As soon as Demons Age popped after after the Steam download, I admit I sighed a bit.
A somewhat medieval world of elves, dwarves/halflings/other term for a short human race and demons seems to be the basic template for most fantasy games. From the opening, only you can save the land of Moragon from the Demons (Or an army run by a human - the opening video says the two joined forces), and you need to build a Lord of the Rings crew to stop them. Even before getting into the game I watched the trailer, and yeah, it seemed like yet another game that checks off the 'basic fantasy game' checklist.
However, as soon as I started to get into the more game-ier aspects, I noticed several things. The first are the graphics. I'm usually not a fan of top-down games, but Demons Age used it to it's advantage and made the graphics look very real. Many parts of it didn't even look copy and paste, which I thought was brilliant. Lighting and even how different shapes react to the light were well done. I know it's small, but it adds to the overall enjoyment. When I chose my character (Anton, who was rowing a boat until it was capsized), he was a little too PS2 graphic-like, but once a little more zoomed out he looked realistic again.
At times the animation was choppy, while other times it was nearly lifelike, but it's not the final version, so it's understandable that there are still kinks in the system. When Anton ran he went from normal, to the old cartoon animation of having legs being animated as suddenly up, suddenly down and over and over again, then back to normal, but again, still early. The actual gameplay is standard RPG fare – numbers (in this case, a die) come up and choose how much hits are worth while everyone takes turns attacking. When I played me and my party managed to take out the baddies pretty quickly, but I got lucky, because I was on the easiest level, also called "Lucky".
That's the other thing: You get absorbed pretty quickly. As used as the team-aspect is in RPGs, there's a reason they're still used – it's because they make things interesting. Each person who tags along/is hired is pretty unique and seems to know what they're doing. I found myself thinking of other configurations, and even in the limited version I played, was still enough to keep me occupied for more time that I thought went by.
Overall, I wish some more creativity went into this besides the basic fantasy characters, but it looks gorgeous, moves cleanly (when the framerate wasn't acting up) and engaged you pretty well so that you don't want to stop playing. Previews or Betas don't always have that effect.
Once all the bugs are worked out and the full version is released, this can be a pretty good game. It stands out in a few ways, and fantasy, RPG and fantasy RPG lovers will all find something to really love about the game.