Ok, so I know I have never played Aion before and I know it seems a little late in the game to be posting a "review" of this sorts for a game that has been out for over a year - but I think it seems about that time to give it a go and look into it for those of us who have never given this little gem the through and through it quite well deserves.
Let me start by saying the character I played was around level 50 and the other 55 and in pretty much all top tier raid gear that was in fact best in slot for its specific class (or quite close to it), which made playing the game quite easier then the challenges most of you will face during the times you will face as you adventure through-out the world as you level. With that being said, the combat to me felt quite fluid and faced past with little to no down time what-so-ever as the animations pound on the onslaught of mobs that are on screen.
The ability to chain attacks (much like that in Age of Conan) was quite a pleasure to me as many of the abilities when they pop up (as a little highlighted toolbar icon) make the damage increase slightly and make you feel like the combat is going that much faster as well. It also allows you to be a prominent key clicker as opposed to the option of just using the number pad as per many of the other MMO's on the market that generally default to that style of play. In fact it almost felt "easier" to click the keys instead of mashing buttons (which I am accustomed to).
The other nice thing about the combat is that if and when a mob you have targeted runs out of range from you and you have queued up an ability, your avatar will run right after it and start beating on it without you needing to hit any of your movement keys to chase it down. This in itself made me scream out in joy, as I had felt many of my bonds and shackles released from past MMO's where I had to chase down runners in zones and instances.
The in game flight and travel is a great thing also - the down fall though to "popping your wings" though is the limited time span and cool down to reopen them for the most part. The character I had been playing had about 3 minutes of flight time, which to me felt short coming from a game like WoW where I could just fly to my hearts content.
The music on the other hand had a very Asian flare in most cases - which to me felt like I was play a Street Fighter arcade game and I was about to see the big bold "K.O." letters appear in the center of my screen time and time again. The good thing was I could turn the music down, or even off in some of the zone - but it tended to take away from many of the ambient features of the game that I was looking forward to.
Graphically the game is amazing and the world and character features (along with armor) look very well done, but they too have that mix of "semi-real" to "anime" like feel mixed together, which could draw some players away from even playing this game. The city scaped are very well done and for the most part look and feel very massive (some I have yet to explore fully). NPC models are just as well done as player models - but I tend to feel as if they "lack" in one department or another for what ever reason, where as "mobs" differ somehow (I just can't place why though).
All in all I feel as if this game should at least be given a try if you haven't already. I enjoy it very much!
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Replay Value: 8.5/10