Terrific Game That Has Held Up Well Over Time
I recently played this game over Steam starting in November 2009, completing my first playthrough the next month. I should emphasize that first playthrough part, because I enjoyed it enough to deserve a second playthrough at some point. At recent prices, it can be a terrific bargain. I bought it for $40, but shortly thereafter Steam (as part of its fantastic holiday sale) had it under $15, which is an absolute steal.
From a gameplay standpoint, it is an action RPG. The combat is largely point-and-click, but requires you to time additional clicks to perform combos, which allow you to really inflict pain on enemies. This reminded me a bit of the combat system in the original Summoner game, which I enjoyed a lot at the time. There are also two different main types of swords (silver - for monsters; steel - for humans/animals), and three different combat styles to use with each sword (fast - for quick enemies; strong - for powerful foes; and group - for dealing with multiple opponents simultaneously). Put together, this allowed for sufficient variation to keep my interest over the course of a fairly long game.
The RPG elements are interesting as well, if not particularly groundbreaking. You can upgrade a variety of different attributes and skills (including some magical powers) over the course of the game. There is also a crafting system that I never quite got the hang of, but allows for use of potions and bombs to enhance your combat experience. In addition, the graphics are serviceable (which, given when this game originally came out, is actually a compliment).
But the real strength of this game is in its plot. The story is very strong from start to finish, providing you with a solid bad guy to go after and a great reason to want to hunt him down. There is a nice plot twist at the end, and a satisfying final encounter. Even better, the game lets you solve many quests in a variety of different ways. Often these have moral implications that are not immediately clear. What is particularly striking is that there is generally no "good" or "bad" choice. You are often forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, which was occasionally enough to cause me to stop what I was doing and seriously consider the choice I was about to make for a few minutes. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that there are multiple points in the game where content is dictated by choices I had made previously (sometimes, quite a bit before). Even though this game may have slipped under the radar for a lot of people, I strongly recommend it and am anxiously awaiting the next installment.