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August 31, 2004
Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
24/9/2004AtariStormfront Studios1$99.95

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It looks like a certain EA game.
Not many of you would have heard of Stormfront Studios, but they are one of the best developers in the world. Not only have they worked on Electronic Arts' Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for XBox and PS2 as well as the impressive Blood Wake for XBox. Set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe Demon Stone is devoid of all the complexities and stats associated with D&D players so casual gamers need not worry. The story was written by New York Times best-selling novelist R.A. Salvatore who has worked on 22 Forgotten Realms novels (as well as books in the Star Wars universe) ensuring the highest quality will be carried into the game.

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Bzzzz.. That hurts.
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 extraordinary battle skills. Enter the mythical land of Faerűn, where magic, prophecy and mystery envelop great heroes and perilous evil. In fact this game primarily takes place around Bloodstone Lands - Damarra. Fans of the series will probably have more of an idea of where this is then me though!

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Ohhh... gold.
Demon Stone allows you to switch between characters on the fly to exploit each warrior’s specialized fighting styles (projectile/ranged, melee and sneak combat) and maximize each character’s attributes. The right moves will build the party into a well-balanced fighting trio. Battles take place against fifteen or more enemies at once including bugbears, Trolls, Mind Flayer, Slaadi and Yuan-Tis — all from D&D lore — as well as bosses like the Avatar of Merrshaulk.

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Yet more LOTR inspiration?
A variety of fighting methods, from three distinct characters are included in Demon Stone: Hack enemies, destroy crumbling columns and shatter ice walls with the fighter; blow apart foes with jaw-dropping spells, and trap groups of enemies under shimmering magical nets with the sorcerer; hide in the shadows and employ sneak attacks with the rogue. Character upgrades that can be purchased with experience points; provide the sorcerer with stronger spells or improve the rogue’s stealth and lock-picking abilities.

There are tons of weapons, armor and miscellaneous items - such as gauntlets, rings and cloaks - to further enhance a character’s abilities while non-combat challenges will be available to test a characters strength.

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Texturing is adequate.
As the game engine from Stormfront Studios is essentially the same as from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (with significant upgrades to the game engine of course). The game will once again blend cinematic cut scenes with the actual gameplay - and effect which worked splendidly in EA's Lord of the Rings titles.

There is no doubt that fans of Forgotten Realms will instantly love this game. Fortunately the game is shaping up so well that non-D&D/FR players will also enjoy this title immensely. The graphics look sharp, and the gameplay refined, thanks to Stormfront Studio's work on Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers a couple of years ago. Expect a release in September.