So, I just finished playing Flames of Vengeance tonight. These are my first impressions after having finished. . .
* Too much knight, not enough dragon - it irritated me that pretty much the entirety of the Flames of Vengeance story, you can't take your dragon form anywhere. The game is the DRAGON KNIGHT Saga. That's the gimmick. Players want to play as the dragon, because that's the game. Yes, in Ch. 1, Ego Draconis, you got to play as a dragon a decent amount, but in FoV. you only get one, pretty poorly designed, mission as the dragon. No Dragon boss fights. No cool zones to explore like Orobas Fjord (Ok, granted, Orobas Fjord was friggin huge and probably took Larian 3 years to design - I don't suppose they needed anything that large or elaborate for FoV, but even a smallish zone you could fly about in would have made FoV better, IMHO).
* I did like being able to finally get enough skill points to feel like the full potential of my knight was unlocked in human form - in Ego Draconis, you can become pretty powerful towards the end of the game, but it's very obvious looking at the skill tree, and how un-filled out it is at the end of ED, that your character is a mere shadow of what they could be. So, nice that the adventure gives out enough skill books for your character to really mature.
* I thought the puzzles in the Champion Academy, with the Helmet of Secrets was kind of a cool idea, with stuff that is only able to be interacted when you are wearing the helmet. . . but the fading in and out of focus + fading from color to greyscale and back visual effect that accompanies the helmet almost made me throw up. Perhaps I'm more senstive to that than most folks, but I found it very uncomfortable to look at the screen while that effect was going.
* The story and quests are fairly interesting, but I wish Larian would make a commitment on what it means to be soul forged. The Soul Forge between Ysgerna and Damian seems to be the 'great whatever we want it to be at this moment' of the writers. I've always found writing along those lines to be rather unsatisfying, and a mark of lazy authors who want to create a 'surprise', but don't want to go through a really good development of the surprise. So, it basically becomes a non-surprise, because we all know that the writers are just going to say, "Damian's not dead, and Ysgerna isn't really dead either". Which is fine, as far as it goes, but why leave it so open-ended at the end of the game, giving the player the impression she is dead, when we know she really isn't?
* While my above appraisals might sound somewhat negative, my overall impression of the game is that it was pretty well designed, had a pretty interesting story, even if there are a few times it was a bit melodramatic and cliche, decent character development system, and gorgeous art.
* As I mentioned, the character system was pretty decent, but there's a few things I'd tweak if I could - I played pretty much a pure attack mage, so my observations focus on the mage skills. Magic Blast has too long of a cooldown period for what it is and what it does. It's a moderate damage single target attack. As such, the cooldown on it should have been more like 7 seconds, not 15. Flamewall was a good skill until the latter part of Flames of Vengeance. In Ego Draconis, it seemed pretty useful, pretty powerful. The problem is, as you train up Flamewall to level 15, the damage it does doesn't scale fast enough. Basically, it seemed like Flamewall, over time, did less and less damage relative to the higher levels enemies you're facing, even as you train it up and add "Way of the Battlemage" and "Destruction" bonuses to it. That's offset somewhat by the fact that Fireball becomes pretty much a nuke that will kill most enemies instantly. But, since you have to position your avatar in the midst of enemies (where you're more vulnerable to getting hit with a lot more damage while you are getting into position, and activating the spell), it seems like it should have a bit more 'oomph' than it does.
Overall, I did pretty much enjoy it, but I hope this feedback might be useful as the developers work on the sequel.