(www.dementium.com) Rated M for Mature by ESRB. It is terrifying enough to wake up from a nightmare. But even worse is a nightmare that cannot be awakened from, as you start questioning if it is just a dream, or the reality. The Dementium sequel developed by Renegade Kid is one of the few horror games for the DS. The first episode, Dementium: The Ward, was a great success when it was released in 2007. Inheriting the similar creepy-bloody environments and monsters, Dementium II once again brings you into the life-threatening experience of William from the previous game. Are you brave enough to face the fear? The nightmare continues.

(www.dementium.com) Rated M for Mature by ESRB. It is terrifying enough to wake up from a nightmare. But even worse is a nightmare that cannot be awakened from, as you start questioning if it is just a dream, or the reality. The Dementium sequel developed by Renegade Kid is one of the few horror games for the DS. The first episode, Dementium: The Ward, was a great success when it was released in 2007. Inheriting the similar creepy-bloody environments and monsters, Dementium II once again brings you into the life-threatening experience of William from the previous game. Are you brave enough to face the fear? The nightmare continues.

**WARNING** The following video may contain content inappropriate for children**

Presentation:
Without giving you much information on where you are or why you are here. You are told only your name, William Redmoor, you are a recent subject of a radical brain operation, and… everything will be fine. Finding yourself in a locked cell, those demons you battled before reappears. You somehow managed to escape the cell with all the surrounding insanity, yet you cannot really tell if it’s you or the world around you that has gone insane. The only thing you know is that, you need to fight your way out to survive!

In terms of content, there is no clear plot or storyline to follow. Rather, you find bits of information here and there. This is brilliant in a way as it gives infinite potential for the player to interpret the story. Are all these just a dream as William fights to survive the surgery? Or is the medical center an evil institution that creates demons? Did William actually kill his wife? There is not a clear answer that you can find in Dementium II (especially the ending. Well, I would keep it a secret).

Interesting enough, William travels between the real world and the world of doom, which gives player access to places that are otherwise locked or blocked. However, William cannot control this ability. This uncertain switch on perception of reality enhances the suspense of the game a lot and brings up a lot of questions to the player. So again, does William really have the special power or all these are just happening within his head?

       

Graphics:
Dementium: The Ward was famous in terms of the graphic quality and mood, Dementium II brings this to a new level. The graphics is crafted in highly detailed 3D environment. From the blood trail on the floor, to the meat hook hanging from the ceiling or the little post card from paradise by… William (?!) Every element is naturally placed in one way yet awfully awkward in another context, therefore constructing the creepiest environment players can expect.

Got tired of wandering in the hospital? Dementium II takes place in variety of settings, from the dim-lit nasty sewer system to the bright-white snowing environment, and of course the horrifying graveyard and so on. The larger variety of surroundings really keeps the gameplay interesting.

How can I forget the main character of the game? Not William, the demons! Such as the walking flesh with its bloody wounds, which approaches with stumbling footsteps and a freakish smile; and the floating heads that start screaming the moment William enters the place. For each of this, you will recognize every detail in the monster, if you dare to stare at them long enough.

Sound:
The sound track is really successful in making the creepy setting even creepier. I especially encourage playing this game with not only music on but with your headphone on. The surround sound will give you a whole new experience than the regular DS speaker. The other reason I encourage playing the game with sounds on is that it functions like an alarm system. Every time a demon pops up, the music switches from the hushed suppressive track to the intense dramatic track. Although the alerts may disappoint those players who are in the “scare-me-if-you-can” club as the music switch is basically saying “hey here I am, shoot me.” But unfortunately there is a rather obnoxious bug that keeps the intense fighting music on even after everything had been killed.

       

Gameplay:
Renegade Kid has made several changes in Dementium II which made the game progressively entertaining. The control is fairly basic. Arrow keys are used for movement and the stylus is used for aiming, though not only for firearms but also the flashlight. In darker locations, the only light source that the player can depend on is the flickering flashlight (Don’t worry. It is not going to go off). This really enhances the frightening experience as the player never know what they are facing, or perhaps a walking death is charging the player as he or she turns the flashlight on. Yet unlike the first Dementium, player can now use the flashlight and one-handed weapon such as knife or revolver at the same time, so player would no longer need to fumble between using flashlight and weapons.

Jumping and crouching are added in Dementium II to improve the level of action in this game. The player would not get stuck behind tables. In fact, couple stages require the player to crouch and jump a bit like in Prince of Persia to escape from the pursuing enemy. Thanks to the stylus-control system, camera is never a problem as it is easily adjusted by a simple move.

Unfortunately, the movement of the monsters are quite predictable, they would simply charge you if you are in their sight. The change of difficultly does not complicate the patterns of their movement but just the number of hits required to take them down. It becomes less and less challenging as time goes by. Fortunately, the increased variety of monsters diminished the boredom of the repeated motions.

       

Innovation:
Even though several changes are made since the first one, the game is still fundamentally the same. Dementium is famous for the horrifying experience with basic elements of shooter and puzzle-solving. The second one is still doing the same job, only better. Nonetheless, the use of jump and crouching does open up some new gameplay potential and I look forward to seeing new additions in the third one.

Longevity:
Longevity seems to be the only major issue, as the main story only lasts about 3 – 4 hours. There are three difficulty levels to choose from and survival mode is added after player completes each chapter. Yet I will be surprised if anyone is thrilling to play it again since everything basically remained the same besides a couple more bullets are required to take down the demons. But then the short game length is also common practice for the horror adventure genre.

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