If you have a Nintendo DS, the idea of seeing blood spill within a DS game seems far-fetched. In fact, outside of Grand Theft Auto, it's tricky to think of another Mature rated game for the system. There was another fairly high-profile Mature rated DS game a couple years ago however, and that was first-person survival horror game, Dementium: The Ward, from developer Renegade Kid. Following the success of that game, SouthPeak Interactive and Renegade Kid are now very close to releasing the gruesome horror game's sequel, Dementium II. Dementium II is precisely the name this game deserves, as it is not just quite demented in the sense that it's screwed in the head, but because it thoroughly pushes that theme. SouthPeak Interactive got us the hook up with some hands on time with the game, and not only is the game demented, but it's actually pretty decent.
Towards the beginning of the game "“ which is the segment that we played "“ the story is very confusing, jumps all over in flashes and scares, and is seriously twisted, but that's all really intended. From what we can make of it, the player character, Redmoor, is a new patient to Bright Dawn Treatment Center, and after having some sort of treatment performed on him, he's walked to his room "“ which seems more like a cell "“ and left there. From there the world as we briefly new it, more or less flashes to another dimension, where the same place is filled with freakish monsters, and plenty of gore and tense moments. As players survive this hell, soon enough things flip back to normal (although none of it really deserves to be called "normal"), and Redmoor is spotted in the halls by guards, considered an escapee, and pursued with electro-clubs as such.
As a game in first-person perspective, the game is fully 3D, from environments, to the weapons the player holds, to the enemies. Graphics don't stutter one bit, and while level design certainly could use some help, it all looks quite good on the DS. Good in terms of quality visuals; watching a corpse pulsate on a table as a chain continuously makes its way through said corpse's guts isn't so pleasing to the eye, but no less its well done. The graphical quality paired with the art style makes for some genuinely creepy looking monsters too. Probably our favourite is the very first one you encounter, some sort of horribly mangled blood drenched monstrosity of a walking corpse with its chest split open from neck to waist, with huge teeth lining the gaping hole in its chest. Talk about an efficient eater!
Given the above baddie bearing down on the player from the get-go, what kind of armaments is the player bestowed with? Oh an old crappy dagger, of course. Close quarters combat isn't all that great, as advancing monsters can generally be kept a bay with proper timing of stabs and jabs. Later on players pick up a sledge hammer, revolver, and better yet, a shotgun, and by that point combat is actually pretty fun. Nothing like blowing away a nightmare with a 12 gage, right? That is right in fact, as control of guns in the game is very precise with the use of the stylus.
Sound design leaves a fair bit to be desired, however it does enough. The game provides the baseline creepy atmosphere and tense-moments-triggered music during all the moments players would expect, but it just doesn't sound all that good. The quality is simply lacking. No less it does its job, as when the music starts to sound like the player should dread death, the player should, as right on time is a couple monsters looking to fill their bellies. That is another note too, we could be wrong in the monsters' want to have full bellies, as we didn't actually die during our hands-on time. During a boss battle we were somewhat close, but so far on normal difficulty, the challenge hasn't been all that challenging. It has steadily increased though, so there are signs it will get harder as the game continues.
Dementium II feels like a promising game. Provided the story develops well, the challenge continues to increases, and the monsters see more variety, SouthPeak could have a solid winner on its hands. Quite the feat for a DS game, hopefully there are consumers out there to match it. Given its sequel status however, we'll take a wild guess that there is, and if you fit into that demographic, keep your eyes peeled for Dementium II on May 4th, as well as our full review.