Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

You've cleaned out all the treasure that you can carry - but its former owners are hot on your trail. A yawning chasm stretches before you. You can just make out a rocky outcropping beyond the divide. As an assassin, you know that you can make the leap - confidence in your abilities is well-deserved, as you've crossed hurdles like these many times before. Torch-light and screams of hatred swell behind you; it's time to go. Hitting your stride quickly, you nail the landing on the outcropping - only to see the ground beneath you fall away, plunging you to a wailing death. Welcome to first-person fantasy role-playing redefined: Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, where the world can be your best friend - or your worst enemy.

Sometimes our eyes glaze over when we hear about yet another fancy new graphics engine that is going to revolutionize the way we perceive or play games. But ever since we were violently shaken awake by the release of uber-shooter Half-Life 2, we've been edgy and alert. Source, the musclular software enginebehind Half-Life 2, showed us mind-blowing physical puzzles where we literally had to yank and push our way through obstacles. Storytelling through gameplay was only possible because of Source - and it's the same guts that powers Dark Messiah.

So what does the juice inside a heavy-duty militaristic shooter have to do with a Might and Magic game? Well, quite a lot, it seems, depending on how you plan to approach the game. When you push on something in this world, it pushes back, in unpredictable (and often hilarious) ways.