After you finish it, you will probably remember it's good moments
- Intense, engaging and extremely enjoyable combat. you completely feel the hit you deliver or the fireball you cast at your enemy. every weapon has it's own pros and cons and they are different to use. for example, staffs are slow, but there's a better chance to knock down your enemy. or daggers do less damage compared to other weapons, but they are very fast.
- Very good story. actually, this game is not Might & magic much, but I was interested by it's story and always wondered what happens next.
You play as Sareth, pupil of a wizard named Phenrig. the game starts when you want to prove yourself to your master by finding an artifact named shantiri crystal. ( which is the tutorial of the game too. ) when you find it, Phenrig gives you a task to bring the crystal to his associate, Menelag in the city of Stonehelm who needs this artifact for finding Skull of shadows. ( an item of great importance in the game. ) and assigns a Suspicious spirit as your guide named Xana. when you go to the city, an army of the ghouls by necromancers attack it and you make them retreat by helping to destroy their Cyclops with a Ballista. then you bring the crystal to Menelag, but late at night, a ghoul steals the crystal...
as I said, the story is good and becomes better, although it can't be considered a strong one. and there's a twist about Sareth's identity and the spirit who guides him which likely makes you surprised.
- although, the game is not much of a role playing or open-world game and you have a straight path to go, You can play the game the way you like in this straight path and that's a strong point of the game. it's somehow similar to Deus ex. You don't get XP by killing enemies, instead, at certain points of the game when you do something important or complete a quest, you get a few skill points which you can spend on different skills in the game. for example, I chose the path of the magic user and I didn't spend skill points on combat and stealth and I completely focused on using magics and staffs and didn't use bows, swords, sneaking, etc in the whole game.
- Very good use of the Source engine and it's strong physics. Dark messiah is one of the few games that makes Physics one of the key parts of the game-play. you must use physics as your advantage. for example, if you throw an oil jar between enemies and then throw something fiery there, you see fire raises and burns all of your enemies in that area and you don't have to fight them one by one.
- Kicking. unlike many games, kicking is very important in this game. not only for breaking objects, but for killings enemies too. of course, you don't directly kill enemies with your kicks. but by throwing them in to death areas like spikes or long heights. for example, you encounter a tough orc. you see that around you, there's a camp fire. you can do the hard way and hit the orc until he dies, but with just one well-aimed kick, you throw him into fire and he burns to the death. I can't tell there's how much enjoyment in kicking enemies to their death. you just feel that you did something easy that some other people did it hard. the awesome feeling of different experience than other gamers. and the good thing is, kicking enemy to death is not something that happens rarely.
- Very good voice acting.
- Good length. not too long, not too short.
- Good balance between classes. you can't tell a wizard is absolutely stronger than a warrior or vice versa. each one has it's own advantages and disadvantages.
- Actually, Dark messiah has some very good visuals both artistic and technical. ( it uses the source engine after all.) I can't tell how beautiful the vistas are in chapter 5. but most of the game visuals are wasted by the darkness of the game. I can say 80% of the areas are dark and you can hardly see in front of yourself and you mostly have to use the "dark vision" ability which even makes the things worse and kills all of the graphical glory of the game.
- Some very bad and frustrating level designs. especially chapter 6 and the final chapter. you just don't know where to go.
- Sometimes, slightly repetitive and boring.
- Very odd technical issues. for example, when you receive hits when your hit-point is low, the game hangs for two or three seconds and then let you see the result of the hit. I thought the problem is with my computer, but I saw a video of the game and found that it's the problem of the game itself which is a very obvious and annoying bug and strange it wasn't fixed during the release. not to mention some frame drops and crashes too.
-at some point of the game, you get a special ability ( which I can't tell it, because it spoils the twist I talked about. ) which is pretty useless.
To sum up the review, I have to say Dark Messiah has some serious shortcomings, but overall, you will likely forgive the game because it brings you some moments and enjoyments you can't experience elsewhere. and combined with Arx Fatalis, it shows that there is a lot of talent and potential in Arkane studios.