So, just to catch everyone up – I have to continue playing Damnation, per my own rules.
I stayed too long, stared into the devils eyes, confident I had him beat, until I realized how foolish I’d been. I played, accidentally, for two hours. One of my rules? Play over two hours and I have to finish the game, or play for at least ten hours. Truly, I am damned.
Why? Because Damnation is horrible. It’s a third person shooter where the shooting mechanics will make you want to shoot yourself. It controls so poorly that it would actually be easier to shoot yourself then shoot someone in-game.
With no other resort, I’ve sought solace in an alternate universe copy of world where the game is based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, and you can’t kill anyone – hell you can’t even shoot anyone. Rourke here is a pacifist, a Quaker, dedicated to non violence – but still seeking to help the war effort however he can.
Or, faced with a shit game, I created an elaborate batshit back story so I could make a bunch of jokes about the plot, write poorly in an attempt at Cormac McCarthy’s prose, and devote myself to a completely bonkers play-style – no shooting people, no killing, lots of running and jumping.
Definitely not the latter.
“The mountains of glass and metal were brittle and fallen and all around lying were the crumpled forgotten the howls of their finality filling the broken city of Arrow Wood.
The kid covered his eyes so to see across the harsh luminosity. Fires burning from instruments firing shot and damnation across the battlefield.
He started forward across the dying plain. He was a Quaker. A peace warrior.
Excerpt from Damnation the Novel.
I’ve introduced you to the primary three characters last time, However, here’s a quick breakdown with any changes between the two worlds.
Rourke – Our main character – born and raised in Rhode Island as a member of the religious society of friends, Rourke was a conscientious objector during the Civil War. During Lord Prescott’s rise to power, however, he killed everyone Rourke knew and loved. Though Rourke swore never to take another life, he was now compelled by his hatred to seek retribution in any way possible. Joining the resistance, Rourke was granted special jumping abilities by their scientists and stereotypical Native American medicine men. With these new powers, Rourke was able to leap, like, two times as high as a normal man. He was also able to run slightly faster than an average man! And also take a lot (like, a lot) of bullets in the face without dying!
Rourke’s new powers, were an abject failure. A Quaker who can jump pretty ok, isn’t going to win many wars. Still, the top Brass at the resistance had spent time and money on Rourke – so they sent him on a suicide mission into the middle of enemy territory, in the hopes that he might disrupt a few things, get shot and die.
However, while Rourke is determined not to kill, he’s also determined not to die. If anyone can find a way to win a war solely by jumping on shit, it’s our hero!
Yakecan – Still breasts all over the place. I checked to see if Cormac McCarthy had written anything that verified her ridiculous outfit, and found the following:
They rode the three with the wind brushing as is right, speaking in the inmost heart. The heat that barbarous heat of the day sizzled the ground water and the hooves of their horses cracked the clay and Yakecan looked out on the plain and drew breath into her which rose and fell and with each subtle inhalation her breasts almost came out of their cover as they were bound loosely and with little over them showing underboob.
So yeah, it’s subtle and classy now.
Winslow – Winslow wears a Turtleneck! That’s all I got:
Our heroes are in enemy territory, on their way to meet a contact in the resistance.
Here we get to see Rourke’s skill set in action as he jumps, ducks, jumps and pulls levers – thrilling stuff. Our heroes make their way through the desolate city of Arrow Wood, with Winslow commenting their entire journey, just as he does in the video. He is a fount of information, and a general treasure. The three arrive at a zipline, which we can’t see because I couldn’t figure out my video software at that point, and as a zipline involves jumping and hanging, Rourke ziplines the shit out of it.
Landing, they find themselves face to face with the enemy – and Rourke executes Pacifist strategy alpha: Run around like a chicken with its head cut off, take a small factory worth of bullets to the head and chest area, and then hide.
Two things to note in this video:
- 22 seconds in, one of my squadmates eats it. I’m not sure which one, because I’m frantically hoofing it with clouds of blood spraying out of Rourke’s arteries, and I don’t have time for that shit – so we leave them lying in a pool of their own blood. Don’t worry though, Winslow and Yakecan also have extreme endurance, and they also can teleport, as we’ll see later.
- At about 28 seconds, Rourke stumbles and jumps directly into a wall like a drunk gymnast with cataracts – graceful but melancholic – this is to be expected, he’s been shot in the head a lot, I imagine that does damage to your motor control.
After shaking the cobwebs off, we run into the lair of the beast, the bullets fly, and Rourke deftly soaks them up with his body. I manage to get up to the top of a pole, and jump across. Once there, I find a moment of poignancy I wasn’t expecting.
That guy jumping towards me there? That’s an enemy. He had a gun, and could have shot me while I was crossing, or while we were both hanging, but instead he chose to hang out next to me on the ledge, and then move on. I’d like to think my pacifism is rubbing off on the enemy, however after making this jump, and ending up in another firing zone, it’s clear this isn’t the case. Bullets start flying, and I’m forced to jump for my very life.
I took a longer video to show a little more of the “parkour” system in this game. As I mentioned before, it’s actually not bad and trying to pull off a successful run through the architecture when you’re constantly on the verge of death adds a level of urgency to the game that wouldn’t be there normally.
That’s the general gist of platforming in this game, it’s mostly hanging on ledges, jumping to ledges, and swinging. There isn’t a specific path you need to take, but rather a number of options, which is admirable design, it also seems like all you need to do to move on is run past the enemies and make it to the next point so it seems like I might actually be able to pull of this pacifist run after all. Also please note, Professor Winslow is nowhere near by when I start the video, but by the time I’ve made it on the ledge he’s there. What you don’t see, and what I was able to confirm in between videos, is that he was the one i needed to save earlier from the brink of death. Obviously he has teleportation abilities.
Anyways, back to the game, we’ve been left on a cliffhanger, will Rourke make the jump?
When you die from a jump the screen goes blue and you restart from a point near where you fell off. When you get shot you have to reload entirely. I do not know why the game was designed this way, but it’s a pain in the ass. Also, side note, listen to Winslow throwing shade – “You’ve done well, I knew you would” as he watches Rourke fall to his death. What a dick.
Our trio finally makes it to our destination, and we meet our contact – Ramone – who lives in America, in a city known as Tere Verde, but who, despite being born and raised in America, has a terrible French accent.
When the kid leapt the stone wall a man lurched to his feet and glared. Cowards sons of dogs he said sending machines to do your bidding, fight like men, then he looked at the kid. Thank god, I thought everyone was dead, he said.
Out of the undefined darkness the Professor stepped. I’m Professor Charles Winslow, this is Captain Hamilton Rourke of the Coalition and Yakecan daughter of Killcannon. Professor Winslow, said the man, Ramone Sefarious Sagato. Son of his eminence governor Sefarious Sagato at your service, the man said. He spat. Rourke, I’ve heard of you, he said.
The solitary man shook with drink, and behind him the dancing eyes of the enemy edged out the world. Where are the rest of your men said Winslow. Ramone shook and looked down to stone. There are no other men. My father is an old and stubborn man, he believes Prescott is his friend. I came without his blessing, I have wiped the bridge clean of these motherless sons twice already, by alrights I…
Should be dead said Winslow. Their fried on Serum Yakecan said.
Ramone tilted his head towards her, Serum he said, but she did not speak. She spoke little this woman with the rage and fire of the people in her, the light removed from their eyes as the fabric from under her breasts.
A highly addictive substance, Winslow answered him. Developed during the war by PSI to enhance a soldiers stamina strength and capacity to kill.
Yakecan spat. Makes them ten times stronger and crazy as hell.
Excerpt from Damnation the Book by Cormac McCarthy
He has such a way with dialogue Mr. McCarthy does. All the same naturalistic and poetic dialogue appears in the same scene in the game too – it’s a marvel.
With the players all set, a large cannon of some sort shows up and has to be destroyed, and it is here that it is truly here that Peace Warrior Rourke can shine.
With the bridge blown – but no one dead – Rourke and Co. have succeeded! But, what’s this! Professor Winslow has been kidnapped!
We’ll go after him in our next entry of: Alternate World Pacifist Let’s Play of: Cormac McCarthy presents: Damnation – The Videogame Adaptation of the Novel