I was first introduced to the game through an offer to try it out online via virtual tabletop. Having an interest in game systems of all styles and play levels, I decided to give it a try using one of the pre-made characters. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
In terms of mechanics, the gameplay felt familiar, but also had refreshing new elements too. Combat is fairly simple to understand; both parties roll to attack and add modifiers, with the higher number succeeding and ties going to defender. As expected, damage is then rolled and calculated, and combat moves on. It makes things go a little faster, and makes things a little more exciting, keeping the story going without having to worry about the circumstances too much, like with other games.
I also enjoyed how each class has its own special abilities, but also has similarities. For example, unlike most RPGs, there are no real restrictions on weapon and armor proficiencies, though each class has its specific default fighting style (martial arts, basic training with a melee weapon of choice, etc.) I found that this greatly helped my beginning mage, who I was thinking would not survive, given the common idea of the "squishy wizard." I also liked the fact that my character was given a healing spell as one of the starter spells, proving that arcane and divine magic sort of overlap.
Also, characters are given the opportunity to improve as they gain class levels, and as they gain the game's equivalent of experience, known as "cool points." These not only keep track of your character's level, but can also be spent to gain additional hit points, mana (for casting spells), chi (for martial artists), or improving/buying skills or improving combat training. As characters level, they're also given "reward rolls," which give additional minor improvements, such as increased energy resistance or a higher reputation or "spiritual influence," which reflects the higher powers' ability or willingness to help out players in a jam.
Despite my praises of the system, though, some things still are somewhat confusing. For example, some of the classes seemed a little too similar to me, such as the outlander and zone rat. Also, I was a little confused in terms of multiclassing. I had to re-read that section a few times to understand it, but I think I finally get it. With the abilities given to each class as levels advance, though, I haven't really felt the need to multiclass, since I'm curious to see and try out whatever comes next.
As for the book itself, I thought that the organization could use some help as well, as another reviewer has already noted, but eventually I've figured out where I need to go to find what I need to know. The artwork was pretty good, especially in the sections about character races, technology, equipment, and travel.
So, to sum up:
The Good: easy-to-understand mechanics, multiple options for character customization, interesting take on dark future/science fiction and fantasy RPG
The Bad: parts could use a little more organization, some concepts (like multiclassing and ability upgrades) need to be a little bit clearer
[4 of 5 Stars!]