Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone Updated Impressions
We get a sneak peek at the final PS2 version of the upcoming fantasy brawler.
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Stormfront Studios made a name for itself in 2002 with its video game The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which was released by EA. Now the developer is returning with a different fantasy license--but with the same gameplay model--in Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, an original story set in the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons fantasy universe. The good news for anyone who's been awaiting this promising action game is that it's finally done. The completed version of the game has been submitted, and it should have no problem making it to stores in time for its mid-September release date.
Even better news is that Demon Stone has really shaped up into a truly impressive, cinematic action experience. We've covered the game extensively, and you can read more about the three main characters, the triple-A voice talent, and the rewarding hack-and-slash gameplay in previous articles. Here we'll stick to the new stuff we saw, which will hopefully give you a feel for some of the epic, fantastic battles you'll be playing through during the game. And if you want to see for yourself some of these new sequences--as well as one last developer interview before the game ships to stores--check out Demon Stone's media page.
First we got to see one of the later levels in the game, which was set inside a dragon's lair. At the beginning of this level, the player was engaged in a frenzied battle high up on a ledge, while down below, the giant red dragon fought with Sereka, the Githyanki general who serves as one of the game's two main baddies. We saw here how the player will be able to throw enemies over ledges rather than actually wearing them down, thus making for quick ways to dispatch of pesky foes. This sequence had a very fast-paced feel, since the epic clash going on in the dragon's pit made for a nice backdrop that complemented the interactive battle in the foreground.
We also saw a hallway from around this area of the game in which, literally, dozens of enemies spawned in to combat the three heroes. The most striking thing about this sequence was that even though a multitude of foes would literally pop into the environment from out of nowhere, the frame rate never dropped in the slightest during the battle. It seems that Stormfront's long-in-development engine has been optimized to a fine degree, because Demon Stone looks superb for a PlayStation 2 game and also runs quite smoothly throughout.
Finally, we saw a sequence from the third level of the game in which the three companions reach the village of Cedarleaf, the former home of the night elf rogue Zhai. This quiet setting was, of course, host to a raging battle, but it also gave an opportunity to flesh out Zhai's character a bit, as well as giving Sereka and her nemesis, Ygorl the Slaad Lord, the chance to fight it out again. The backgrounds here were especially striking, and the peaceful forest setting had a slightly ethereal look that was in contrast to the bloody fighting.
This month marks the end of the road for the PS2 version of Demon Stone, so the next time you hear anything from us about the game, it'll be in the form of a review. The Xbox version, which is due in a few months, won't feature any substantial changes, but the team will be using the extra time and the increased graphical capabilities of the Xbox to make the game look even better than it already does now. Based on our recent demo, Demon Stone looks quite solid, so eager gamers can look forward to getting their hands on the game in just about a month's time.
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