Dementium II is what a sequel should be; improving on what first had to offer and then some. First thing you'll notice is the fantastic sound effects and quality voice acting. The folks working in the audio department are real wizards. Ambiance and "CLANK CLANK CLANK" effects is something I've always enjoyed in a horror game and Renegade Kid delivered.
Lighting is more varied; areas can be well-lit, dim, pitch black (the trusty flashlight returns). The layout is more open than the narrow halls you have to navigate through in the first Dementium. You're not stuck in a crummy old hospital anymore! Now, with much detail, you're free to explore a bit in the outdoor in snow, caves, a netherworld that has a green sky with clouds that move really fast and more. You can stretch your legs (actually, you can jump and crouch - a new feature in the series) in these new areas, very helpful when enemies start to crowd around you.
Enemies are more diverse this time around in both design and attacks. The Screaming Heads and wrangling bodies returns, but you'll also get security guards whacking the shit out of you as well as shooting you occasionally. There's also this cool cthulhu-looking monster. Best of all, when you backtrack (you'll be doing quite of bit of that this time around) the enemies DON'T respawn. You'll have to kill a certain amount to advance to the next area at some points, but they will not return when you return to an area. Repawning enemies was something that took the joy out of a bit in the first game.
Something else added to Dementium II that makes it leaps and bounds more fun: SAVE POINTS. In the first game, when you died you had to start from the beginning of the chapter, something that was a major pain and pissed you off when you made some progress. None of that here in DII. There are quite a few save spots evenly and appropriately scattered throughout the game, thank you very much! When you die you start from the last save point, which is MUCH better than starting from the beginning of the chapter. I believe this was a feature noted from Renegade Kid's last game on the DS, Moon.
Controls are same, which works well. You can see the man behind the game show you a bit of it himself:
Some might say the game is a bit short (I clocked in at a little over five hours). The way I see it, when you take out the annoying aspects of the first game (i.e. restarting from the start of the chapter after you die, etc.) what you get is a solid gameplay experience with a nice flow, through and through. Basically, the fat cut out and leaving in the juicy bits. If, however, you insist having a game be a certain length to be worth your time, just keep that in mind.
There are three difficulty options (easy, normal, hard) and "Survival" where you take on enemies and move on to next area till you die. More ares are unlocked as you advance in the actual game.
Controls: Right or left handed
Y Axis Invert: on or off
Subtitles: on or off
Double tap jump: on or off
Brightness: normal, bright, brightest
Sound effects: normal, quiet, off (are you mad?!)
music: normal, quiet, off
Fans of first game, have at it. If you're new to the series, note that this is a much improved gameplay experience and you won't have to dig into too much history as the first game didn't offer to much of a story. I can sum it by saying that there is a British dude that just loves to jerk you around, and there's bits of the main character's history you piece together. In Dementium II, the story continues, or rather what's left of it, but then it brings up more questions as well. Hopefully, this leaves an open for Dementium III? matty hopes so!