The Dark Eye: Demonicon Officially Released, First Reviews

I'm well aware that many German and European pen and paper fans have spent a lot of their tabletop RPG time adventuring in Aventuria, and I'm sure many of them are looking forward to trying The Dark Eye: Demonicon, Kalypso Media's just-released action-RPG based on this popular setting. Here's the full press release:
Return to the Epic World of Aventuria - '˜The Dark Eye Demonicon' Is Out Today

Bracknell, UK, 25th October 2013 Kalypso Media is pleased to announce the release of The Dark Eye Demonicon for Windows PC today. The game is available now via boxed retail, Steam and other digital distribution channels. The Dark Eye - Demonicon is an action-RPG set in the dark and dangerous world of Aventuria, where you take on the role of young adventurer Cairon, as he battles dark forces with both magic and melee combat.

The Dark Eye - Demonicon is a thrilling action-RPG set in the extraordinarily popular universe of (The Dark Eye), a richly crafted fantasy universe beloved by fantasy gamers throughout the world.

Demonicon tells the tragic story of a brother and sister who become pawns of sinister forces in a world of cruelty and depravity. In this bleak yet magical world, their affection is both a blessing and a curse. Both are constantly threatened by mortal danger and demonic temptation, and must find a way through their tortured lives by facing serious moral decisions. Their common destiny will determine that of the entire continent, and will be decided by the choices they make. Hordes of fiends block their way to freedom and peace, and only through battle and magic they will truly become free of the darkness.

Features of The Dark Eye - Demonicon

A third-person action-RPG featuring brutal melee attack combos and dazzling magic spells
Powerful storytelling with an elaborate narrative rich with twists, as well as believable conflicts and ethical decision-making opportunities
Action-packed battles, where pin-point timing and clever tactics play important roles
Unique magic system: a dark talent grants the player devastating mystical powers Important events in (Demonicon) will be part of (The Dark Eye) universe's history
State-of-the-art 3D visuals using the powerful (Vision) engine

Furthermore, a few reviews are already out for the title, like this unimpressed piece from Strategy Informer, 6/10.
For all its faults and flaws though, its clunky design and sometime sluggish nature, there comes a point where the whole experience gets a little bit... moreish. For me, it was towards the end of the second hub-area: I'd started to level Cairon up pretty well, had some decent spells, better attack moves, and better stats. I suddenly wasn't scraping through anymore, wasn't fighting for my life. Instead, I was carving my way through monsters and brigands left-right and centre, thrusting through bones and sinew with the point of my newly acquired sword, and freezing demons with my Ice Lance before sucking their life away with Blight. I was a BOSS, and I made sure everyone knew it. If you can make it to the second area, and as long as you're not stupid with your AP investiture, you too will probably reach this point at about the same time I did. Once you do, and provided you maintain the lead, the rest of the game is pretty breezy, actually. Not so easy that it's not fun, but easy enough so that you have to work a little bit, but still come off feeling like a badass.

Despite this though, and as much as I hate to say it, Demonicon is a bit of a sub-par release. Maybe hardcore Dark Eye fans will appreciate the lore and its place in the universe, but on its own it's not a fantastic story, and it's not a well-designed game either. It's all functional, but in a fairly lazy kind of way. Also the last couple of hours seem a bit rushed: it all ends kind of abruptly, and there's a more obvious lack of polish than from the rest of the game. Its saving graces are the nice little design '˜bits' that make certain areas of the game less cumbersome, and the '˜moorishness' that seems to kick in after the first hub area. Also the fact that it has a kick ass ending credits song. At 26 hours, you also get a good run for your money, but don't expect much in the way of replay-value. A one-shot worthy of a really good Steam sale perhaps, but not something you should consider paying full price for.

Softpedia is far more appreciative of the title, 8.5/10.
There's no good or evil in Demonicon and you won't be rewarded if you take a certain path that might sound closer to good. But the choices you make will tell another story, you can be the savior of a high-profile citizen and nemesis of an entire community at the same time.

I'm certain Dark Eye fans will devour Demonicon in just a few days even though it promises 25 hours of gameplay, if you only follow the main quest.

Demonicon introduces players to the (dark side) of The Dark Eye universe where players can't just mindlessly hack their way through the finish line while looting the corpse at their feet.

The lineup of games based on The Dark Eye setting has just expanded with an exceptional game that perfectly captures a post-apocalyptic world dominated by demons.

Worlds Factory, 69/100.
The controls work serviceably well for the most part and I had no problem playing with a mouse and keyboard, even if using a controller did feel a tad more responsive. I think what I dislike the most about Dark Eye: Demonicon is that it fails to stand out from the crowd in any way; there is simply a significant crowd of much better RPGs out there.

Hooked Gamers, 7.3/10.
With Demonicon being far from flawless, I found myself wondering whether or not I enjoyed Demonicon enough to give it a positive recommendation. Honestly, I did. For every spinning boss, for every limitation in skills and character improvement and for every unblinking pair of eyes I looked at, I enjoyed my time with the game. Despite its issues, The Dark Eye: Demonicon remains a fun adventure that, while lacking polish, is an enjoyable journey through The Dark Eye setting.

Feel free to let us know what you think of the title!