Sound — 10
I like me my metal and this guitar is perfect. The active EMG's pick up every thing. I just got a Randall RG100 G3 series and it howls through this thing. The clean tone is even pretty cool too. If you have the volume up high through the 81, it's got a great dirty sound and there's a nice warm sound through the neck 60. Even when it's not plugged in, it makes a decent acoustic, louder than most electrics anyway.
Overall Impression — 10
I love this guitar. I can't stop playing it. It's a metal-head's dream guitar but it'll play those other genres just as well. I've been playing for about 5 years now. Up until I got this, I was playing an Ibanez RG170. I always thought it was a great guitar until I got my ESP. I tried other similar guitars when I was looking for this one (Jackson Kelly, LTD Viper, etc) but they just didn't stand out like this one has. I'd definately get this guitar again if it was stolen (maybe in a dark blue though).
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had this guitar for 5 months now and not a single problem. It's got a lot of jagged edges sticking out and I have banged it a few times and it's fine. I'm not the type to go to a gig without a backup but I'm confident that I'll never have to use it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I'm really just too picky in this department. The action is great on the three high strings but I had to raise the lower strings because they were buzzing too much. The pickups were a little too close to the strings for my liking. There's some cracks in the finish on the back of the guitar but they're on the back so I'm not too choked about it. One odd thing on mine is the tuning peg for the low E is too close to the neck. It rubs when I go from standard to drop-D and has taken a chunk of the finish off.
Features — 9
This is the Explorer-style body. I went with the plain black (not the faux-metal plating) because it has all the same features for $150 less. I couldn't justify spending that much extra for a cosmetic thing. The one drawback is the cutaway isn't big enough and it's tough to play up in the 22nd fret range for too long. But if you're like me and only go up there for the big finish then it's fine. I didn't get any accessories with it. They didn't even have a case for the shape but it fits (albeit awkwardly) in my acoustic guitar gig bag.