Venetian grind.

With its skill-trees and levelling system, the 16th-century-themed Venetica is unmistakably an RPG. But combat is the main focus, and while there's room for improvement in a lot of areas, it's the hack-and-slash department in which it really excels.

A couple of hours in, you're gifted with one of the most satisfying melee weapons in any game, ever: the warhammer. It's a monstrous, two-handled lump of metal; visibly heavy, incredibly slow to heft, and far from perfect against smaller, more nimble enemies. But when it hits... man, it's good.

The audio-visual feedback loop of impact is almost physical, and its lumbering chain attack can reduce any foe from lively threat to meat patty in just three swings. Strike one staggers the enemy; strike two knocks him to his knees. Just as he starts to rise, the final overhead smash provides the money-shot. It's bullet-time slow, and of such crushing finality it's hard to resist a fist-pump. Goodnight Vienna. Or Venice, to be precise.

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Death's daughter to star in Venetica

RPG comes to PC and 360 next year.

German developer Deck13 has taken the wraps off its next RPG project, Venetica - a 16th century romp which rather unusually casts you in the role of Death's daughter.