It's a WRPG without manual saving. What more do I gotta say?
Wait wait wait. Okay. If I had to put it simply, it's more or less if you made Witcher 2's combat very stiff and awkward, then mixed it with the one track mind of Dragon Age 2. Now that may sound horrible, but it's not for a lack of trying. Whatever miniscuile budget they had, the developers tried their best to tell a (mostly) coherent story that sprinkles around lore like it's going out of season. Beyond that though, there would be a LOT of reasons to hate it... if not for the fact that most of the sins that it commits were first perpetrated by Bioware, specifically Dragon Age 2. Which mind you, was critically acclaimed by hack journalists.
So let's begin
A dialogue wheel that doesn't actually show you what you're gonna say? Yup.
Consoley design and controls? Yup.
Linear as hell and a slave to its main plot? Yup.
Bad character models and downright horrible animation? Yup.
Enemies that kind of just, pop in out of nowhere? Yup.
Two choices rather than a third option you'd want to sensibly make? Yup.
Characters that stand around making idle threats rather than actually doing anything? Yup.
Inability to interact with the game world such as killing people, stealing from people, etc unless it's specifically involving the story in some way? Yup.
Reusing old areas? Yup. (Although Demonicon justifies it by writing the plots around the areas, rather than just copying and pasting old areas and telling you they're new.)
In terms of its own sins, Demonicon lacks a party system. I understand however, that it is a smaller adventure, so to have a second or third character that can level or change would be pointless, but I'd have been happy with a generic hireable that dies easily - at least then I'd have something to do with all the money I had, but more than anything, it just feels so weird to not have anybody allied with you for a segment despite it being clear that if it were any other kind of RPG, they'd be in your party or at least along for the ride.
Speaking of adventure... there isn't any. As mentioned, it lacks any kind of interactivity with the world, so it feels more or less like a static environment that you're running through, and boy oh boy does this game pack on the giant areas filled with nothing that just eats up your time, specifically, the giant empty monastery that you have to waste time running around in that reeks of not only filler, but running out of money. All you can really do besides following quest markers is go down a corridor that you can see on your map and maybe find a chest filled with junk that you sell at a vendor. It has exploration in terms of maybe finding a chest in the corner, but there are no side quests to find or anything of note besides maybe lore.
Side quests. Another big problem. You find them on dart boards akin to MMORPGs and slap them to your dashboard with the markers to tell you where to get the seven pearls of Uranus or some garbage. Just take them all, there's no penalty either way, as they're all pointless fetch quests with nothing to offer and no choices to make. It's busy work.
So the main systems to the game - the role playing, the combat - has to at least make up for all that stuff, right? Well... Even on hard my first time, I found the combat rather trivial even despite not knowing how to parry. I seriously beat the game never parrying. I did end up doing a lot of combat rolls as a result, but even so, with just one combat skill and a few magic spells, I was able to trounce most of the game not using anything beyond my sword. In this regard, I can see what they were going for in terms of the replay value as an RPG, as there are a variety of combat skills and levels to the magic spells that you can't necessarily reach in one play through. I just felt I would have never had a use for any of it, especially when you only have 4 slots (4 for magic, 4 for skills, 4 for items) to put every ability. It is fun, don't get me wrong, and it is exactly the kind of action game I was expecting from that dog Dragon Age 2. Mixing and matching everything and doing the right commands in tandem with enemy animations works and it has a meaty feel to when you're slicing and dicing.
In regards to building the character, it's similar to The Witcher, where you're stuck as a single character with no customization per-se, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're able to build them to how you feel. So once again, the problem of a single person RPG comes into play, because Cairon is essentially a multiclasser. I maxed out the passive skills, so I was a top notch haggler and charismatic. I was a knower of medicines and could open any lock or disarm any trap. So on top of doing all that, I was brute in combat and could freeze you in place with. Huh? I don't feel like I role played as anybody, I just feel like I went on Theme Park RPG #361.
So let's say if they balanced the games stats properly, and you could actually miss out on a few things here and there and would need to replay the game to see them. Well, you could be potentially boned. Like lock picking. It's completely useless and a dump stat. You never find anything actually of worth in chests, even the few that actually require you to use rank 6 or 7. Whereas haggle for example, could be used to get a ton of points to spend by using it at several vendors at once, then upgrading it and doing it all over again. The problem arises in that some of the seventh mastery passives are never actually tested, because I assume the developers ran out of time and couldn't rejigger and balance things like they should have. There should have been several 5-7 rank chests that you couldn't open that had cool stuff in both early and later parts of the game, so you'd WANT TO invest in lockpicking, so I'd be Cairon the Rogue, rather than Cairon "Who Can Do Everything"
Despite all that, and the fact that the game ending requires you going back to an old area THE THIRD TIME, I was intrigued overall with the story. Characters never truly ring of good or evil, instead, seeming far more gray than I was expecting. It was seldom anyone was ever an outright jerk. The few choices you make actually made me feel confilcted, because they never offered you a clear conscience one way or the other.
"Sure, you did X, but Y happened."
Despite railroading you the whole way, those few snippets felt refreshing, whereas other RPGs would have made it very clear cut one way or the other of what my deed would wrought. I just wish it had more characters to meet, more stories to see and a far more satisfying ending.
Still, I can't recommend it. It's no lost gem or even an unpolished one, it's a game that had a lot of aspirations, but had no feasible way to deliver them. I definitely don't dislike it, but hey, I actually put in the time to beat this game unlike Dragon Age 2, and considering the money EA/Bioware put into that turd - that's worth something.