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Dementium II Review
Posted on June 11, 2010 by Oscar Gonzalez

Dementium II is a survival horror/action game that contains elements of Resident Evil and the camera system of Doom with some stylus controls throw in for good measure. In this game, you play the role of William Redmoor, a psychiatric patient at a former prison turned mental hospital. Diagnosed with a level 2 disorder, William has been operated on and awakens with amnesia, beginning the game. The game attempts to add a backstory involving Redmoor’s wife, but it just comes across as a cheap trick to add plot development, by way of covering the character’s flaws. By the time you begin the game, you don’t find yourself caring about the character so much as just wanting to move the plot forward.

The game is played in a first-person perspective, so the player sees little of William besides the floating hand present in all games of this genre. The environments all look similar with dark hallways, dark tunnels and occasionally daylight areas just to change things up. While each background is distinctive, you to have to rely on the map often to navigate, a sign that most rooms look fairly similar and non-descript, unlike in Resident Evil.

Enemies are generic in their design and have little variety, especially as they respawn when you return to past areas. Bosses are only slightly larger and are recognizable only because of the classic staging before such encounters.

Music is appropriately haunting as one would expect for this type of game, but it is nothing that genre fans haven’t heard. I don’t dislike it, but the music does little to make itself stand out. Fortunately the monster growls and other odd sound effects really help make situations more tense. The best thing in the game is how some monsters laugh when you shoot them, which comes off as pretty unnerving for me. The weapon effects lack punch, but this may be more indicative of the platform than a lack of effort.

What the publishers thought you may need while playing this game

Dementium II is a hybrid of Silent Hill/Resident Evil and Doom. You travel like in a first person shooter game with the investigation elements of survival horror games, what with the finding of key A for door A or item X used in Puzzle Y and so on. Combat is similar as well, with the first person view of Doom and the limited ammo of Silent Hill.

You have a choice between several handheld weapons and various firearms. While it is true that the shotgun is obviously more powerful than the revolver or knife, the other weapons are specifically tuned for certain enemies. It is wise for you to use them to your best advantage, not only to save ammo for the tougher encounters but also to make the simplistic encounters a bit more varied.

Combat may be a bit simplistic due to the limited A.I of the monsters, but this convenience is offset due to Dementium’s control scheme being frustrating at times thanks to the stylus-only system. While navigation is fine for the most part, dodging enemies can be difficult due to the lack of a dedicated run button. You have to double tap the D pad in any direction to sprint and it can fail to be responsive in tight situations, leading to enemies swarming you, what with your inability to quick turn to assess your surroundings. It would have been a simple matter to make the controls customizable if you didn’t have to rely on the stylus. The stylus-only scheme should have been an option for those who prefer it, not the only way to play the game.

Sadly there's not much reason to replay the game due to the fixed order in which you receive weapons, ensuring that you always have to deal with situations in similar ways. Some puzzle elements are randomized, but this comes off more as an effort to extend the gameplay through backtracking rather than a concentrated effort. Given the relative brevity of this game, these frequent moments can be tiresome. Handicap runs have potential depending on how much you like this game. I would try my hand at it if only there had been control alternatives, because it isn’t feasible to have to circle enemies rapidly to get in the occasional hit with the knife; at least not for anyone but the very patient and dedicated.

Dementium II is ultimately a generic game, but the lack of representation of the survival-horror genre among portable systems raises its caliber. It might not do anything new or particularly special for the genre, but it is a solid package for fans of these types of games.

- Ugly Bob

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) | all author's articles

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