(This is a copy of my Xbox 360 review. The game is identical on both platforms however the PS3 is reported to have more framerate issues whereas the 360 lacks the v-sync of the PS3 version, meaning screen tearing can occur).
This game seems to have been misunderstood and unfortunately underrated by a number of gaming journalists. It's very hard to explain because it's actually a pretty unique game, but you can think of it like Dark Souls meets Skyrim if you want a really lazy way of summing it up. That doesn't do it justice at all, because here we have people that have worked on games such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Breath of Fire all coming together to deliver an incredibly atmospheric and compelling action RPG.
The story follows your character, who shortly after being created by you - with an excellent character customisation system - has his or her village attacked by an enormous dragon. After an ill-fated attempt to fight it, your heart is ripped out and eaten by the colossal dragon. Yet, somehow, you're still alive, albeit with a huge scar on your chest like Sagat. You can also hear the voice of the dragon in your head, urging you to track it down if you want your heart back. Then it's down to you to make your way in the world and find him, though your village is still reeling from the attack and many of the side quests are based around this, rather than some guy just wanting 20 mushrooms because he has in inexplicable craving for fungus all of a sudden.
Shortly after this, you're introduced to one of the game's most interesting systems; the ability to design pawns - AI warriors who you can programme in fundamental ways to be the most useful sidekick for you. The really interesting thing is that other players of the game can rent your pawn off you. You keep your pawn, but a copy appears in the other players game and goes around helping them. Everything it learns, like how to defeat certain enemies and how to solve certain quests, will be remembered and when the player returns your pawn, it will be able to help you out with all its new info. And of course, you can also rent other peoples' pawns off them. Renting them uses Rift Crystals, an item that is commonly given out in game for completing quests, though pawns of people on your Friend List are free.
There's an interesting and varied character skill system, made all the more fun and addictive by the fact that the real-time combat is made by people who worked on Devil May Cry. It's not quite as exuberant as those games, but you can see the understanding and professionalism of those guys at work in this game's combat. Really, if you like games where you explore, go on an adventure, never know what's around the next corner and can expect a firm challenge from any enemies you meet (the larger ones can be climbed up, like in Shadow of the Colossus), and all in an open world with tons of secrets and hidden areas, you will love this game.