Forgotten Realms
Demon Stone

Format: PS2

3 546430 112731
Age Restrictions: 12+
24 September 2004

A lone fighter, a brash sorcerer, a hot-tempered rogue... Three warriors, brought together by an unexplainable force, must embark on a fateful journey that will continuously test their battle skills. Take control of all three, switching characters on the fly to battle an onslaught of enemies from beyond this world...

I must admit to having mixed reactions when I started playing Demon Stone. Firstly, I was totally blown away by the beautiful video sequences. This amazement turned to delighted surprise when I realised that the actual game was almost as good as the cut sequences. However, that soon turned to disappointment as the gameplay started to unfold. At first, due to the fact that all I was doing was progressing down a predetermined route picking off bad guys by the dozen, I thought that there wasn't much to this game. It appeared that all you had to do was fight your way through the charging demonic armies by simply pressing the "X" button.

Oh, how wrong I was. Sure, the opening level is not very challenging, but there is a very good reason for this. As you progress through the levels you pick up more abilities and moves. You also meet the other two characters you can control and getting up to speed takes time.

The story, as it unfolds, is quite a complex and engaging one. So, it will come as no surprise to learn that New York Times best-selling fantasy writer and Star Wars novel author, R. A. Salvatore was responsible for the storyline. It's also worth noting that the vocal talents of Patrick Stewart and Michael Clarke Duncan are slipped into the narrative.

I did have issues with the game's A.I. in places. For example, at the start of level three you must prevent a portal from being opened by controlling the sorcerer. However, the fighter and the rogue can sometimes be seen wandering around looking for something to do while you are being attacked by a group of baddies. But, on the whole, the ability to switch between the three characters works really well.

Another problem, be it slight, is the inability to skip the intros. This can mean that you have to watch the same cut sequence over and over again when you are killed, or you fail in your mission. But, these smallish moans aside, Demon Stone is impressive on every front.

But possibly the most impressive thing about this game is that it pushes the graphics capability of the memory starved PS2 to the max. Add to that the fact that there are no seriously long waits during the loading of each level, and you know you're onto a bit of a winner.

Nick Smithson

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