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Hands-on: Dementium 2 (DS)


Having not played Renegade Kid's first survival/horror-FPS on the Nintendo DS back in 2007, Dementium: The Ward, I had few expectations going into my recent hands-on with the game's sequel, the aptly titled Dementium 2. I knew that the first game enjoyed critical acclaim for more than adequately bringing survival/horror tropes to Nintendo's handheld, and ultimately scored pretty well with reviewers, but ever since Metroid Prime Hunters I've been wary of first-person mechanics on the DS.

Thankfully, when first faced with manipulating Dementium 2's main character, it became quickly obvious that the game's slow pace helps to account for any discomfort issues that might arise from the control scheme. Over the course of 45 minutes, I put together puzzles, traveled between two dimensions multiple times, and even fought a boss who tried to throw up on me from the ceiling (what a jerk!). Though its content and storytelling seems to be a carefully crafted amalgam of games from the three or so genres it mashes up (fps, adventure, survival/horror) – a handheld Half-Life meets Silent Hill on Monkey Island, almost – the time I spent with a preview build of Dementium 2 earlier today felt like the beginning of what could be a very interesting game.

Gallery: Dementium II | 29 Photos

As in the first game (at least, so I'm told), the story begins by waking up in a mysterious psychiatric hospital. Run down decor gives off the idea that the place has seen better days – an idea confirmed while being dragged back to my holding cell during the game's opening cinematic and seeing the rest of the dingy mental hospital/prison. Soon enough, though, D2 revisits the first game's dual reality, allowing for escape from the cell – and consequently also allowing the second dimension's disfigured creatures to inhabit the hospital's corridors.

I spent the better part of the next half hour exploring the first level's various rooms, getting stumped by an obvious puzzle, and shanking everything that came into sight (a surprisingly large number of mouth-chested beasts, thankfully not suffering from the first game's respawning problems). Playing with noise-canceling headphones, I was privy to all sorts of unnerving noises early on, belonging to creatures who, maybe thankfully, were not revealed in the game's first level.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that jamming on the left shoulder button (somewhat spongy on my DS Lite) felt a bit cumbersome when fighting the game's first boss. That said, D2's handler assured us that guns later in the game help to solve that problem.

For those of you looking for mature DS titles, Renegade Kid seems to be bringing another competent, interesting genre mash-up to the Nintendo DS in Dementium 2. We'll know for sure when the game arrives at retail next February.

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