Edge of Twilight is pegged as a steampunk fantasy title which is part Soul Reaver, part God of War. A lot of emphasis is placed on dark and light. Day and night have been split apart, each inhabited by a different civilization. As a half-breed outcast your character, Lex, is able to pass between the two at certain points. Not only does gameplay change in each realm, but your character will also drastically change appearance.
During the day Lex looks similar to Keats from Folklore, with a metal arm and a steampunky lancer-style gun. While in this realm you are able to affect machines, your character is too heavy to jump around, rendering platforming sections nearly impassable. At night he transforms into something a little more monstrous. Part Gollum, part Nightcrawler. In this realm machines are dead, but the emphasis is more on platforming.
What we saw of the levels had a great sense of atmosphere. You'll be traversing abandoned areas, full of broken machinery and overgrown foliage. The mixture of steampunk and fantasy works well to creates a unique style for the game. Switching realms can be done at special shrines, but also during combat. This changes the color palette and lighting, giving the same area a very different vibe.
We were only shown combat for Daytime Lex, but what we saw was very visceral. Blood splattered on the screen and the animations gave a tremendous amount of weight to each hit. Daytime Lex is a chunky guy and moves fairly slowly, but hits just as hard. When fighting one-on-one the camera will zoom in dynamically, much like while running in Gears of War. This effect looks great, adding to the already visceral and bloody combat.
Dismembering your enemies will give you more ether, a collectible energy that will power machines and let you use various special abilities. One of these abilities allows you to slow time during combat, during which the graphics change. Everything turns black and white and become slightly blurred, which looks great. Overall the game's visuals range from good to impressive. The environments are detailed and there's some nice use of color. There were some strange textures that didn't stand up to close inspection, but it's still early days.
Edge of Twilight mainly employs a fixed camera, though this can be moved on its axis in order to explore offscreen areas and find secrets. We were promised that there will be plenty to find for those of you who love exploration. In fact, exploration is going to be a big part of the game, though there will be little backtracking. The developers are aiming for a 50/50 action/adventure split.
There will be special abilities to unlock and Daytime Lex's gun will be upgradable. We weren't shown any Nighttime Lex combat, though the demo did end with the hero about to face off against, and we quote, "A hermit crab with cogs in it." There's that steampunk meets fantasy vibe again, and we're digging it.
Overall Edge of Twilight has us intrigued. It's getting very little attention right now, but we suspect this time next year it may be square on a lot of peoples' radars. There's a way to go before then, but we're liking a lot of what we see. Visceral combat, an interesting mix of genres and gameplay types and the return of some much-loved gameplay mechanics that we haven't seen since the last Legacy of Kain game. We're keen to see how this develops throughout 2009.
Edge of Twilight will be available in 2009 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The demonstration was conducted on the PS3.