31 July 2006 | zuljin_chris
An excellent, if short, romp through R.A. Salvatore's work
Demon stone doesn't set out to be one of the RPGs "faithful" to the D&D ruleset, and if your looking to take your Fighter(3)/Ranger(2)/Rogue(5) through the Sunless Citadel to find your +1 longswords, your going to be bitterly disappointing.
Demon Stone is very much in the mould of the Lord of the Rings games, The Two Towers and Return Of The King. Same developer, same engine, different setting.
Just like the previous two games, Demon stone is an extremely playable and phenomenally pretty button masher. Unlike them, however, it has something else on its side: Story.
Its written by R.A. Salvatore and, without giving spoilers, its quite good. Salvatore's works are known for memorable characters and vivid action sequences, wrapped together with a charismatic plot. And thats exactly what Demonstone feels like.
Unlike most games, I can name off the top of my head all of the characters in Demonstone, and say who my favourite was (Illius, if you have to know).
Unlike most games, I felt emotionally involved and inclined to actually defeat the end villain.
Unlike most games, combat is actually fun. Which is lucky, as you do an awful lot of it. A small party of three different characters will be travelling with you and, in most situations, you can switch between each at will. Each is different, fully personalised and with their own strengths and weaknesses. Whilst you will have a "favourite" character, you'll find that you will end up using all three in balance as you tackle different scenarios and situations; one combat is not the same as an other, and a strong sense of the different tactics you can use will be essential for completing the game.
When I bought this, I had just finished rereading the Icewind Dale trilogy. I took it home and whacked it on, and was throughly enjoying myself, rooted to my armchair. Unfortunately, I then encountered the one problem I had with the game; the end. Not necessarily the quality of it (the final few fights are extremely kinetic and cinematic affairs, and the end sequence isn't poor), but where it came. Demonstone took me only around 6-8 hrs to complete, with multiple retries of some levels as I honed the strategy needed to conquer it... Too short, by far. While there is some replayability, I doubt most players will be inclined to, and the game lacks the variety of secret levels and character the previous Lord of the Rings games had, for the most devoted gamers to unlock.
Thats the only thing which prevents me awarding this game perfect marks. Voice acting, sound, graphics, direction, story, gameplay... all wonderful. I can think of no game with more cinematic cut-sequences or exciting combat.
To summarise then; this is a Forgotten Realms product. It is NOT a D&D product, and if you expect one, you're going to be disappointed.
The game simply feels like a flawless translation of R.S. Salvatore's work into a different medium. If you've read your Drizzt novels and your Cleric quintet cover to cover, and always wanted a film or computer game version of them, play this because *this* is what it should be like.
8/10 - A quality polished experience, which is over far too quickly.