Damnation review

  • Hilarious dialogue
  • Fresh "verticality" approach
  • Combines shooting and platforming
  • Weak shooting
  • Weak platforming
  • Ugly and buggy

Damnation is a glowing example of how technology in the wrong hands can lead to disaster. Now, when we say this, are we referring to the story, which sees you taking on an army of evil robots in an alternative, steampunk version of the US Civil war? Or are we referring to the fact that Blue Omega have made one of the worst Unreal Engine-powered games we’ve ever seen? Hmm…

It’s hard to believe that Damnation – in all its glitchy, twitchy, and downright fugly glory – was created by the same tech that gave life to Bioshock, Mass Effect and Gears of War. Now, we can forgive the fact that it looks like Gears swallowed a Western and promptly vomited it back out, half digested. After all, flashy visuals aren’t everything. What we can’t overlook, however, is that Damnation feels so bloody awful to play.

Best described as an action platformer, your time is split between shooting and jumping across roofs. Neither element is well executed, and both feel like absolute chores to pull off. Aiming is loose, weapons are far from accurate, and even if you do score a headshot or two (probably using the sniper rifle, the only firearm worth firing) your enemy won’t drop because they’re tougher than 50-year-old jerky. But, of course, they can take you down quick enough.

The platforming is equally awkward largely thanks to the contrived controls. Do we really have to hold RB and press A to jump off a pole? Can we not climb a ladder without pressing A? Do we need two buttons for punch? It’s such a massive effort to explore the numbingly repetitive environments, you’ll resent having to do it; especially when you realize the only reward for exploring is finding 20 useless bonus items. We found most of them, but sadly they didn’t unlock a mode that made the game enjoyable.

So, does the left-field story save Damnation from, er, damnation? We’re going with ‘not one tiny bit’. Although the concept is interesting enough, the characters are detestable 2D cut-outs that wander around looking grizzly, or with their boobs hanging half-out, and spout random hokum with such wooden delivery that every line becomes unintentionally hilarious. As you plough deeper into the steampunk setting it becomes painfully obvious that the plot is the same, timeless, good-versus-evil guff that you’ve heard a hundred times before. It all adds up to one (excuse the pun) epic failure.

May 27, 2009

More Info

Release date: May 26 2009 - PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (US)
May 22 2009 - PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Codemasters
Developed by: Blue Omega
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Language, Violence
PEGI Rating:


  • CreeplyTuna - November 24, 2009 8:20 p.m.

    i played it. not fuuny in any way. i almost cried
  • CreeplyTuna - August 27, 2009 8:40 p.m.

    i have to play this! i'll find a friend who will laugh through the coop campaign with me
  • redsolobird - June 7, 2009 6:37 p.m.

    I have never played this game and am not defending it however could it be that the shooting is good and gamesradar players CANNOT SHOOT i am sayin this because it seems that a recocuring statement in many of your reviews is in accurate shootinh in games such as kane and lynch in which i have now problam pulling of a head shot from a fair distance
  • hospenj - June 5, 2009 12:20 a.m.

    played it and every thing this said is true this game fails horrible
  • FingeredPope - May 28, 2009 9:03 p.m.

    When I heard that Damnnation, originally a UT2K3 mod, was being made into a retail game, I immediately predicted a fail. I discussed it with my buddy and I decided to give them a chance. After all CS started as a Half Life mod and look at it now. But after reading this review I can see my fears came true. Didn't expect to pick it up, now I definitely won't pick it up.
  • ssj4raditz - May 28, 2009 6:26 a.m.

    Damn, and I was looking forward to checking this out.
  • - May 28, 2009 2:36 a.m.

    Hmmm... this game had potential.... I really don't like how grey everything looks >:(
  • lava_lamp - May 28, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    @ChrisCom66- do you judge your purchases on reviews or even just one review?
  • ChrisCom66 - May 28, 2009 1:08 a.m.

    Jesus Christ a 3! Well, thank you gamesradar, i actually considered getting this game. Now i kno it would be a total waste of time
  • GoldenMe - May 28, 2009 12:57 a.m.

    Ouch. This did worse then Caroline. Seriously. I call first.
  • KrizLol - July 4, 2009 1:49 a.m.

    well that's a game i wont buy anytime soon.
  • cubsfan101 - June 13, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    I was at a Hollywood video the other day when i saw this title. Naturally I checked the display case of the game front and back and thought that I might rent it later. But since i checked out its review here, i ain't wasting eight bucks for a lousy game that'll be playing for two minutes.
  • darkvare - May 31, 2009 7:03 p.m.

    i liked the shirt the girl was wearing thats all i have to say about that
  • Yazleb - May 28, 2009 11:04 a.m.

    "We found most of them, but sadly they didn’t unlock a mode that made the game enjoyable" You simply must mention this during TalkRadar 53. The damn quote stings like a comedic bee
  • GR_JustinTowell - May 28, 2009 8:31 a.m.

    Lol - is that guy actually standing by exploding barrels? Sigh. And an appropriate ReCAPTCHA - 'delicately sorehead'. Nice.
  • Craza - May 28, 2009 5:38 a.m.

    Wow, I saw the pictures and I thought that I accidentally clicked on a Fallout 3 review. I mean, seriously, look at those pictures and tell me they don't look a thing like Megaton!

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