What is the first thing that springs to mind when the average
videogamer thinks about the role-playing genre? Is it the nearly
endless play length? The dense, menu-driven style of combat? The
sometimes indistinguishable, fantastical stories? In an attempt to
appeal to the hoards of recreational gamers who play shorter titles
with more button-mashing action, many developers of traditional
RPGs have broken the mold, creating more action-oriented games.

TV/New Media Reviews
Cold blooded. (Courtesy of Atari)

The opening stage of the new “Forgotten Realms”
title “Demon Stone” is the most blatant example of this
new style. Without any training stage, video introduction or
explanation of the controls, “Demon Stone” throws the
player straight into the heat of battle. Two evil armies of
incalculable numbers are fighting one another for control of the
land of Damara; the player leads a team of three warriors to
destroy these warriors. Normally, with no explanation of controls,
this task would be impossible, but with “Demon Stone,”
all the player needs to do is press one button repeatedly as it is
hack-and-slash at its most basic.

Thankfully, the game changes course after this first level. Not
only do more fighting combinations open up, but the ability to
customize characters develops between levels. Of course, fitting
with the larger theme of the action RPG, these customization
screens can be skipped with the new “Auto Buy”
option.

Another action feature of “Demon Stone” is the
option to change characters during battle. Each team has a fast
Rogue, a powerful spellcaster and an average warrior, this feature
lends a new dynamic to the hacking and slashing.

The graphics of “Demon Stone” are impressive —
not up to par with Xbox’s “Fable” — but
quite sufficient for the underpowered PS2. In-game movies are on
par with those of any good RPG and supplement the larger storyline,
which gets interesting when the three main characters unwittingly
unleash two demons who are trapped in stone, as the title would
suggest.

Players generally prefer a shorter game. Though larger masses of
gamers buy games that don’t have any kind of turn-based menu
system, there are many gamers who care for intricate fantasy
stories with hard-to-pronounce names. These gamers, and anyone who
enjoys pure action escapism, will enjoy “Demon
Stone.”

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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