've beaten it, you'll never want to play it again as it is so redundant and so basic. It basically takes everything you've ever hated about video games and throws them together into one combination of madness. So stay away from this game, it is really not worth the money and time because trust me, this is one combination you do NOT want.