Chains of Satinav was not the only game from The Dark Eye universe that we checked out at E3 this year. Whilst the tabletop RPG is one of the biggest in Germany it is relatively unknown to those outside of roleplaying circles, however from what we've seen of the two upcoming games it portrays a deep, magical and involving fantasy unparalleled to any other existing IP.
The Dark Eye: Demonicon is an upcoming in-house game from Kalypso; salvaged from the remnants of Silver Style Games, this action RPG promises everything of the original Fable and more, so the question is can Kalypso deliver the great promises that Peter Molyneux made over 8 years ago, with a dark and sinister twist.
In a continent deep in the universe of The Dark Eye lies the town of Warunk one of the few remaining human areas left, devastated by years of attacks from demons and undesirables there's little left un-ravaged, causing the inhabitants to adapt just to survive in the harsh bitter and world.
Cairon and his sister grew up slaying demons together to one simple rule; never to mix the blood of the family, we all know that rules are there to be broken, and Demonicon would be your standard fantasy affair if it weren't for the dark relationship between Cairon and his sister that begins when the mixing of blood occurs in the heat of battle, where suddenly a very dark secret, and disturbing story begins to unfold.
At its heart Demonicon is a deeply story driven game that places a heavy emphasis on moral choices, now whilst games like Mass Effect give very clear black and white choices, in Demonicon you will find your options have far more unpredictable outcomes, and often the difference between your decisions will be choosing the lesser or greater of two evils.
To convey the bleak choices that you'll face we were presented with the very first decision that you must make; there's a cannibal wreaking havoc on Warunk, they're feeding on the residents and people are going missing, now whilst the obvious choice is to track him down and kill him, when you finally confront the man it turns out he has 20 innocent people trapped in a far off cave, and with blood magic tying him and the civilians together, if you choose to kill him you'll be ending the lives of all those people, if you chose to let him live, those 20 are safe, but the future actions of the cannibal are left uncertain, and it's these dark decisions that you cannot get away from.
All of the evil deeds that you make take a toll on your physical appearance, as you get closer to uncovering the dark truth behind your family's secret you will find that your choices have an impact on both the cruel world around you, and Cairon himself. With such a strong emphasis on story, the game is a solo affair only and follows a direct engrossing story path that opens into a possible three endings with no multiplayer in sight.
Every good action RPG is more than just story, and without a great combat system you may as well be playing an adventure game, the integrity of the game will be nothing without solid gameplay, and Demonicon takes a simple approach to its combat by using simple timed blows that can be chained together with cleverly placed blocks and parries, and whilst you start off with a simple sword as you uncover Cairon's dark truths you'll discover a variety of powerful magics and abilities to use against the relentless evil that you will face.
This year's offerings at E3 have definitely taken a sinister turn, and if Demonicon can promise a dark and gritty fantasy, then those that took great indulgence in the unique storytelling and tone of The Witcher 2 will undoubtedly have their interest peaked with the latest video game in The Dark Eye universe.
With the promise of a world that changes around you, truly challenging choices to make, and simple but engrossing combat, Demonicon may well be the RPG that both gamers and Dark Eye fans have been waiting for, from the very least what we've seen so far holds a lot of potential. Demonicon is scheduled for a release Spring 2013 for PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.