Hmm, the demo is a mixed bag.
Visually it looks nice, but there are a crap-tonne of aliasing artefacts. No AA modes work, forced or otherwise on my ATI 4870x2. Even if it did geometry aliasing isn't the biggest issue, it's the alpha aliasing from the trees/foliage and the shader aliasing from the normal and parallax mapping are the biggest eyesores, textures shimmer a lot when viewed from oblique angles.
Gameplay mechanics seem fairly solid, the combat isn't overly deep but it's not bad either. It's a simple one button mashing affair for attack with some dodge/block worked in (not that you seem to need it) and there's some basic combo mechanics that work in with the talents you gain from levelling up. There are also some nice touches with the movement mechanics. You can't acidently run off cliffs and fall to your death but you're not artifically boxed in either, if you willfully jump off a cliff you'll surely meet the expecations that follow. Movement speed is automatically adjusted when moving from indoors to outdoors which works really well as indoors things are usually more compact and there's more details and objects to interact with.
Talking to NPCs is clunky, it fades to black then fades back in every time you talk to someone and there's really no reason for it. In a similar fashion, looting seems to snap the camera angle around to off points for no apparent reason as well. There is no first person view (kinda annoying when using ranged weapons) and you can't adjust the camera distance from your avatar.
Foliage like small shrubs seems to fold into an invisible dimension as you approach it which, in a game rendered in a realistic fashion, is rather distracting. I understand why it happens, but it seems like a 1 step forward 2 backwards kinda deal.
Sadly, the biggest issue is the story and voice acting. This part of the game is I-would-rather-drive-a-railroad-spike-into-my-eye kind of terrible. For a single player RPG that really doesn't bode well. Most often you're only given a single dialouge choice, there's no selection or "flavour" offered like in other RPGs so there's not really any "role" playing here, it's all "roll" playing mechanics foo. What's worse is that the full dialogue text is thrown up on screen for you to click (even if you only have one option) and then your avatar delivers the line even though you've already read it. 9 times out of 10 it'll sound better in your head than the voice acting of the main character you play - mouldy bread has more charisma than the actor they cast for this guy and the rest of the characters in the game are often a lot worse. All the dialogue is "stand and deliver", stilted and painful.
Well, perhaps that's a bit harsh, its not really any worse than ye old SNES RPGs, but that kind of stilted dialogue in a realistically rendered environment with voiced characters just seems so very creepy-bad-wrong it's not funny. NPC animations are dull, they barely move, and there's just no flow to conversations. It's like watching a play being acted out by 6 year olds who have barely managed to remember their lines. If you've played Dragon Age or any of the Mass Effect games then you'll really struggle to look past these flaws.
A pitty, because there's a great foundation for a game here, but the story and NPC interaction really spoils it. If you can indulge in enough of the good elements to forgive the poor voice acting then it's defiantly worth checking out.
Last edited by Drac; 14th October 2010 at 12:42 AM.