I thoroughly enjoy Daedalic Entertainment's point-and-click adventure games so when I heard that they would be making a turn-based RPG I was super pumped. I love the Dark Eye world and the gritty fantasy found therein and I feel that this game does not disappoint.
1) THE CHARACTERS! I adored the main characters and genuinely felt that each line of dialogue between them was solid gold. Every one of them had a great personality and contributed to the overall value of this game a great deal.
2) The Dialogue and Story: You can take it or leave it but I what I came across I enjoyed. While it is true that the story is linear and doing side-missions does nothing but help you grind this was never an issue for me. I liked the story and the direction it was taken. You're a bad guy doing bad things for the right reasons and it is not often to come across something that does this trope well. The game does a great job of putting you into the "antihero" mentality.
3) Combat: This game does not hold your hand. You WILL redo fights, you WILL get frustrated, and unless you know how to build your stats and abilities you WILL fall behind but as long as you play your hand correctly you will always be able to win the next fight. Similar to older iterations of D&D (which Die Schwarze Auge/The Dark Eye is the German equivalent of more or less) there are weapon AND damage types to consider. Knowing what kind of weapons and what kind of damage types to use are crucial against certain enemies. For example, DON'T USE PIERCING AGAINST THE UNDEAD! They are completely immune to anything that doesn't impart massive physical trauma to their skeleton like slashing or bashing weapons would. Some enemies are immune to poison, some to magic, and some to physical damage. It will be trial and error to figure this out but this is also why you can equip each character with three different weapon load-outs which you can cycle through in combat so as to avoid being harmless to a specific enemy. Other things to note about combat include the diversity of places you will fight in (it makes you feel like you're actually traveling from place to place), the importance of positioning, the use of environmental effects to your advantage, and bottlenecking. Combat is the meat and potatoes to this game and after 50+ hours of this game I, for one, can say that it does not get old.
4) Stat Systems and Leveling: DO NOT RAISE BASE STATS! At least not at first. This game offers a wide variety of upgrade paths with which you can take your party in a multitude of directions. Wanna be a crazy hefty tank? Upgrade Warcraft, Body Control, Willpower, Strength, Vitality, and the proficiency of two weapons of your choice. Wanna be everywhere and piercing armor? Upgrade Agility, Body Control, Spear proficiency, Dexterity, and Vitality for that damage you are most certainly going to take. Wanna mage it up? Take Bow proficiency, level your spells like crazy (a hefty investment), and make sure you have a tank or two between you and the enemy. While some might bemoan the lack of class options with there only being three, Warrior, Ranger, and Mage, it isn't that large of an issue. This is not a game about diplomacy or sneaking around (ignoring two or three AWFUL missions that can be solved with fighting), it's about slugging it out with the enemy. To play something that doesn't contribute to the fight directly is to take a difficult game and make it impossible.
5) Grittiness: I consider this a plus because I like games that force you to be aware of the number of arrows in your quiver, how absolutely vital healing can be, and how huge a difference is made when you finally buy that new axe that does ONE MORE DAMAGE. This is a game where all the small things add up over time to take your party from bandit npcs to gods on the battlefield. Throughout the game you can also learn special attacks which give you advantages in certain situations such as inflicting wounds (Wounds and HP Damage are totally separate things), knocking down enemies, or doing more damage from a distance with ranged weaponry. The larger and more valuable the effect the more costly the attack will be in terms of accuracy so a very effective trade-off between damage/utility and accuracy is established.
6) The World: Not much to say aside from how much I enjoyed it and all the people you come across. It is VERY uncommon for you to run across nice individuals so when you do you instantly grow attached to them. Even then most of the "nice" people you come across are still awful by today's standards due to their desires to brainwash, enslave, or kill off rivals for a plethora of reasons. Aventuria (the world) isn't a great place and it's heroes reflect that, but maybe, with a great deal of effort, you can change that.
1) The Probability System: IT LIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Never in a game have I missed five consecutive instances of hitting with a 95% chance of my attack succeeding each time. It is without a doubt the single most irritating and detracting point to this whole game. Until you play Blackguards you will not understand how infuriating it can be. It doesn't just apply to physical attacks, though. Your spells will fizzle out and do nothing, your arrows can randomly vanish, you will fail body tests where you have a 99% chance of passing and fall down. This was a HUGE oversight on the part of the developers and if they would just release a patch that made these percentages more accurate I would have nothing against this RPG.
2) POISONS and Enemy Buffs! In the latter half of the campaign in an attempt to balance the gameplay the developers just decided to either give the enemies a flat magic stat buff or give all of their attacks the poison quality which will do continuous damage or give you a stat debuff for the rest of the fight. Not nearly as irritating as the percentage issue but it does somewhat cheapen the joy you get when your party goes into an encounter that you should faceroll only to discover that the enemy basically leveled up with you.
3) Stat Building: While I did mention this as a plus earlier you can very easily destroy your game by building poorly. Seeing as how there is no way to undo this it can prove to be game ruining.
Overall, I would give this experience a solid 8/10. Fun from beginning to end and if you see it on sale for less than 10 you should instantly snatch it up.