Look at the box or the screenshots for Damnation and it appears pretty cool. It looks like a sort of steampunk Western complete with alternative technology and weapons that should mix things up a bit. Unfortunately when you play it, it’s plain to see it’s borrowed a few aspects from other games and, unlike, say, Uncharted, doesn’t implement it into the gameplay particularly well at any point.
You play as a guy called Rourke who’s looking for his fiancée. Of course, there’s a bigger picture here and you’re also part of a team who’s trying to stop a military contractor from succeeding in his violent takeover.
The majority of the time you’ll be having shootouts in open areas and also climbing up buildings to access new areas. You’d think if these were the main points of the game they’d be done well, but they’re not. Aiming is really tricky and over-responsive, enemies just stand there anyway waiting to be shot and to reload you have to click in the left stick! Who’s idea was that in the development meeting? And after successful climbing in games such as Prince of Persia and InFamous comes some of the clunkiest climbing since playing Hunchback on the Spectrum. For some strange reason you have to press a shoulder button to jump away from a wall when in other games, simply moving the direction away from the wall is enough to make the character jump where you want him to!
Your team-mates also aren’t much help either. Sometimes they scale buildings to show you the way, then you can’t find them above you and thus don’t know where to go, other times they’ll teleport onto your vehicle if you leave them during a driving stage.
Thanks to your Native American friend you also get a special vision which lets you see enemies through walls and downed team-mates. Again, it’s pretty pointless and only shows you their rough position while you’re using the limited cover system to hide behind a wall.
There are plenty of better action adventure games out there. If you’re looking for something with a Western vibe, wait for Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption, it’s bound to be better.
Damnation gets a damning 4 out of 10.