It's pretty fun at first but overstayed its welcome despite its relatively short length.
The physics-driven stuff is still very charming, and the rope bow is excellent when it works. Some of the best-feeling first-person melee combat to this day, despite the poor balance. It's a blast at first, but it isn't deep enough to really demand any kind of mastery of the systems at play. Kicking orcs off cliffs is neat, but by hour ten you'll almost certainly grow tired of it.
The story is mediocre and its two-dimensional female characters exist only as sad attempts to titillate the player. Dark Messiah's contemporaries in 2006 alone put it to shame in these regards. It's not terrible enough to sour the game entirely, but it doesn't do it any favors, either.
Still, some fun can be had kicking and ice-flooring, even if only for a short while. For those video game academics interested in Arkane's history, it may still hold some appeal solely as a look at the bedrock upon which games like Dishonored were built. Give it a try if you can get it as part of a Steam sale, where it can be had for very, very cheap.
Reviewed on Jan 30, 2023