Damnation is a fun game with some problems, that more or less amount to minor annoyances.
One of Damnation's biggest selling points is the platforming gameplay and interesting steam-punk presentation. The presentation is really interesting, and is genuinely great at times…and other times not so much. Honestly, you'll be watching a cut scene that's made in-engine, that looks fantastic, and then in the next scene it looks like someone vomited the character animations and textures. All in all, it's really decent, and looks average to great. However, that is the double edged sword; it's either great or terrible, and the game really can't make up it's mind, which gets frustration.
For example, after you get to the mines and you reach the first checkpoint and the camera pans up so you can kind of figure out where you need to go, it is truly one of the most awe-inspiring moments in the game and it shows off the engine and the sense of scale that the game has.
The game will continually amaze you and then let you down on a roller coaster of not-so-greatness. It's one of the things that you have to see to understand. The graphics, as mentioned before, can't make up their mind to be crappy or not. It's a minor complaint as the gameplay holds up. There is another interesting thing that bothered me though; in the very first level, when you have to climb the Church, the textures are bland and very muddy. However, once you get to the top of it, and look at the interior and the other building that is close to it, you will surely be amazed and what you see. The textures are crisp and dark and moody.
The character animations are pretty good, and will have you either laughing or thinking it's really cool. Enemies explode when shot with a shotgun or bleed out whilst pinned to a wall. The jumping and rolling animations are great and seem to have weight to them. Occaisionally though, you will shoot and a guy, and he'll leap out, like he died, only to grab onto something and still be alive.
Honestly, this right here is what makes the game so fun. The best way to describe the gameplay is that it is a hybrid of a third-person-shooter and a platforming game. The controls somehow make sense and are very easy to pick up and understand. The controls really aren't clunky at all, as your character moves just as fast as you need him to, jump here, hang off there, shoot that guy from the ledge, punch this guy here and so on. Again, the same problem arises with the shooting as the graphics; the game can't decide. For example, you'll be setting up a shot, and the enemy will move right as you fire, another time, you'll fire off a quick shot and it's an instant kill. It's not bad, as you can just grab cover and take another shot, and the shooting is more tactical than most. Literally, you can see the bullet taper off and arc. It's a minor annoyance as this is rare. The guns feel powerful and brutal in the alternate reality America. The standard pistol just makes you feel like a bad ass; just don't let the straight shot fool you, you can't snipe with it well. The shotgun is equally brutal, as well as the railway spike launcher. I am a sucker for any game that lets you pin an enemy to a wall and he bleeds out clutching at the spike in his chest.
The platforming part of the game are amazing. Like, honestly you have to try it. It's simple like the Prince of Persia Trilogy. Once you get the hang of it (learning curve is maybe 15 minutes) you'll be jumping around and shooting and ducking and the like. The only glaring problem is that there is no way to find out where your next objective is. Generally it's get over here, jump here, get there. But it gets more complicated and frustrating….in the first level that is easily two hours long. After that you get the spirit vision and you know where to go by looking at your comrades and the glowing red outline of where ever you need to go. The platforming section is easily the game's strength and combat rolling the best addition to the game, as it feels powerful and you cover a lot of ground.
Damnation is an example of a game that is fun , but has some minor annoyances that pop-up 25% of the time, but are easily overlooked. Other times though, you'll wonder how it got past QA. It's worth playing for the Gameplay alone, but the semi-interesting story and minor annoyances and glitches mar the experience.