|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Renegade Kid||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
before the Dawn
by Tony Capri
September 18, 2009 - True to their namesake, Renegade Kid is one of the few developers determined to serve up edgier content on the Nintendo DS. After receiving accolades for both the survival-horror adventure, Dementium, and Moon, a sci-fi, first-person shooter, the game makers have once again put their noses to the grindstone to piece together another thrilling ride on the popular handheld system.
Dementium II is a direct sequel to the first game, featuring the same focal character, William Redmoor. Redmoor is a patient at the Bright Dawn Treatment Center (a loony bin), and after undergoing radical brain surgery, he finds himself slipping in and out of an alternate reality - a grim and gruesome world reminiscent of Silent Hill.
For those who haven't experienced the first game, Dementium is an adventure played from the first-person perspective, and if there's anything that can be said for the team at Renegade Kid, it's that they are masters of mood and mechanics. Taking inspiration from Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS), the first Dementium was an incredibly polished machine in terms of controls and atmosphere. Renegade Kid creative director Jools Watsham promises fans a sequel that retains all of Dementium's finest gameplay components, while discarding elements that didn't quite work out the first time around (Nintendo Power, v. 246).
One particular issue of the first game folks were quite vocal about was the almost-broken save system. Though you could essentially save anywhere throughout the adventure, if you died, your save data would be automatically deleted, thrusting you back to the beginning of whatever chapter you happened to be playing through. The folks at Renegade Kid were quick to listen and react to fan feedback, and Dementium II will contain a liberal number of hard-save points, making the adventure much more conducive to gaming on the go.
Other improvements include a Metroidvania-style map - located on the touch screen - that will continuously update your progress. You'll know which areas you've already explored, where locked doors and/or blocked passages are located, and overall, the process of exploration should be a lot less tedious in this latest tour through Dementium's insane asylum.
Additionally, players will be able to make better and more plausible use of both hands in the sequel. Use of a flashlight was an integral part of the first game, both from a gameplay standpoint and in terms of being a powerful mechanic for setting the mood. In Dementium II, you won't be forced to pack up your flashlight when wielding single-handed weapons, though opting to do so will allow you to dual-wield or carry two-handed firearms, such as a shotgun.
Dementium II will feature a slew of new horrors, but unlike the previous outing, you won't always be forced to contend with monsters when revisiting certain areas of the game. Combat seems to be about on par with the first game, and heck, if it ain't broke There are a couple of fresh additions here, however, that should make the process of negotiating Bright Dawn's not-so-bright halls even more entertaining. You'll be able to jump and kneel - both actions mapped to arrow icons located on a side panel of the touch screen. Swapping out weapons has seen a subtle (though novel) change as well; instead of merely clicking on equipment tabs, players will drag the items to the character's hands using the stylus.