Drakensang: The Dark Eye Previews

The folks over at GamesRadar and GameSpy have conjured up new hands-on previews of the upcoming English version of Radon Labs' Drakensang: The Dark Eye. A snip from GamesRadar's article:
You're plopped into the world with no real introduction or story setup, which may throw some players off, while intriguing others not afraid of exploration. There are plenty of pop-up tips, but the sheer number of menus can be disorienting, which at the same time provide a staggering amount of options that will surely get serious RPG-heads salivating.

Although you start of as your single character, you can quickly build up a small party by recruiting NPCs in need of various tasks done. The process feels organic and not like the typical scenario of dramatically introducing a character that will so obviously be a party member. You just see a random NPC standing in the road, and after a conversation about their needs, you either invite them along or not. With a comrade or two in two, you're left to embark into the wild in any direction you like. It has the open feel of Oblivion's freedom, but with a more Diablo viewpoint.

And a snip from GameSpy's article:
Much like the universe it's based in, the gameplay of Drakensang also feels like a return to an earlier era. Min/maxers who love getting deep into numbers will appreciate The Dark Eye's old-school stat-intensive role-playing system. Characters have eight attributes that are combined together whenever a skill is used, and experience points can be pumped into either improving basic attributes or focused on improving a specific skill. The kicker is that with so many combos, depending on how a player wants to develop a particular character, points spent in a particular attribute might not help every skill, while points spent in a skill are more immediately useful but aren't as economical as attribute increases.

Players can also develop skill combat abilities or spells or use points to increase the ones they have, creating a character that's either broad or deep. Fortunately the game itself handles all of the dice-work and calculations and provides a large number of pre-made templates for those who just want to get to the hacking and the slashing. The game also uses the classic BioWare-style order-while-paused combat system and allows players to acquire a retinue of traveling companions of various classes, three of which can be used at any one time.