Last month, we talked about the announcement of a Dementium: The Ward remaster for the Nintendo Switch.
At the time, I said that as part of this October’s celebration of spooky games, I might play either that or the 3DS version I already had. Well, I decided to play the 3DS version, Dementium Remastered.
My first thought upon starting up Dementium was, “Oh, this game will benefit from having a right stick to control the camera,” since camera controls were otherwise relegated to either the face buttons or the touchscreen on my old 3DS. Nevertheless, I eventually got used to using the stylus to aim.
You also use the stylus to write notes in your notebook, and that’s one of its best features. I loved actually writing down notes about puzzles, lock combinations, etc. in the notebook, so it’s a shame that mechanic is presumably cut from the new remaster. It’s a small touch, but one that makes the game feel a bit more unique.
Combat in Dementium plays like a first-person shooter, with several weapons you obtain along the way. You can’t hold a flashlight and a weapon at the same time, so a considerable amount of tension is added from needing to quickly switch to a weapon when you see an enemy approaching. I found it beneficial to avoid certain enemies, especially since you can only use healing items right when you find them.
Bosses are especially dangerous. Without being able to bring healing items to a boss fight with you, you really need to stay alert. One boss fight was so frustrating it nearly soured my view on the whole game.
Dementium is split into chapters, and the chapters are pretty much separate from one another. At first, I assumed I would be revisiting areas often, but that’s not the case. Backtracking is minimal and mostly occurs within the same chapter. You might see a locked box at the start of a chapter, and then spend the chapter finding what you need in order to unlock it, before moving on to a different area for the next chapter.
The backtracking can be somewhat annoying, though, because the map doesn’t mark blocked hallways. It was common for me to follow what looked like a path back to where I wanted to return to, only to find it blocked and need to take a long way around.
This factors into another flaw – the level design is kind of boring. There are a lot of areas where sections are blocked off so there’s only one way to go, and the small number of puzzles means most rooms are either empty or contain only health and/or ammo. The story is minimal and difficult to follow, too.
While this might sound like I’ve done nothing but complain about Dementium all this time, I actually had a decent time with it. The gameplay wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t bad, either. And the audio design was great; I often could tell what enemies were in a room with me just from the sounds I heard, and could plan accordingly. That aforementioned frustrating boss also had me using audio cues to determine when I should act.
Dementium is the sort of game I found to be just fine. I’m not jumping up and down to recommend it to people, but I still enjoyed playing it. Maybe someday we’ll take a look at its sequel, Dementium II.---
If you want posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, enter your email in the box below to subscribe!