Taking control of rebel gang member Hamilton Rourke, you're plunged into an alternate past (or future?) where the American Civil War is fought with robots. Fighting an evil dictator known as Prescott and his horde of super charged soldiers you'll see five main levels over a 10 hour campaign which can be played co-operatively online.
Damnation is billed as a "shooter gone vertical". And while we don't quite agree with USP, we have to say the platforming in Damnation is almost its redeeming point. Almost, mind. Scaling building and objects is essential for progression in Damnation, and while you're limited to what you can climb, it's hard to say anything bad about this portion of the game aside from the fact that it's very simplistic. Climbing buildings is enjoyable, even though the animation is sketchy. The level design aids the platforming, as everything appeals to be well thought out - making it easy to find your way without feeling like your hand is being held too much. You also get to go really high. Which is cool. Kind of.
In a game that's painfully devoid of any real pace, we found ourselves looking forward to the motorbike sections. You kinda just drive in a straight line - apart from the sections where you devoid gravity - but, man, running down serum-infected scum in a steam-punk Harley isn't entirely terrible.
Where to start? Damnation feels old in almost every component it has. The graphics are particularly weak; they're dark, dirty and lack any real detail. Occassionally you'll come up against a decent looking texture only to have it brought down to the level of the one next-door. The voice acting is awful - literally like people were pulled off the street to deliver lines with no context. The cut-scenes are compressed in a way that the contents of a blu-ray disc shouldn't, although granted Damnation is not the first to be guilty of this. The AI is downright stupid, standing still while you pop them in the head. The gunplay feels sticky when compared to comparable third-person-shooters. Damnation may have been revered in the early Playstation 2-era, but in 2009 the whole experience is jaded.
Damnation features co-operative and competitive multiplayer which we'll try to cover in more detail at a later date. We actually have been trying to find a game all weekend but, erm, no-one is playing.
There are redeeming qualities in Damnation's decent platforming sections, but that aside the game simply feels old.