Title: Dementium Remastered
Developer: Renegade Kid
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
NA Availability: Digital
EU Availability: Digital (Q1 2016)
Block Usage: 1,022
Handhelds and the horror genre have a very short history. Even throwing the DS, 3DS, PSP, and PS Vita together, you don’t come out with an abundance of horror titles. In this gen, sure, you’ve got horror indies plus Resident Evil: Revelation 1 and 2 which were shooters in horror settings. Then you have Silent Hill Origins, Resident Evil Deadly Silence, and a few others. But for a single system, there just isn’t much out there.
Back in the Nintendo DS and PSP gen, a horror game came out for Nintendo’s console that helped to push along the idea of horror games working on handhelds. That game was called Dementium: The Ward, and was originally an idea pitched at Konami for a Nintendo DS Silent Hill game. However, Konami rejected it and it became Dementium: The Ward instead.
The game did well enough that it got a sequel, both on the Nintendo DS and PC. Past that, the developers deemed it fit to be remade and remastered onto the Nintendo 3DS. So, here we go, horror fans. This is my official review of Dementium Remastered!
The plot of this game follows a man that awakens in a strange hospital. As the game begins, you’re given no background information, so you just awaken in a dark hospital full of gruesome monstrosities. It isn’t later that the plot is revealed to you, which I will not reveal because it will give you lots and lots of end-game spoilers.
For overall plot, there barely is any. Even when you get to the end and things are explained, there is a lot that is not explained. This is a pretty common thing in the horror genre, but I couldn’t help but feel like there should have been more. The lack of more story gave it a “This was just a test to see if we could make a horror game work on a handheld” game.
Dementium Remastered is a first-person horror game with some first-person shooting games thrown into the mix. It could be labeled as either one, but I think there are more horror elements in play than shooting elements. For the sake of the horror genre, let’s call it a horror game with shooting elements. The gameplay mirrors how it was on the Nintendo DS.
Since this is essentially a remake, let’s talk about the changes they made. The original Dementium was a very hard game to get through, and it’s been balanced to be more doable. Enemies no longer respawn when you leave rooms, there are manual save points and there are now dual analog controls, thanks to the New 3DS. In short, it’s been improved by a lot.
As you play the game, you walk from room to room, hoping to eventually find your way out of the hospital you wake up in. To get around, you have to go through doors as well as solve mild puzzles to get key items and fight against enemies and bosses that stand in your way. The majority of the game will be going from room to room and avoiding or fighting enemies. Puzzles and Bosses appear much less often.
Since this is a horror game, the big question on your mind is this: Is the game scary? The answer to that is yes. The game’s environment is very dark and impossible to see to navigate without a flashlight being turned on. You can see what’s right next to you, but everything a few feet in front of you and beyond is pitch black without a light shining on it or lightning from a storm temporarily lighting it up. You have to rely on your flashlight to navigate or sound if you don’t have the flashlight equipped.
This is where some of the tension comes from. The flashlight cannot be equipped at the same time as a weapon, so if there are enemies in the room, the flashlight goes off and you’re left in the dark as the enemy works their way towards you. Enemies hide in secret rooms, in plain sight, or can spawn directly behind you. Because of this, the game has a bunch of jump scares built in. You’re walking along and hear an enemy, not realizing he’s two feet behind you until you turn and see him clawing at your face.
The game’s environment is set in a way that it remains creepy throughout the majority of the game. Every time I was playing for a bit at night (the only proper time to play horror games) and felt like I got a handle on the environment, a new kind of jump scare was thrown in that made me jump. I know some horror fans aren’t into jump scares, but if you play the game in a proper horror setting, you’ll definitely be on edge once you get into it.
One thing that I’ll say about the game that isn’t so bright is that it is repetitive, and this is kind of both a gameplay and presentation thing. The environments are very repetitive because almost every hall in the entire game looks exactly the same as every other hall in the game. The hallways at the beginning of the game and the end of the game are identical. It really feels like there should’ve been more than one type of hallway built into the game.
Now we get to length. Over the course of the game, you’ll be spending around 2-3 hours, depending on how quickly you can progress through it. For today’s age, that isn’t a great amount of length, but given how repetitive the environments are and how little story there is, it’s not a bad balance.
Controls get a little tricky in this game. If you’ve got a Circle Pad Pro or a New 3DS, you’ll have the delight of using the dual analog movement and camera controls. Moving is done with the Circle Pad and the C Stick is used to move the camera, which is a wonderfully comfortable way to play the game. You can also use the face buttons to move the camera. The D-Pad and touch screen can be used to change weapons. Finally, the L and R triggers are used for attacking and interactive with items and doors.
The Z buttons are incorporated into the game as well. The L and R features of attacking and interaction are doubled to the ZL and ZR buttons. Nothing too major for this part, but every New 3DS button is used in this game.
The controls get a little wonky, though, when it comes to switching weapons. You use the D-Pad or the touch screen to switch weapons. Since the game doesn’t pause when you use the D-Pad, you have to strategize where you are or move your right hand away from the controls to use the touch screen when you want a specific weapon equipped. It’s not a terrible hindrance, but it is a bit awkward.
Visually, Dementium has had a nice amount of smoothing happen. There are far less jagged edges in the presentation and, while it wasn’t a complete visual overhaul, it looks really nice. That is tied with the very smooth and flowing frame rate. It’s a flowing 60 frames-per-second, I might add. Quite a nice touch for a handheld game.
With all of its charm, though, there is one downside to the presentation, and that is stability. A few times as I played the game, I had it freeze on me. The game refused to respond to any sort of input. This never froze the entire 3DS system, but just the game. Just be sure to note and think on this as you play the game. Never pass up a single save point as you never know when the game may freeze on you.
Dementium Remastered is every bit as creepy as the original game was on the DS. While the repetitive environments and wonky controls don’t do the game any favors, the improvements and new features make it a worthy purchase for horror fans.