So, played through the demo. It was pretty damn short (no more than 30 minutes), but I really liked what I saw. It's impossible to say how apt the comparison with Oblivion is, as the demo only contained two dungeons and no free-roaming gameplay to speak of.
The game really does take advantage of the source engine. Not only is the graphics great, the pyshics system comes into play as well. You can push enemies off ledges, throw barrels and crates at them and so on and so forth. Might sound like insignifcant things, but it looks cool and works very well.
My favourite part of the game, however, was just how visceral
the combat feels. You can perform a variety of attacks with your weapons (and I'm assuming you will be able to learn even more in the full game), and they all look and feel great. In this respect the game is definitely a step up from Oblivion, which in my opinion is too "clean and clinical". In Dark Messiah you get to stab your opponents while they're lying down, not to mention chop them in half or cut their heads off.
And then there was the attention to detail. You can, for example, pretty much see all of your character's body (except for the head). Again, this adds a lot to the immersion factor. You can also do things like light your arrows on any of the flames/braziers that are scattered throughout the levels.
I also liked the skill system. It's not as in-depth or complex as the one in Oblivion, but I actually prefer this system. When you level up you get a number or skills points that you can assign to various skill trees, which will allow you to use new spells and abilities.
It wasn't all roses, though. The demo has some technical problems, but I'm not sure if it's the game's fault my computer's. The framerate can be a bit choppy, and occasionally I would have weird audio dropouts.
Also, I'm not too happy about the way your characters move. For the most part it's fine, but every time you start or stop moving you glide a little. A friend described it as "GREASE BOOTS!", which is a pretty good image. It's also disappoiting that there's not much in the way of inventory mangement. You can pick up the weapons of your fallen enemies, but in demo they would automatically be added to a quickbar and there were no options to change equipment like armor etc. I'm also a bit disappointed that you can't create your own character.
But, all in all I was pleasantly surprised by the demo. Will certainly continue to keep my eye on this game. If you're at all interested in it, I would recommend that you download the demo. If you don't like Fileplanet you can always use PeerFactor
(which I did and got 500-700k/sec) or FragZone