Dementium II

Video game, 2010

I tried really hard to not love Dementium II. Eventually I failed. It has a lot of marks against it; it’s by some rinky third-party developer, it has a completely generic horror aesthetic, no (and I mean NO) regard for story and the box art is a painfully transparent attempt to attract people who enjoy, or are shopping for people who enjoy, the wave of Japanese influenced Hollywood horror films of the last decade. Much of the above are normally deal-breakers for me, so I was really surprised that I not only finished but completely enjoyed Dementium II. How did this happen? Well sometimes, despite it’s own shortcomings, a piece of entertainment is just plain old solid enough to be good. Dementium II is more than enjoyable enough to play, despite being, well, kind of bad. I attribute this to two factors; game design and atmosphere. It bears noting that I am not a serious gamer, and to say that I have literally no first-person shooter experience outside of the original GoldenEye would not be a stretch. Dementium II was made for the DS, which is not a “hardcore gamer” system and has very few titles of this type. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game was produced with this fact in mind; a bit of a gentler, less complex FPS for casual gamers like myself. It couldn’t seem more like it; I always knew where to go, but didn’t feel herded and was rewarded for exploring around, and always had enough ammo to do what I needed but not so much that I was able to breeze through by mindlessly blasting everything in sight. (Although, the boss fights were almost certainly too easy.) And I’ll tell you something- bring Dementium II into a dark room by yourself, and you can get a little creeped out. Admittedly, that’s not the way most people play their DS’, and I almost never played it like that, but I did come to respect the games atmospheric power. This is due to a number of factors; the very effective sound design, the alarmingly detailed graphics and the fact that the visual designers cribbed more from Clive Barker than The Ring. What this all adds up to is that in Dementium II, for the casual gamer at least, it’s a joy to walk around, breathe in, and blast monsters. 3.5