Gamecock Dementium: The Ward
- Chilling audio, intuitive controls
- Frustrating deaths, buried story
Dementium: The Ward is a cohesive game with the sum of all of its parts adding up to a frightening whole.
From the moment we woke in our bed at Redmoor Hospital, we had no doubts that we were trapped in Dementium: The Ward with many sleepless evenings ahead, clutching my DS under the covers.
The whole package
Dementium is overwhelmingly successful at creating an overall mood of terror, with just about every element in the game adding to the atmosphere. The audio is filled with effects that bring the game to life, from the echo of your bare feet slapping the tile floor and the constant beating of your heart, to the distant sounds of monsters moaning and scraping in the dark -- which is about the only warning you have that they are coming. From the beginning of the game you are surrounded by blood stains and darkness and must forge ahead to uncover the details of your identity are and what's happened to the world you're trapped in.
The game's first-person perspective antes up the intensity as you move through the world with the D-pad while sliding the stylus over the touch screen to adjust your view. There were many times when we were attacked by multiple enemies, and had to quickly turn to face our enemies and attack, feeling the terror as we defended ourselves from the evil.
However, the battles eventually felt repetitive after a while, especially when we died and had to restart a chapter and retrace our steps from the beginning. As we repeated levels, we found ourselves wondering why it took as many strikes from a nightstick to kill an enemy as shots from our handgun.
One of the more challenging aspects of the game revolves around only being able to hold one item at a time. Initially it was frustrating to choose between holding a flashlight to see or a weapon to defend ourselves, but when the first monstrous larva broke out of an incubator and slimed in our direction, we discovered just how frightening the dark can be. Luckily, when you're firing a weapon the cross hares glow red when they lock on a target allowing you to somewhat blindly fire in the dark and actually hit something. Aside from the action, Dementium is driven by puzzles which are engaging without being frustrating.
Our biggest complaint is that the storyline was often dropped during the game, and we had a hard time figuring out what was going on. This never distracts from the actual gameplay, but we always felt like a John Doe instead of a character. In the end, Dementium: The Ward is a cohesive game with the sum of all of its parts adding up to a frightening whole.
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