Edge Preview: Damnation - Of mods and mimicry in a steampunk old west

Gears Of War has proved a lot more influential than most might ever have expected. Its cover system and controls, its implementation of co-op, its grim aesthetic, even the little things like the relocation of reloading to a bumper, have been readily absorbed into swathes of other games. And, on first impression at least, Damnation, due in Q4 for Xbox 360, PC and PS3, has lifted great sections of it. Its tech-gothic and flying viscera visual style is almost identical, and since Damnation uses Unreal Engine 3 it exhibits the same gritty sheen, though it lacks Gears' polish and detail. The player character carries a similar loadout of four weapons, while presentation shares the peculiar timbre of Gears' sound effects, its typefaces and HUD design, and many aspects of its control system.

That initial comparison is less than useful for understanding Damnation, however, because beyond its nature as a thirdperson shooter it's very different. Indeed, it's a direct successor to an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod that was applauded for its originality (netting itself second place in Nvidia's Make Something Unreal contest, in fact), and produced by a developer that includes that mod's 12-strong core team.

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