On the Enworld forum there is a post by a longtime 3.5 player having a first game of 4e. Its a good write-up and the discussion that follows is informed and informative. It doesn’t really settle my doubts over the 4e and raises new ones (why are a first level party fighting a dragon?) but it does show that the game is fun and playable:
2) Hit points, hit points, hit points… I feel that at this point in the stage, hit points really need to be renamed and rebranded. Yes, I know they’re a sacred cow and they aren’t going away any time soon, and yes, I like the mechanic because it’s simple, cinematic and abstract, but they really need a new name! Over the past couple of editions, we’ve been moving away from the “hit points are physical damage” model, although D&D never completely divorced them from the concept. At this point, though, we’ve reached the point where hit points represent everything – damage, fatigue, luck, divine favour, and morale.
Once you get your head around this basic truism, all the random damaging and healing effects suddenly make sense. Why does the monster take damage just because he attacked someone other than the paladin challenging him? Morale; he’s backing out of a fight and that weakens his resolve. Second Wind? Watch a Rocky film. It’s all cinematic, and it works. Just, whatever you do, don’t think of it as physical damage.
From: Morrus plays a 4E demo