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PAX 08: Damnation

PAX 2008

Among the less traveled paths of PAX, Damnation leaned against a wall in the corner of the Codemasters booth with its hat tipped down and fingers on the triggers. Unfortunately, many people seemed to be overlooking this stylish shooter when we stopped by, which is a real shame. Damnation looks like it could be shaping up to be something very interesting in a genre full of rather similar games.

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In this alternate universe western, you take the role of the gunslinger who has taken it upon himself and his two cohorts to take on a rich industrialist bent on taking advantage of the Civil War. Described by the developers as a “vertical shooter,” the game doesn’t focus solely on gunplay, but rather the landscape and how that can shape a battle.

Landscapes in Damnation are vast, offering a variety of routes to take to the objective, which are how levels are completed. Players can either blast straight through the opposing armies, or take an alternate route. As the game progresses levels become even bigger, offering more and more possible routes. There aren’t any preset paths, the only condition is that the player reach the goal at the end of the level. This is where the vertical shooter part comes in, in a sort of western meets parkour kind of way. Running through the various structures and buildings, you’ll be able to climb poles, scale walls, hang off cliffs, and leap giant gaps, among other feats. At times it can feel almost Assassin’s Creed-esque, but with guns. This allows you to reach vantage points where you can get the drop on the enemy or just walk on by if you don’t even need to engage them at that point.

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The demo itself was still a bit unpolished, menus and subtitles and such will probably be updated, as they’re a bit bland right now. However, the main concept is great, and objects to climb and grapple are obvious without being intrusive or sticking out too much. Western lovers will definitely want to check this title out, but Damnation is unique enough that most anyone should at least give it a look, western fans or not.

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in October 2007.

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