The Dark Eye: Demonicon Preview

There's a new preview for Noumena Studios' The Dark Eye: Demonicon over at GamingLives courtesy of a demonstration and some hands-on time with the game. Here's a sizable excerpt:
Growing weary of the monastery, we jumped to a different level, set in an underground city. Here, the occupants were almost entirely mindless zombies under the control of a powerful wizard, who was using them to dig something mysterious up. Moral choices are present in this game, but I was informed that it was more a (lesser of two evils) decision than a straight-up black-and-white choice of good or evil. In the case of the wizard, after defeating him, you can choose to continue on his path and use the zombies as slaves, or set them free and let them be their own people. This may seem like a straightforward choice, but I was warned that revealing the wizard to be a fraud and to destroy the faith in their mission would have a devastating effect on the population. It's a tough choice to make, and hopefully there'll be plenty of these to get your brain around.

With all this exciting information being thrown my way, I was closing up my notebook and ready to leave when suddenly the controller was tossed my way and I was invited to play through the opening half hour of the game. Not being one to turn down such a golden opportunity, I sat down and took control of Cairon as he was running into an underground cave system to save his sister from the monsters that lay within. I was immediately ambushed by some giant rats, who were easily dispatched my mashing away at them with my sword, before Cairon's father appeared at the entrance and started telling me to hurry up. Personal interactions are handled with a conversation wheel, made popular by the Mass Effect series, with options to simply progress the story or find out more information about my quest. I giggled slightly as I asked about my sister's virginity, which is possibly a sign of my immaturity more than the game, which handled the topic very seriously and treated it as a key plot point. It was actually refreshing to be given that kind of dialogue option and have it taken so seriously; this is a game where the word (mature) is used exactly how it is meant.

After battling my way through some more giant rats, I was presented with a rather interesting conundrum. I had accrued enough experience points to level up one of my skills, and found myself in a room with eight objects. There are eight skills to level up, from being able to read, to blacksmithing, fast-talking and a knowledge of plants. Figuring literacy was kind of a key part of the game, I chose to put my points into that skill, and read a letter left on the floor that provided useful info on how to face off against my next set of enemies. You can't reach the highest level on all of your skills, so you will have to think carefully about where you put your points. Some skills work together as well; a knowledge of blacksmithing and (lore) will allow you to make poisoned blades, for example.