Dementium: The Ward for the Nintendo DS is a horror game in the 1st person perspective. Dementium is rated mature, and for good reasons. Think Doom, plus Silent hill and you got Dementium: The Ward.
The game starts out with you in a dark room in a mental ward. Right away, you take control and start exploring the hospital. You start out with a flashlight and a billy club. You make your way going through rooms and killing creatures and searching around. The story lacks in this game, as there isn't much of a storyline to follow. Through the whole game it only gives you very small hints. The cut scenes that you do see help a little, but still the game remains a mystery for a long time. This right here doesn't necessarily make the game suck. The game goes by chapters, and there are a total of 20. The whole game is played in the dark; you only have the flashlight to see your way. At 1st, you encounter only 1 type of creature, which is a zombie creature. As the game progresses, you encounter others which are a bit stronger. The creatures were a bit sneaky in this game and they attack well. Since you play in the dark, you had to be cautious of your surroundings, and you had to be patient in clearing rooms and areas.
A lot of the creatures usually hide in doorways or in corners or around corners out of view. So if you charged in there without being cautious you would die sooner rather than later. And that's a pain in the ass, because if you die, you have to start the chapter all over again. This brings me to my 1st major gripe with this game. There are no random save points. The game saves your progress once a chapter is cleared. So if you were to make it all the way to the end of the map and almost about to finish the chapter and you died, guess what? You gotta start all over again! This was so annoying and made me angry lots of times. I would make it all the way to the end of the chapter or reach a boss, and then die, and then I had to start all over again. The only cool thing they allowed was you can suspend your game. Say you were in the middle of a chapter and you didn't want to play anymore, you can save and quit. Then when you start your game again, you can start off right where you left off. But this is not a viable way to save your game, because once you loaded the game, that save is removed. This is only a temporary save.
The 1st decent weapon you get in the game is a handgun. Later you get weapons such as, a shotgun, buzz saw, sniper rifle, machine gun, etc. Once you get the buzz saw, the billy club becomes useless for melee combat. The Buzz saw is very powerful, and a really good weapon to have if you run out of ammo. The only downside is that is very noisy, and this wasn't a good thing. Because being able to hear around your surroundings was really important. Now, this brings me to yet another problem with the game.
Health and ammo could not be carried. If you saw ammo lying around or medicine bottles for health, you can only take what you need. If for instance, you are missing a few bullets for your handgun, it will replenish what you are missing, but the rest stays there. So in some cases, if you ran out of ammo, you couldn't reload it until you found a supply lying around. This was also the case with your health. The good thing is, in the beginning of the game, medicine bottles and ammo are lying around almost everywhere. But as the game goes on, it starts to become more scarce.
As you progress even further into the game, you will encounter different creatures, I counted 7 different types of creatures in this game. The most standard is the zombie. Then there is like this zombie torso creature that can climb on walls and crawl on the ground. This creature could spit green stuff at you that caused damage and also slowed your movement. Then there are these slug-like creatures that basically come out of vents and walls, and the ceiling. All could be killed different ways, some weapons made it easier to kill certain enemies, while others made it a little harder, but there was 2 in particular that were a pain in the ass, because they couldn't be killed. The 1st one was cockroaches; they would come in swarms out of the ground or walls, and try to come at you. You couldn't kill them, but with your flashlight shined on them they can be scared away. And the other was this flying bug, which came in swarms also. I never found out a way how to repel these but for the most part, you didn't encounter them that often. Also, some of the time I would just run from these creatures. They were a waste of time, they slowed you down, and of course they caused damage to you.
As you get deeper into the game you start encountering more numbers of creatures than previous. Like in the 1st few chapters, you might encounter a zombie hear and there, but later you encounter several in one place. You also get a variety of all creatures. Since the game was played in the dark and your vision is a bit hindered, and since the creatures are a bit sneaky, this all slowed the game down a bit, because you didn't want to die often. So basically, you had to clear rooms and areas one by one just to be safe. This brings me to yet another problem about this game. The creatures always respawned. If you cleared a room, then later came to a dead end, and had to go back a few rooms, the monsters you killed previously will be there again. This really wasn't a major problem except that if you were close to dying, this would cause a risk of you actually dying.
The level layouts were a bit annoying as well. They were pretty much the same designs with a little mix up. What was extremely annoying was if there was a door you needed to get to, even if it was close by, there was always a barricade blocking you. There were lots of areas barricaded. This made you have to go a long way around just to get to an area you needed to get to. Sometimes it would be all in vain. Sometimes you would go through the trouble to get to a certain area and find out it's a dead end. Sometimes they had corridors or rooms in certain sections of the map that led to nothing. I didn't understand this, there would absolutely be NOTHING. Not even supplies.
There was a few interesting puzzles in the game. They consisted of solving a riddle, or deciphering a code or finding a special item. In the beginning of the game you get a notepad that you can jot down clues and numbers to help you solve puzzles.
The game had several boss fights. Almost every boss fight you would die at your 1st try. This was annoying because you had to start the whole chapter all over again. The bosses weren't extremely tough, but they all had a trick to them. Once you figured out their pattern and their weakness, they were easily killed.
The story lacked a lot in this game. But it wasn't necessarily bad. I think the reason for this was intentional, this kept you wondering and wanting to know more and wanting to figure out what is going on. You only were hinted a few times and some of the cut scenes opened up more to the story. But still, it left it a mystery up until the end of the game.
The learning curve in this game takes some time to get used to. At 1st, it may seem a bit annoying, but after time you get used to it. With the D pad, it moves your character forward, back, and side to side. But you need the stylus to control your aim and line of sight. If you just move the D pad, it will only move in those directions, but your character will still be looking one direction the whole time. So the D pad and stylus have to work in conjunction with each other. It is sometimes annoying like I said, but it gets easier as time goes on. On the lower screen of the DS, it shows your health and weapons, as well as menus you can click such as items, options etc. Since the entire game is in the dark, you have to have your flashlight on to see anything, and the crappy part is that if you have to use a weapon, you have to un-equip the flashlight and select your weapon. But the touch menu on the bottom screen helps, because all you have to do is click from one to the other. So basically, you can't have your flashlight on you and be holding a weapon at the same time; this was one thing I didn't like. Your characters movement is kind of slow too, but you can run. You did this by tapping up on the D pad twice and then holding it on the second tap.
The graphics here were decent. Not the best that the DS offers, but still decent. What really hurt the graphics were the same old designs. The creatures were not amazingly interesting, and the designs of the levels seemed redundant. The designs of the levels were recycled a lot; the layouts for most parts were the same, just a few mix ups here and there. However, the cut scenes were pretty good, but there wasn't many.
The music in this game wasn't really great, but it was decent. The sound however, was good. Every creature you encountered made a distinct noise, and this was helpful to know whether creatures were nearby and what creatures they were. The sounds they made were both creepy and annoying. A few in particular, made these screaming/screeching sounds that were loud. The musical side of the game was played low in the background; sometimes you didn't even notice music. This was kind of good because I thought it was better that you were able to hear the sounds rather than music, because the sounds helped you. The sounds from your weapons were good, but one weapon in particular was very noisy, and because of this you would want to un-equip it when it wasn't in use. Sometimes in certain areas or rooms, you will hear creepy stuff. Sometimes you would hear a little girl crying, or a monster making a noise that's not even there, or screaming, all this made the game pretty chilling. So I guess you can say the sound was a key element of this game. Not only did it make the game scarier, it was important for your combat.
The replay value pretty much sucks. I don't see any reason to replay this game other than if a long time has passed and you are bored, and just want to try it again. The only thing that might make you want to replay it right away is that you might want to see the ending once more. Since the story was spotty and mysterious, the ending is really what it boils down to and what gives the game its whole reason. Since the ending is a bit strange and it might take you a few moments to understand it, you might want to watch it again to get a better understanding.
Dementium is an interesting game. It has a few flaws, but it makes up for it with its mysterious and chilling game play. The game is rated mature and I think for good reason. Expect to be startled at times and creeped out. Several times I was startled and freaked out on certain cut scenes and sounds in the game. This game pretty much just fools with your mind. The game doesn't really give you much to go on and you keep playing to discover the mystery. With this, the game could either be sucky, or it could be brilliant, you decide. The ending is kind of bizarre, and it takes you a moment to realize what happened. The ending is also a double-edged sword. It's bad and good, either you are going to say: Ah, that was corny!" or you are going to say: "Wow, that's crazy!" I liked the ending, and it really slaps you in the face. Because throughout the game it leaves you hanging, it all leads up to the ending in which it ties the whole game together at that very moment. Although, the ending was short, I wanted to play the last chapter again just to see the ending again. The whole game took me about 5 hours to beat. So here it is, Dementium: The Ward, take it or leave it!