This sequel to the first installment, Dementium: The Ward, has first person survival, including the ability to use two items simultaneously for fighting wicked baddies and destroying various objects. The sounds, varied environments, engaging visuals, smooth controls, and map supported navigation all impress a solid overall mature audience experience on the Nintendo DS.
Set at the Bright Dawn treatment center, players encounter William Redmoor, a suspected murderer fighting his way out of a creature-filled labyrinth and confirming his own sanity after a less than stable brain procedure. Use the bottom touch screen for maneuvering. Controls also offer different orientations for left or right-handed players. Strafes, forward runs, weapon aims, crouches and backpedals work great. The map, health, and status icons are familiar. Weapons are stockpiled easily while some interesting item interactions can spice things up.
Save points are plentiful. The challenges are manageable. The large weapon cache – ranging from a simple shank to a nail gun – helps too. Players must choose weapons wisely in different situations involving antagonist guards, boss fights (the witch impresses), a demented doctor, and several creepy creatures who stay dead once defeated.
The storyline moves between the horrible reality in the center and William’s subconscious, which is even worse. Occasional cut scenes let players slip into the story even more though more character development would improve the proceedings. The music soundtrack sets the mood, but does not really enhance the game while helpful sounds warn players of incoming attacks.
A great haunted house-like experience without feeling overly manipulated or desensitized. Players usually must find a note or other object to advance past each area – an easy task thanks to the prompting interaction button in the middle.
The overall playtime remains in the single digits (for experienced players), so the replay value lacks a bit. Those who find Survival Mode fun, though, will get five different waves to play through, and a difficulty that gets progressively harder. Improved visuals, more haunting audio/sound effects, and even sharper scares seem likely for a third installment.
Dementium II is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Violence, Blood and Gore.