Explore the Shadowlands in our review of The Dark Eye - Demonicon

Explore the Shadowlands in our review of The Dark Eye - Demonicon

One universe definitely on the way up in the video gaming world is that of the cult German roleplaying world of The Dark Eye, it's actually the biggest roleplaying game in Germany! If you're a fan you generally tend to find that the games created in the world tend to be very similar, until now! Demonicon may just be the game you've been waiting for! Don't worry if you've never heard of The Dark Eye before, Demonicon offers a rich universe and story that anyone can enjoy!

The Dark Eye — Demonicon is a third-person action-RPG built upon real-time battles and a deep story based around the circumstances of a brother and sisters birthright. Unlike most roleplaying games, you won't be able to physically change your characters due the game's importance on story and character, but you can train them up in various talents to help aid you through the game and ensure that you cut through those that stand in your way.

An epic roleplaying story in The Dark Eye - Demonicon

In The Dark Eye - Demonicon you play as Cairon; a young and fairly average warrior whose always had a bit of a strange relationship with his sister Calandra, perhaps a bit too close, to make matters even stranger the two were always told to never mix their blood, the sort of advice you always get when growing up. Unfortunately after a great battle in the tunnels of Moloch Mountain the fated blood exchange takes place and something awakens in the two of them, they are unsure what the true consequence is, but Cairon is gifted with the ability to cast magic. Through a journey of discovery and a lot of deceit, the two will find that their destined purpose in the world that may not be exactly what they were hoping for.

One of the best aspects of the game is Demonicon's attachment to the Dark Eye universe which turns the games story into an incredibly enthralling tale, fans of the age-old roleplaying game will find familiarities in the places they visit, the religions and people you come across and most important the lore in the game. Now this isn't to say that only scholars of the Dark Eye will enjoy the game's rich universe, far from it in fact, and as someone who doesn't know the first thing about the cult roleplaying game I was simply pleased to find a game rooted in such an intense setting, better yet if anything does peak your interest whilst playing through, there's a wealth of information to be found in the game's codexes!

One of the core features of Demonicon is the decision and consequences that you will face throughout the game, you'll generally be picking one particularly grim choice to another equally bleak one, such as who shall own a brothel; the city guard that will undoubtedly stem the flow of business, or the shady cartel who will allow brutal practices and a crude kind of necrophilia to take place, they lay you with some fairly tough decisions, which is oh so great to experience! However much like games promising consequence in the past, your choices never really change much, sure they make immediate differences, but nothing really echoes on into the story. That said a few of the choices you do get are rather powerful, and they do help to make the user feel as though they will shape and change the world you inhabit, it's just a shame you aren't around long enough to see them take place.

Dialogues in The Dark Eye - Demonicon

If you're the kind of player that likes to really invest in their character you'll be happy to know that Cairon can be specifically tailored, whilst you can't change his class, you can adjust all manner of specialisations such a plant lore, medicine or fast talking, these will all aid you subtly as you play through the game, however other than general Lore and perhaps fast talking, they all feel quite downcast due to the very linear nature of the Shadowlands that you will explore, and the player is never really made clear exactly what they should be spending their elusive AP points on, especially when you consider that the game gives you three different pages that you can spend them in. It results in your character development feeling a bit all-over-the-place, and it really demands a second play through once you've figured out what you want to follow.

One aspect I did really enjoy in Demonicon is the combat system, it's not your average snore-inducing hack-n-slash, instead strikes with your weapons must be evenly paced in order to keep your combos going, I find its well-timed combo requirements similar to that of Phantasy Star Online, except you can keep your combo going and going, and going with added parries, dodges, long-ranged throwing knives and the odd magical spell to give Cairon a special buff. Basically if you're a fan of heavy and hefty warrior classes in games, then you'll be pleasantly surprised with Demonicon, however the magic system leaves a little to be desired.

Cairon's magical gift isn't particularly bountiful, in fact it only gives you access to four spells, Nova, Ice Lance, Blight and Demonic Aura each spell is pretty slow at casting, and you'll often find them interrupted when you attempt to cast. You can however upgrade your spells to the next tier for better effect, but it's not quite as straightforward as it sounds, upgrading to the next tier is the same as learning a new spell, so all the extra perks you may have added to make your spells that little bit more special are rendered useless, lost and forgotten about! This is not to say that the magic in the game is useless, far from it, as a well timed Ice Lance or Nova will easily turn a fight to your advantage, but they feel far too compromising to use at times, which is unfortunate.

Beastly bosses in The Dark Eye - Demonicon

Demonicon will see you fighting some pretty impressive enemies, from huge man-eating-spiders, to hideous monstrosities, ghosts and the odd Cairon double or two there's a lot of nasties to make you think and switch up your tactics on a regular basis ensuring that the game doesn't get too repetitive, which is great! But then there's the lacklustre enemies; mindless zombies, strange creatures from the Nether Hells, and damn cartel ambushes if you side with a particular faction, suffice to say, it is oh so easy to get caught up in the story of Demonicon, only to have it interrupted with a random fight that you didn't really want to engage in.

Unfortunately, despite the fantastic story and setting the game takes place in, playing through Demonicon you can't help but feel that the game world itself is missing something, there is no spark that really separates it from the rest of the action RPG's out there, the graphics are not particularly exemplary and the animations leave a little to be desired, this all results in Demonicon feeling a touch too generic; for what is regrettably many reasons beside these surface issues.

Set in a universe that has existed for almost 30 years, Demonicon feels disappointingly linear, making your journey though the somewhat legendary Shadowlands anticlimactic, now this isn't to say you will simply be following a main quest story, throughout your time in Demonicon the two hub areas that you will inhabit feature an over-abundance of side missions to take you off the beaten path, however you needn't search for them, because they're given from a quest giver, meaning that there is simply nothing to encourage you to really explore the towns, because everything you'll need is right smack-bang in the middle of them, which is unfortunate considering the size and detail of them! Outside of the hub areas feels even more constricted, and apart from the odd side path here and there, the game simply takes you through a series of beautifully dressed corridors.

Good combat system in The Dark Eye - Demonicon

The Dark Eye: Demonicon is a great action RPG with a truly engaging combat system, but somehow the game manages to fall flat in its execution. In a world where every decision matters you see far too little of your choices make much change, which in such a linear space is somewhat disenchanting for the first action orientated game in the Dark Eye universe. I really wanted to love it, and got truly engaged in the game's story, but too much tried to pull me away.

three stars

The Dark Eye: Demonicon is available now for Windows PC from all good digital distribution sites for the SRP of £29.99, if you are looking for some more material in the Dark Eye Universe or are simply interested in filling that Action RPG void, it'll certainly keep you invested for a good amount of time.

After experiencing the game with both a keyboard and mouse interface as well as using a Microsoft controlled it's safe to say that the game is certainly more enjoyable with a pad interface, and the game itself just feels far smoother, so much so that I actually ditched mouse and keyboard half way through the game, so I do highly recommend the use of a controller when playing Demonicon.