by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Design a title to catch gamers' attention
That's pretty much the way the logic behind the name Damnation must have gone. Basically, it tells you nothing about the game itself, but grabs your attention by its word choice. Damnation is an upcoming game from developer Blue Omega and publisher Codemasters which claims to be one of the first action adventure games that manages to mix action and adventure equally.
Another way to grab gamers' attention in addition to the title is a unique setting. In Damnation, the setting is 19th century America with steampunk influences – meaning that you get modern technology, albeit a bit twisted, in a 19th century world. Visually, you might want to recall the Wild Wild West movie from some few years back, where you got advanced robotics and other nifty inventions in a Wild West setting. Similar mixes have also been seen in the relatively successful novel series by Harry Turtledove where modern technology is injected into an American Civil War setting by pro-Confederacy time travellers.
In Damnation, the East Coast of the US has been stripped bare of resources by the Civil War that has stretched well into the 19th century. The Union and the Confederacy therefore spread towards west, battling over the resources in those unexplored areas. Contrary to their expectations, the west is already inhabited by a powerful arms dealer and industrialist known as Prescott. Prescott's arsenal includes such inventions as giant airships and a giant steam-powered robot, bringing the Wild Wild West movie even more to our minds.
The main story revolves around a battle between the above-mentioned powerful industrialist and a group of rebels led by Hamilton Rourke, who will naturally be the main protagonist in the single-player campaign. He is joined by, for example, a scantily-clad female, Yakecan, whose arsenal seems just about ready to burst free - but somehow manages not to, even when she's jumping over chasms and dodging bullets.
Damnation has been dubbed as a “shooter going vertical” by the developers (or perhaps more probably the marketing department). What the expression exactly means is that instead of running on floor level and up and down an occasional stairway, you will be climbing ladders and navigating deep open chasms and otherwise playing around in vertigo-inducing environments with uncountable ways of climbing up walls and pipes and jumping across chasms to grasp inexplicably located ladders. Basically, the rebel soldiers and the enemies are all highly proficient Lara-Croft-copycat acrobats capable of inhuman feats and stunts without any fear of running out of steam (eh, see what I did there?).