Back to the Early Access freight train – woo woo! This week I’m taking another look at an early access phenomenon known as Damned. It’s a randomized online horror game for up to 5 players (4 survivors and 1 monster) playing a glorified game of hide and seek in various haunted locations such as hotels, hospitals and factories. The survivors need to find keys and codes in order to escape the building and the monster is trying to trap and kill them. Whilst playing the game, you’ll often find yourself on the edge, hearing and seeing ghostly things.
What I like about the game is that it explores the sense of defenselessness against the supernatural and having no way to protect themselves. I like this concept when it’s done right, and Damned comes close at times to doing just that.
The main issue with Damned is that it falls dreadfully short of anything worth buying. I was one of the poor saps that bought into a concept, a very good concept and it’s marketed incredibly well. However, the actual game itself seems like that of a strange experiment, using Python (usually used for teaching programming to students) as it’s primary code. What’s even more strange is that on start up, we see some of the code running, rather than a splash screen or a nice graphic to hide it. Then the gameplay itself, whilst being hectic and random, is a little unsettling, not just because of the monster and the atmosphere, but down to simple physics and controls not being implemented correctly. We often see objects that we cannot pick up, although you can see them flashing. We often see doors that don’t want to open, even when we’ve unlocked them. We often see the monster just RANDOMLY spawning in front of players, with no special spawn effect, just BAM – it’s there.
The hardest thing to criticize about this game is the community. The game didn’t sell incredibly well so there are very few players who actually play the game, and since the game is a multiplayer only title, with no way to play single player – you require other people in order to play this, and most people who play this game are playing with friends in a locked down, password protected lobby. So finding a lobby in order to actually play the game is the worst part about this game. And there’s nothing you can do either. If you don’t know anyone who actually owns this game, I seriously wouldn’t waste your time. Since the game is in early access, it’s not a finished game. But it’s not even close to being a completed game, let alone an enjoyable one. Not many games in this day and age are so bad that you seriously wouldn’t buy it during a summer sale or something alike. I have had trouble GIVING copies of this game away. I bought the 5 pack in order to review the game, but the few people who took a copy either couldn’t stand it, or had trouble running it. Now, the game isn’t resource heavy, or anything – it’s just poorly optimized.
Ryan Griffiths is a British gamer, known as a bit of a lone wolf. Retro games are his passion, with newer releases not living up to his expectations. Of course there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to Dynasty Warriors & Total War games.