Damnation - Don't touch it with a 10ft pole - IGN review inside.

Jan 29, 2009
- Damnation is very bad. You can come over to my desk right now, randomly choose a level for me to show you, and you will see exactly what I'm talking about. The framerate crawls, the textures are hideous, the voice acting is terrible, the animations are robotic, the vehicles cut through the ground, there's no voicechat in multiplayer, the story is poorly laid out, the gunplay is no fun, there are load screens in the middle of nowhere -- I can go like this all day, but I think you get the point.

The basic story of this third-person shooter actually had a chance at being cool. Right around the time of the Civil War, steampunk weaponry gets invented and a guy named Prescott sells it to both the Union and the Confederacy. This extends the conflict 40 years or so and changes the entire landscape of the nation. From there, things get hazy. You'll put on the black hat of Hamilton Rourke and set out to find your lost fianc?e. You'll travel to a handful of places fighting Prescott's forces, and when you're done killing everyone, you'll get sent to another location to do the same. You can play Rourke's story on your own or as part of a split-screen or online co-op team. This means that you'll always have at least one other character with you as you traverse the game's handful of excruciatingly long levels.

Don't believe that this game sucks? Watch this.

See, Damnation is a train wreck from the very start. You aim with a shoulder button, but moving the reticle is imprecise. You reload by clicking L3, and that's just a weird placement. When you encounter an enemy, lots of times the zombie/wolf-creature/whatever will just stand there and let you shoot him to death before falling in an incredibly framey animation. The game hitches and hiccups when you're doing the most basic of moves, and the muddled textures on the wall are embarrassing -- there were times when I was literally flabbergasted that this was running on a current generation console. Even beyond visuals, it's not fun to sit there, slowly move the crosshairs on top of a bad guy, and shoot the non-moving person until he collapses.

Case in point: vehicles in Damnation. Every now and again, you'll need to climb on a blocky looking motorcycle and rip across the landscape sprawled out in front of you. As I mentioned before, you always have a partner by your side, so these motorcycles have a place for your friend to stand on the back tire and hold on for dear life. Problem is, if you jump on the bike and hit the gas without letting the partner on, they just teleport in later down the road.

Worse, the vehicle tires are cutting through the ground for your entire ride and the ground textures that scream by look like they were pulled from a PlayStation 2 game. Occasionally, enemies will be in the empty environments you're racing through. Your partner will try and shoot them, but the attempts won't be successful because Damnation weapons take about 17 shots to kill someone. You can run the bad guys over, but there's really no reason to because they're not a threat -- and if you do run them down, they often float behind your ride as you scoot on.

Weird, floating problems happen all the time in Damnation. At one point an enemy jumped while I was shooting at him, he died in the animation, and then the dude just hung in the air as if he was pasted there or the game was paused. When you shoot one of the exploding barrels in Damnation, it instantly turns any bad guy in the (generous) blast area into chunks of meat -- and I'm talking about it awkwardly and instantaneously going from person to chunks. At one point after killing a guy like this, I walked over to find his dismembered arm freaking out on the ground. Sigh.

Get ready to jump... a lot.
Get ready to jump... a lot.
If you put a gun to my head and demanded that I say something somewhat positive about this game, I'd tell you that the jumping gameplay can be all right sometimes… but not often. See, when you reach a new part of a level, the camera will pan through the entire place -- and I mean the entire place -- showing you a general direction to go. This means you'll need to leap at walls, spring off them, grab ledges, and keep moving. You can shoot with your weak and worthless pistol while hanging, you can pull yourself up from one handhold to another in a wacky somersault kind of motion, and you can make big old leaps by getting a running start. I dug that I had to hold a button to jump away from a wall so that I wasn't accidentally killing myself left and right, but that was about it. The whole mechanic is clunky thanks to poor animations (Rourke can climb a motionless rope without using his legs -- his appendages just hang there lifelessly.).

As if everything I just told you didn't completely turn you off to this title, you need to know that multiplayer is worthless here. Yes, you can play co-op online, but there's no voicechat so don't even think about discussing attack plans. Yes, there are online versus matches, but you can't join a game in progress; you just spectate until the kill limit is reached or the time limit expires. Yes, very few people are playing this game, but the maps don't adjust to the number of players; enjoy running around a huge map with one other person! The framerate is bad here, but it's just as bad as it is when you're by yourself so I guess that's good for this game. It's not good in real life, but in Damnation, that's a win.

Closing Comments
There's no reason for you to play Damnation. It fails at being a worthwhile title on all fronts. The gameplay isn't fun, the levels are too long, the sound is bad, and the story isn't interesting. There are more problems, but I'll leave my written flogging at that.

Avoid this game at all costs.

Score 2.5


Premium Supporter
damn, sucks ... I'll prolly still Gamefly it tho ... I really wanted to get this.

Man, i was kind of looking forward to this too. But, all I've heard is TERRIBLE things about this game. I haven't found anyone who thinks it's worth playing.

And +1 about Call of Juarez. It's up next and that's the one I was looking forward to most so I hope it's decent. I'm really looking for a western shooter type game. If Call of Juarez is no good than the last hope for me is Red Dead Redemption? I believe.