Where was Dark Messiah of Might and Magic when we had the summertime blues? Barging through this fast-action fantasy story was as good as it gets - perhaps just shy of an Indiana Jones flick on full volume.
Sure, Dark Messiah could be billed as a fantasy action role-playing game, played from the first-person perspective - but it'll sucker punch you in the kidneys if you think it's an Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion clone. Dark Messiah is about as far from the lonely, ponderous, soul-searcher Oblivion as you could imagine.
Thanks to your mysterious guide, Xana, you'll never want for company or action. You play as Sareth, and although the wizard's-apprentice-saves-the-world story is a little stale, the objective-based plot stayed just far enough away from tight scripting to keep us riveted. And better still, you can rock the storyline any way you choose: stealth, heavy-duty magic, or sword and shield.
In fact, experimentation with different approaches was exactly how we had to make our way -and live. The superb AI and random effects from excellent physics effects made each attempt wickedly unpredictable - and very fun.
The rollicking action favors novices by letting them jam through the high points of the story, but there are enough optional missions and secret areas to be discovered that the break-open-every-crate set will be satisfied as well.