Family Business: The Dark Eye – Demonicon

By Adam Smith on October 28th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

I am able to inform you that The Dark Eye: Demonicon is out today and that it is an RPG wit a fair bit of action in it. Other than that, I don’t know a great deal – the list of features on the official website could have been taken from almost any fantasy role-playing game. It contains crafting, spellcasting, third-person combat and decision-making. In my desire to find the game’s unique selling point, I ventured into the archives and found a preview from Gamescom 2011 but that contained little more than a demonstration of Alec’s ability to predict Nathan’s arrival at RPS and a frightening threat to my own existence. Expecting to learn nothing, I watched the launch trailer. At 1.13, I found the unique selling point – unexpected revelation of incestuous desires.

“IN ANCIENT TIMES A BAD MAN DID TERRIBLE THINGS USING AN ‘ORRIBLE ARTEFACT. NOW THAT HE HAS BEEN VANQUISHED, HIS SOUL HAS ESCAPED AND, HENCE, SHADOWS. ONLY YOU CAN STOP HIM BUT DO NOT THINK I HAVEN’T TAKEN HEED OF THE WAY YOU HANKER AFTER THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SISTER’S BATTLE-BODICE.”

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, the narrator seems to be an omniscient storyteller sort of voice but then suddenly he’s right there, in the player’s party, leering at the hero and chunnering in his ear. Or at least I think he is. I’m still very tired. I don’t need this on a Monday morning.

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64 Comments »

  1. bikkebakke says:

    It looks a bit like “we would like to be dragon age” but… well everything seems so stiff

  2. biz says:

    ugh…
    RPS has become about article quantity instead of quality

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Not going to comment on quality since that’s purely subjective, but the quantity has not changed. They do one an hour for 12 hours every day.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Except today, missed the 8am slot! Did you put your clocks back, fools?!

        • livvylrq273 says:

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      • Anthile says:

        Except on weekends. At those times they are presumably busy with bathing in all the bribe money they receive from the devs of *rolls dice* …Octodad.

      • guygodbois00 says:

        Except every day.

    • Syra says:

      I don’t know about RPS, but this game certainly lacks quality… it looks like it should have been out in 2005, with the story of a 90s cartoon… and not the good ones.

      • Baines says:

        I honestly don’t like to knock games for graphics unless they are problematic for a reason. But yes, one of the first things that I thought was that it looked like it was around a decade old. Or like a hi-res Dreamcast game.

        It isn’t just to low poly count, either. It is that the polys don’t seem to be that well used, or animated. There are games that did better with less.

        Still, if the game is decent, it won’t matter that much to me.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      I was thinking the same. It’s all about trashing everything they can get. It’s a desperate attempt to get hits, I understand, but it doesn’t make it easier to read.

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    Do I look like a Targaryen to you?

  4. Anthile says:

    The first time I read about this game it was in a German print magazine. That must have been at least five years ago. Such a long development period rarely bodes well.

    Edit: I looked it up. Originally announced in December 2008.

    • RedViv says:

      It was stuck in limbo for quite a while because the publisher/developer went out of business. Buuuut a dev change with asset recovery does not quite bode well either.

  5. John Connor says:

    I actually think the player character having the option to romance their own sister could be a really fascinating turn to the story. We get “light side”, we get “dark side”, we get “Geralt Grey”… but that sort of lecherous evil / forbidden love aspect is not really an area that’s been explored.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Is it interesting to explore, though?

      • cpt_freakout says:

        By itself, no, and from the way the trailer is made the script doesn’t look all that great either, so it’s probably more on the shock side than on the interesting side.

    • phelix says:

      6 million shades of Grey?

  6. Morlock says:

    This game got poor reviews from the German press for being an uninspired, poorly looking and a bit glitchy product. Such a shame! I was there when Borbarad fell. In fact, my dear Surkan, who was stolen some of his life to resurrect the demon lord, turned from an optimistic juggler into a bitter assassin who enjoyed throwing knives into other people’s eyes, was a key player (character) in Borbarad’s downfall. How I miss my Pen & Paper days!

  7. razgon says:

    Is this a real article? On RPS? I’m flabbergasted!

  8. myopicmuppet says:

    I bought this game yesterday and played for a couple of hours. The game plays a lot like the witcher 2 combat wise. I could also add the the shocking incest angle isn’t really incest which you can work out pretty easily from the opening cut scene. I think the game was translated from German so some of the voice acting is a bit dodgy but otherwise its ok for a 40 dollar game

  9. Yosharian says:

    God, this game looks awful.

    I remember that godawful Drakensang game which was also an absolute pile of shit.

    • razgon says:

      Both Drakensang games are awesome! Great RPG’s with a deep system,a giant world and a huge amount of story, based on the Dark Eye. So much fun!

      • Yosharian says:

        Uhh Drakensang is awful. Badly-constructed combat systems and awful crafting, characters with astonishingly bad voice acting and crudely-written dialogue, the animations are horrific, cancer-inducing eyesores, the quests are fucking boring, etc. The game is just utterly mediocre, I wonder how anyone can stand to play it. I regret ever spending one penny on it, it’s no wonder people pirate games when dross like this is out there with 70+ metacritic scores.

      • razgon says:

        Its nice you don’t engage in hyperbole at least!

        • Yosharian says:

          “Both Drakensang games are awesome! Great RPG’s with a deep system,a giant world and a huge amount of story, based on the Dark Eye. So much fun!”

          Yep no exaggeration or hyperbole here. You have your opinions, I have mine, but there are definitely aspects of this game which can be objectively reviewed as awful. Look at any review of this game and they will mention the generic, cliched story and the overcomplicated talent/skill system, and the voice acting is objectively awful by any standards. The piss-poor animation can be objectively seen just watching a youtube video of the first 5 mins of the game.

          It boggles my mind how this game has escaped a critical panning and has somehow earned cult status among gamers.

          • Morlock says:

            Drakensang 1 is a RPG of average quality. However, the game was released in a time in which “dark and mature” games were all the rage, and its colourful, bright setting made it stand out. Its flaws (there were a bunch) never made me stop enjoying it. One might argue that the complexity of its character system was often unnecessary, but that system made it feel like a pen & paper game, which I also found nice.

            Drakensang 2 was an improvement in several areas.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Im with you, it was truly dreadful.

          • dE says:

            I guess it once again goes to show that german games really don’t sit well with an international crowd. At all. The only one to get away from it, seems to be Crytek, and they’ve gone full AMERICA FUCK YEAH, to get there.

          • RProxyOnly says:

            I’d be interested to know what games you think ARE good, if you consider Drakensang to be awful… and how many of those I would consider to be awful.

          • Siannah says:

            “… and the overcomplicated talent/skill system”
            Heaven forbid having an RPG system that covers more than health / mana AND a skill system that actually requires planning…..

      • revan says:

        Game was not without it’s flaws, but it was a nice RPG with good combat mechanics (they do take a while to understand, maybe that’s why some people were put off) and a tried and true story – classic fantasy. Voice acting was weird. First sentence voiced while the rest of the conversation was text only. For a little while, I thought it was some kind of a glitch. As far as I am concerned, they could have dispensed with voice-overs altogether. Game is rough around the edges, but still a good old-school style RPG, certainly better than Demonicon.

        You actually had to work hard to best your enemies, no instant gratification. That huge rat beneath the city is the most memorable fight for me. Ho many times I tried to beat that thing, it was becoming frustrating, but when I finally did, it was a great feeling of accomplishment.

    • LostViking says:

      I couldn’t disagree more!

      I really enjoyed the Drakensang games. Sure, the story wasn’t very original, and the cut scenes sucked, but I loved the role playing mechanics, which matters much more to me in the long run.

      I actually bought Demonicon thinking it was in the same series. Biggest mistake I ever made :(

  10. cpt_freakout says:

    Raise your little hands if you’d rather have another Daedalic adventure game in this setting.

    • zin33 says:

      despite the name, both games have nothing to do with each other :p
      i was confused as well but nope, completely different worlds and stuff

      • Matt_Ceb says:

        Nope. Both Daedalic adventure games as well as Demonicon play in the same world (Aventuria) as the Realms of Arkania and Drakensang games (at least the first two ones, not the MMO. The Dark Eye MMO is Herokon… Name Trademarks are horribly confusing here).

        There’s some time difference and change of locale, but they all play on the same continent and within a time-span of approx. 20 years of each other.

        Demonicon is the one which is the most advanced, timeline wise. The Realms of Arkania games are the which are the oldest, timeline wise.

    • ulix says:

      Surely Daedalic will do another TDE adventure.

      What I’m even more looking forward to is Blackguards. Because it really seems to be shaping up nicely.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iij7OnCdq2I

      It’s a tactical RPG with mostly turn-based combat and some party management. Not only does it look very promising, it’s also a game set in Aventuria where you’re for once not playing the hero, but instead lead a party of criminals and lowlifes through the southern half of Aventuria (a setting not seen in any of the eight previous TDE PC games), on the run from the law.

      It’s intruiging.

  11. Dave Tosser says:

    This is how far we’ve fallen since Realms of Arkania. Remember that.

    • Mirqy says:

      Now, only a great hero can save us from the all-consuming darkness you describe. One who has been among us, hidden for all these years and despite having had no programming skills will in a few hours time be better than everyone in our entire game development community at slaying cliched gaming concepts and destroying the dark shadowmonsters of crappy gameplay and risible dialogue.

      • Dave Tosser says:

        RPS will lead the charge by blacklisting everything without turn-based combat.

    • Oozo says:

      Oh, I remember. And when I remember the good times we had, it hurts, every time.

      (Seriously: Is there a game that tried to follow in this series’ footsteps? Sometimes I think that “Dwarf Fortress” is a more legitimate heir to the complexity and freedom this trilogy had than… well, almost every RPG in the last 10 years, or so. Except for the recent remake of the “Blade of Destiny”, which is reported to be horrible.)

      • Dave Tosser says:

        The closest modern thing to Realms of Arkania itself is Expeditions: Conquistador, which is also heavily influenced by Darklands. It doesn’t use a blobber perspective when in towns, but the camp management and overworld travel bear some similarities. Knights of the Chalice has little in common aside from the turn-based combat, but it’s party-based fun and worth playing especially if you like Temple of Elemental Evil. The Wizardries (particularly 8) and the Krondors are essential.

        It’s the micro management that you don’t see carried over. Assigning characters blankets to keep them warm in the winter is roguelike in its absurd attention to detail. It’s probably the best pen and paper adaptation ever made, and from a time when Das Swarthy Augers was better than D&D. You can skip out on the manual and use the official sourcebooks.

        There’s a few continental rollyshpiels from the same era, like Spirit of Adventure, Ishar and Ambermoon. I can’t remember which of these use the RoA engine, but they all look alike. If only we had a proper RoA game rather than some action tripe with an incestuous undertone.

        EDIT: And bugger me running, let’s pretend that HD remake doesn’t even exist. We ought to ban studios from resurrecting IPs older than 20 years if they aren’t the original developers, because it only leads to nonsense like that. Or Syndicate 2012.

        EDIT 2: And let me say that I’ll be very disappointed if Shadowrun Returns ends up on the end of year list and Expeditions: Conquistador doesn’t. It’s as if we want bad RPGs or something.

    • Niko says:

      Ah, Realms of Arkania, where lack of blankets can kill half your party (and the rest will be murderized by a single orc).

  12. Infinitron says:

    The Witcher games are the only Euro-RPGs that get any respect in the mainstream games media. Everything else automatically gets the “LOL, Euro-shovelware, not covering this” treatment.

    • WrenBoy says:

      Gothic 1 and 2 and, to a lesser extent, the first Risen game are pretty respected surely? In retrospect at least.

      • Dave Tosser says:

        It’s amazing how overlooked Gothic is. It’s an extremely rare example of a good third-person RPG with enjoyable combat, world-building and questing. Gothic 2 + Night of the Raven ought to be mandatory gaming. I imagine games magazines were just too taken with whatever was the flavour of the month American RPG to bother with covering what was, in all likelihood, a Eurotrash Ultima IX. Only it wasn’t. Shame on you, RPS writers, for not having a Gothic Appreciation Hour.

        • RProxyOnly says:

          Uhh.. c’mon dude.. I love the Gothic games as much as the next fanboi… but there is NO FUCKING WAY I would describe Gothic’s combat as ‘enjoyable’.. it’s gitchy, unbalanced, clunky and barely serves it’s purpose in the game.. I like the construction of the game, the handcrafted world, the characters and the ideas behind the story.. but the combat is pretty godawful.

        • AndrewC says:

          Also Alec did an entire series of articles about Risen. So, yeah: thumbs up for liking Gothic. Thumbs a bit wobbly for everything else.

        • Keyrock says:

          Yeah, as much as I love Gothic and Risen, and I do, the combat is definitely not a highlight. The combat is the **** you deal with so that you can enjoy the rest of the game. The world building, on the other hand, is superb. They’re able to cram ten times an much interesting stuff into an area one quarter the size as a typical Bethesda game.

        • BrianOConnell says:

          Loved Gothic’s combat. The only problem for players might be that they assume they have to simply spam click their way to success when it was about timing and simple combos (left, right or more complicated). Blocking was tricky but in general it combined the need for skill with your current abilities to make combat very enjoyable for me anyway.

      • SRTie4k says:

        All of the above games were definitely diamonds in the rough. The game worlds were all absolutely fantastic, the stories pretty good, the characters somewhat memorable (at least the Gothic characters), music and sounds were good…but fighting was a chore, voice acting was horrendous, AI was pretty dumb, etc etc.

        I can’t fault reviewers from giving the games only average reviews, but I think the games do stand as very memorable and well loved to the gamers who actually look past the scores and invest the time.

    • Laurentius says:

      So true, i.e actually i enjoyed Venetica ( game wasn’t perfect by any stretch) quite a bit, even more then some high production values RPG from USA.

      • Keyrock says:

        I actually liked that game quite a bit too. I remember it getting somewhat dragged through the mud by reviewers, and I even remember agreeing with the points that the reviewers were making in said dragging through the mud, yet none of that deterred me from having a great time playing the game.

    • Turkey says:

      It’s kinda hard to take them serious when they spend half the trailer on lore and world-building, instead of showing anything interesting.

    • Keyrock says:

      Gothic and Risen are fairly well respected, and they should be on account of being great games. They don’t get nearly enough press, which sucks, but among RPG enthusiasts they are generally beloved. A lot of much higher budget developers could learn a thing or three about world building from Piranha Bytes.

  13. neofit says:

    “I found the unique selling point”
    I disagree. I my book all RPGs do have a selling point: “we’re rare”. Of course I’ll have to check whether it is more RPG than hack and slash, whether the world has more than one dimension (looking at you Cyanide), whether it has save/reload anywhere and a few other things, but it has my interest apriori. It’s not like we have an interesting RPG every month, do we?

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Apparently it has checkpoint only saving. Was interested in this until I saw that.

      No saving when you want and no saving on quitting.

  14. strangeloup says:

    It looked quite interesting to me, but not to the point where I was prepared to punt £30 on a relative unknown. Plus, I’m not entirely convinced I can hate a baddie who puts up a Wall of Death, and the trailer having an almost-fullscreen shot of green demon arse at the end was a bit offputting.

    I still haven’t gone through the Drakensang games. I should really do that. Plus I’ve got adventurey thing The Dark Eye: Chains of Sat-Nav to play, which I assume is about the hazards of trying to negotiate a fantasy land using GPS.

  15. jonahcutter says:

    Looks like b-movie trash. Of course, sometimes b-movie trash can be a lot of trashy fun. Or it could just be a godawful.

  16. Monkeyshines says:

    I read the story and the comments. I don’t know which game we’re talking about anymore.

  17. kud13 says:

    I remember that Eurogamer preview. . It made me genuinely excited for this game. I would occasionally look in on its progress, but there weren’t any news for a while, and then I stopped caring as much.

    The concept of playing as a necromancer could be really freaking cool (one of my favourite fantasy series is Nick Perumov’s “chronicles of the Rift”–which inverts all the necromantic tropes like there’s no tomorrow).

    Not sure what the final product is here. Seems to be another B-list RPG. Will probably pick this up on the Holiday Steam Sale (that list is growing big now, with Dark, Remember Me, Mars: War Logs, Of Orcs + Men, etc)

  18. myopicmuppet says:

    I played this game all the way through, took about 20 – 25 hours. Graphics wise its OK during combat but completely fails when dialogue is involved. basically its stiff. I’m going to give a quick run-down of the story so spoilers beyond this point

    basically your character and your ‘sister’ were born into a ritual with five other babies (each from a different mother) that involved your souls being given to a demon in exchange for magical gifts by the head of the church of Borbarad….. with much allusion to highlander ‘there can be only one’ (this is actually said in dialogue) you are meant to kill of the rest of your siblings. This brings up one of the main problems between the storyline and game play… killing a sibling and taking their power has zero effect on your actual powers, even though each siblings powers are meant to be unique and you are meant to be becoming more powerful by taking their powers. The plan of the Portefex Maximus (a stupid sounding name for the head of the church of Borbarad) is that the winner will become become the Paladin of the church of Borbarad. One of the directions that the story took that I enjoyed was starting a new religion. It starts small where you are given the choice of siding with the ‘truth’ that will prop up the old religion or give the people hope which is a total lie but will enable the works of your necromancer brother continue in finding a cure to a plague that is devastating the region. The choices that you are presented in the story are binary but are inverted, where following what stereotypically would be considered the good path, like joining the guard leads to repression and corruption and when joining the cartel leads to freedom fighting and greater popularity. Despite this the only difference choices really make in the game are in the illustrated cut scenes after a section of the game are completed. Apart from this you will be doing exactly the same thing just for different people and you will end up in exactly the same place regardless of what choices you make.

    The world is split into different loadable maps, which you will go backwards and forwards over as the game unlocks new areas. I guess this is sort of a way to make it seem less linear by giving you a meandering path through the levels. Potion creation is poorly added and potions in general are not really required to play through. Combat gets reasonably easy when you level upa way. As the game is reasonably similar to the witcher 2 in combat I found myself using the same tactics. cast the shield power (which is different from the one in witcher 2 by making you faster as well) and then just destroying the enemies while rolling away from attacks. Towards the end of the game when you come up against your sister there’s a darth vader “you’re with me or against me” speech moment, that while being not entirely satisfactory still manages to make more sense than Anikans move to the dark side.