No, this isn't another first person Clive Barker horror game. Damnation is actually an all new property from Codemasters that is a third person action game complete with a multiplayer mode that places a twist on the arena based shooter. Earlier this year, Sega gave us a great arcade shooter called The Club. It was essentially like Twisted Metal, but on with a linear, on-rails path, and a pretty cool combo system to be mastered. Damnation's multiplayer mode is similar to that of The Club, but instead of tacking the gamer to a set path, the gamer's best option would be to go up.
Yes, that's right, up. And this applies to not just the multiplayer aspect, but also to the solo campaign. You see, Damnation is arguably the first shooter where the height leverage is actually a core aspect of the game. The single player game presents the gamer with a number of massive, seamless environments that stretch for miles. These environment feature thousands upon thousands of vertical space that you can easily exploit to your advantage.
Playing through the game will allow the gamer to use his space anyway he wishes, by attacking either from the top down, or choosing the more confrontational approach of keeping your feet planted to the ground and wiping off your enemies simply from a few feet away. The game's scope is truly massive and expansive, as the game's engine draws everything as far as the eye can see - so there's an amazing draw-in distance that's capable of showing you some extremely breathtaking scenery.
And speaking of breathtaking scenery, because at some points during the game you'll have to go vertical, you'll be treated to some really vertigo inducing sights. If you choose to frequently make your way by exploring the higher regions of the game, you'll frequently be treated to this scenery, and you'll also frequently defy that scenery by not ending up a part of it, as you'll perform acts of courage and leaps of faith. You'll jump from place to place, so make sure you pay attention, otherwise there's a gruesome death awaiting your character hundreds of feet below.
In a way, you can think of Damnation as Mirror's Edge meets The Club meets Dark Void meets Mercenaries. We're really optimistic about Damnation's aspects of freedom, as Codemasters states that you can use anything that you can climb on, swing from, or run-jump from as a means of progressing through the environment. To make progress, you'll be given an assortment of weapons to choose from, such as your standard array of rifles/guns, to powerful projectile weapons (such as rocket launchers), to stationary/mounted weapons, to powerful steam powered weapons. These weapons can be fired at any time, no matter what your doing it, even if you're hanging off a ledge. There'll be two vehicles made available during the solo campaign, as well, but whether or not they're usable in the multiplayer game isn't known.
Multiplayer will consist of the arena levels where your best bet is to go up and take out your enemies from the top. Now, to prevent camped sniping, a tool called Spirit Vision allows the player to see where his opponents are, by displaying their body heat right on the screen - this feature can be used during the single player game too. We don't know what modes are in store for the multiplayer portion, but there are supposed to be a good number of them.
Finally, the story of Damnation revolves around a country that was home to a civil war between two rivaling factions that eventually depleted the economy of money and found themselves short on cash, willpower, and able bodies. The factions collapse and anarchy breaks out allowing a new power, the PSI, to take control. The PSI takes control of the east, and make their way to the western territory, which was not affected by the civil war. And so, sing it with me, 'here you come to save the daaaay.'
While you don't get to control Mighty Mouse, there are a number of characters for you to play with in the multiplayer modes, but only one to go through the story with. Codemasters states that the game is worth over three hours of gameplay, and that sounds...low. For the sake of Codemasters, we hope that there is more than one character to replay the game with, as well as alternate endings and an astonishing multiplayer mode.
Damnation is set to hit store shelves March 2nd. So far, we think there's a lot of promise here. Let's hope it delivers.
12/28/2008 Arnold Katayev