I had encountered this setting before- or so I thought- in the form of the previous editions. I'd given them a look, intrigued by the ideas behind the setting, but been less than impressed. It was nothing more than a mass of D&D cliches that utterly the great potential of the setting.
Khepera have changed all that. Giving both the rules mechanics and the background a major overhaul, they've left both recognisable compared to earlier editions, but made it a vastly superior game. The setting is now the pulp fantasy Swords & Sorcery epic that I'd always wanted from this world, and the rules now support this style of play at every level.
Character creation is based around making heroes from the start, not lowly neophytes who might become heroes one day. The lifepath system creates a very inspiring background for each player character, and the dramatic rules make combat and other adventurous pursuits feel suitably cinematic. Not only does the game have a Drama Point mechanic, but in order to refresh their Drama Points PCs have to engage in various activities, from making offerings to the gods to wenching and carousing in taverns. Magic is always dark and dangerous in some way, with practioners becoming more bizarre and otherworldly as their power grows.
The game also manages to improve on the Glory system seen in Pendragon, adding extra elements to make the characters feel like heroes of legend. In addition to the basic Renown score for glorious deeds, characters achieve Great Works (rescue the princess, avenge your brother, overthrow the tyrant) and Fate Points (the dark fate awaiting the hero). Many heroes of legend come to tragic ends, and the Fate Points show how close this is coming- players must keep their Glorious Deeds tally higher to escape this ignoble fate.
Finally, the action is driven by the PCs. Players decide on the goals, both their great destiny (Become King of Atlantis and the like are possible) and the short term ones (find the treasure of the lost city, drive the pirate queen from the seas). The GM then arranges the stories around these. There are many games with similar themes, but these are rules-lite indie rules, wheras Atlantis: The Second Age is most certainly a full RPG with stats, weapons lists and the like. Having some of the good points from drama-oriented indie games transplanted into a more traditional RPG ruleset is a very good combination for me.
This game is well worth a look. As far as I'm concerned, the only flaws are the lack of a printer-friendly version and the price tag given that a print version should be out soon. Have a look, and you won't be disappointed!