Dementium: The Ward | Review

Dementium: The Ward | Review

“Listening to the sounds echo throughout each of the hallways creates an unnerving level of tension each time you enter a new area.”

Back in 2007, I was working at GAME here in the UK. The Nintendo DS had been out for around 2 years at this point and it had some games that were addictive. Being a long-time horror fan though, the DS never really had those true-to-life horror games that we have all come to enjoy over the past few years. Imagine my surprise one day when I was unpacking delivery and stumbled across this game called “Dementium: The Ward“. The front cover was blood red, and the back showed off a first-person perspective, with exploration and combat. I was sold from that very moment. The only copy that we received was quickly purchased and became the only game I would play for weeks. Now here we are in 2024, 17 years later and developer Atooi has remastered it for modern consoles with a huge facelift. But how does it hold up all these years later?

ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!


These guys aren’t your usual slow walkers.

Things I liked!

  • Lighting and Atmosphere | This is where Dementium: The Ward shines. Overall, its presentation is superb with the lighting and ambiance pulling you in. The game is purposefully dark with you only being able to see 2 feet in front of you. Equipping your flashlight will allow you to see wider angles and further into the distance. This will be equipped most of the time. Since it takes up a weapon slot, you will need to swap it out when you need to fight which reduces your visibility. Some rooms with huge windows show the rain and thunder outside, with occasional flashes lighting up the room. This creates a thick atmosphere filled with dread as you navigate tight corridors with low visibility. Listening to the sounds echo throughout each of the hallways creates an unnerving level of tension each time you enter a new area.
  • Horrifying Sounds | Dementium: The Ward has a great atmosphere. Combine that with the fact your visibility is limited and the creepy sounds that echo throughout the halls, and you have something that makes you feel frightened to walk around. Each of the enemies has its signature sound, with walkers exuding a low guttural roar when idle, and a scream when they find you. Parasites have this uncanny crying sound that makes me think of babies, except they cling to walls and attack from all directions. Even the environmental sounds are spooky. The flash of thunder that lights up the room for a mere second sounds realistic and adds a lot to the overall presentation. Music is well utlised also. Exploration music is a dull loop of piano and guitar but fits well, and each time a boss appears it kicks it up a notch to a more energetic psychological tone reminiscent of Silent Hill.

  • The Enemies | Enemy design is still great with the flying heads still being equally petrifying and difficult to fight off. Enemies look disgusting and freakishly fitting for the environment with a wide range of different enemies to flee from and fight. Some of the enemies also have variations such as the walkers and parasites which also come in a green variant and spew poison over you. Bosses also stand out from the rest of the cast as being a lot larger as well and more menacing with their design standing center stage creating a memorable encounter.

  • The Controls | The controls have been updated and feel very similar to a modern first-person shooter. Movement is done with the left analogue stick while look/aim is on the right. You can choose between three different control options that swap stick and trigger functions, and you can also invert the Y-axis if you wish. All are fairly standard. There are no touchscreen controls, however. Dementium: The Ward controls pretty well overall and you can adjust the aiming sensitive to your liking in the options menu.

  • Performance | 60fps performance is the norm here and it delivers a smooth, stable gameplay experience constantly. Loading is also fast so you can get back into the action quickly. The same goes for navigating through the hospital as well. While this isn’t a good design choice, the short transition from one area to the next is quick and painless. But more on that aspect below.

Enemies cling to the ceiling & will attack from above.

Neither good nor bad

  • The Combat | Combat is still pretty much the same from the 2007, and 2015 releases of Dementium: The Ward. While it is serviceable for a horror game, the age of the game does show since there is never really any deviation from enemies who spot you just run at you and hit you. It’s very basic and I would have liked to have seen an update to this since games have progressed a lot in these areas. Your character takes damage and as your heart rate lowers you must find painkillers to build your health back up. The weapons themselves are also still the same and offer simple damage increases over certain weapons. What I do like however is the fine line between being able to see and being able to fight. Dementium: The Ward is a dark game and you will be constantly swapping out your flashlight and weapons to see where the threat is coming from.
  • Boss Fights | Boss fights unfortunately also suffer from similar issues when it comes to combat. In most cases, you will spend the majority of your time simply running around in circles shooting, running back and shooting, or simply running towards them shooting. All bosses are felled the same way by eliminating their health bars. While it does break up the casual exploration and normal combat sections of the game, the bosses don’t offer any creative or different ways to kill them making these encounters a little lackluster at times.

We want YOU! To play this game.

Things I disliked!

  • Loading Between Rooms | Despite being able to quickly load between each section whenever you interact with the door, there are often far too many times when this needs to be done, and in some sections can feel like this is all you are doing. You are constantly navigating between each area and it gets a bit tedious. Given how well the game is optimised, I would wager that these areas could have been made larger overall to reduce the amount of time you are taken out of the game just to open a door.

How long did I play the review before publishing? 6 hours
How long to beat the story? 6 hours
How many Achievements did I earn before publishing? There are no achievements on Nintendo Switch
How long to achieve 1000G | n/a
You’ll love this game if you like these | Dementium 2, Fatal Frame, System Shock


65/100 ⭐ Making the decision to port over the 2015 Dementium: The Ward core game from the Nintendo 3DS was a smart move given how the eShop is now over. However, with very little quality of life improvements such as lack of giro aiming and aging combat, Dementium: The Ward is now starting to show its age. With no additional content added and minor visual overhauls, this port of Dementium: The Ward won’t appeal to newcomers.