Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Role-Playing Grind: Divinity II Ego Draconis

This was first published over at on Sept 27, 2010

Just finnished this up and with the new blog functionality, felt like sharing some thoughts for fellow RPG'ers.

Divinity II: Ego Draconis (EU Ver)

Simply put, wow! What a great game. Truly a "hidden" gem. Hidden in a sense that it wasn't easy to come by (bought used), recieved mixed and below average reviews. As much as I try to figure out the reason why that is, I cannot:

- For an RPG it's beautiful, with detailed sharp graphics and vibrant colours. Compared to say DA, it's simply stunning. Compared to Oblivion/F3, it's quite on par, but feels more 'handcrafted'. Every area in the world feels unique and although some resources (like bridges, castles, towers etc.) are used several times, nothing feels 'generated' but rather lovingly crafted.

- It's an open world sandbox with restrictions. You'll be traversing 3 large areas, where completing a step in the main story will open up and close areas. Nowhere will you feel a clammy hand holding you and pushing you along a linear path.

- It has 3 base classes (Priest, Warrior, Hunter) plus a general class, and the great positive is that you can do whatever you want here with mixing classkills whatever way you like. Skills use points, wich you get by levelling up or as rewards for completing tasks or finding 'secrets' - just the way I love it; where putting in the extra effort can really make a difference. In addition you have stat points for the usual attributes like strength, dexterity, vitality etc. that you get in a similar way, by level or tasks.

- Experience is limited. Meaning there is no grind. Your end level and the ease of the game is relative to how much time you invest, and how thorough you are, not how many hours you can kill the same thing over and over. Once killed a creature will not respawn. Couple this with the above class system and you have my ideal mix.

- Tons of weapons, armors, jewelry, and ways to modify and change your setup. Enchanting and charming equipment to suit your needs is satisfying - the next improvement is never far way, and more importantly the decisions you make matter - 'every point counts', unlike say, ME/F3/OB and similar where points invested have a severly limited effect.

- Story is cool, nothing groundbreaking, nothing too odd. The developer actually had the balls to do something different for the ending too. This will not be what you expect, and looking at some comments around the interwebs, many are ticked off that they didn't get their hollywood-ending. This has zero impact on the gameplay itself.

- Beyond the character you get your own base of operations, that can then be upgraded via quests, and provide you not only with cool new stuff, but a sense of accomplishment unlike such aspects in similar games.

- You will be able to polymorph into a dragon at will, take to the skies and soar all over the world you were previously earthbound in. All the while breathing fire and mayhem. 'Nuff said.

Convinced yet? I have to admit my taste in RPG's are somewhat non-commercial and may differ from your cookiecutter hold-your-hand American stuff. Other than that, I'm torn if this is the best game in the entire roleplaying genre or not.

This year, Divinity II will recieve an expansion, Flames of Vengeance. This was too big for Live, and the developer has instead opted to repackage the game and the expansion into a new game - The Dragonknight Saga - due out this year. A completely overhauled gameengine is also included, and I hope this will make Divinity II - TDKS a separate new instance on Live. Looking forward to playing through the whole thing and more again!

Noticed Divivinty II were missing some guides, probably due to the unfortunate crash. If noone is trying to recover or restore these, I'll put up some new ones.

Do check out
The Divinity achievement in Divinity II: Ego Draconis (EU Ver)


3K9 said...

Thanks for this review. I just got a demo of Divinity II that was fairly broken. (You commented on my blog about it.) Nice to know the actual game is worth a look.

Ellusion said...

No worries 3K9, glad you found it helpful! It can of course be perceived as a bit buggy at times, but I feel it's such a solid RPG at it's core I'm willing to put up with it. Just as I put up with New vegas it's first month =)

And if one play-through isn't enough, you can get 4k GS out of these with the EU/US versions of Ego Draconis and The Dark Knight Saga.