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Unique is a good thing in the gaming world, and it really does wonders to hold my attention as a gamer. Finding a balance of adding elements that the player already associates with, as well as new and groundbreaking content that defy the normal expectations is a sure fire combo of win, and Divinity II- The Dragon Knight Saga is a clear example of that. I enjoyed so much about this game that its hard for me to know where to begin, so I’ll just jump right in and say, you get to be a freaking dragon. Not like, you get to play this human being who has limited control over a dragon, no you are the dragon.
You fly around, blow stuff up with giant fireballs, you even get to summon wyverns as side kicks. Thats pretty awesome, to me, really. However, the great thing is that the game doesn’t gimmick itself into being JUST that.It has a really solid dungeon crawler experience too, as well as a deep story, well developed lore, and some wonderfully crafted music. It does really deliver on multiple fronts, and while I’ll admit openly that the game isn’t for everyone due to mild control issues, like many other RPG’s of its kind, I’m willing to overlook it due to the truly solid game within.
The designers did a really good job of finding a comfortable balance between linear direction and open world exploration. You don’t ever really feel trapped or bottle necked into going to one place. If you want to, you can just kind of explore the area and collect side quests, which can be seriously rewarding. Loot is especially well handled here, you’ll constantly find new weapons, armor, and trinkets that upgrade both your stats and physical appearance. I also really liked that the game at times really makes you choose whether completing a quest is as important as losing a great weapon that requires you to turn it in for the bounty. That small element of finality is a nifty touch.
Speaking of which, I liked that this game kind of lets you make moral choices without imposing some kind of stat with it. You usually have multiple ways of handling things, like quest points and such, that take a variety of options and don’t just boil it down to good, bad, and middling. The story feels that way too, if you explore all the lore options and books, the details of certain quests get really deep, and aren’t very cut and dry. You often end up settling for the most appealing option for your character and don’t have some plus or negative bar or stat looming over you condemning you to angel or demon for those choices. What a novel concept, moral subtlety.
The combat is was one of the highlights of the game for me. Old hats and newbies alike will find enjoyable and challenging fight sequences that push you to really consider strategies. Again, where the engine really shines is in the sheer diversity of options given to you as tools to find new and macabre ways to disassemble your opponents. I also really enjoyed that being a Mage didn’t mean I was a limp armed squishy who couldn’t go hand to hand in times of peril.
Being able to spell sling and whomp some jerk in the melon with a giant hammer is just wonderful. I will say that the spell cool down lengths are a bit excessive, and if your not careful with your stating you can get seriously squished like a bug. Most people experienced with this kind of game, however, will find it pretty self explanatory.
Worth mentioning too, is that you don’t just stat and armor your human, you handle all that for your dragon as well. That simple fact adds a level of depth in the way the game is played that I really haven’t seen before. The dragon levels are just so cool to play, as well. They take the form of these giant floating fortresses that have all manner of defenses, from shooting turrets to other sky bound monsters, and they aren’t shy about making the sky dark with offensive and point projectiles that would really like to make you kabobs.
That diversity I was talking about really begins to go into insanity when you realize that the fortresses can be conquered first as the dragon, and then on foot. Every level becomes a mass of frantic dodging and fire blasts that you narrowly escape from, all the while keeping on a wing and a prayer that your mana holds out long enough for you to be able to take down all the enemies, and I do mean quite a number of enemies too. Every one of those floating fortresses is jam packed full of ugly jerks who can usually handle both a ranged and a melee fight. It really starts to sink in that you are one mythical beast with no shortage of herculean tasks to accomplish. Several of these flying sky islands of death are scattered all throughout the game, and each has a bonus of a boss to fight and unique loot as well.
Now having tooted that complementary horn for a while, its fair to mention that the game does have issues. Even being the revised version of a previously released title, its buggy as hell. I had a whole quest line I could not complete, because the game crashed every time this guy cast this one spell. It has run time problems, control issues and suffers from a total lack of any multi-player. The control issues and bugs were mildly annoying, and I found that a solution could be found with a few minutes help from Google. Thats not to say I excuse them, just that its something I’m willing to forgive because the whole game doesn’t suck rocks.
I don’t know what to expect from further content released by developer Larian Studios if Flames of Vengeance is an example of where they want to go. Larian has said that it plans to release new expansions for Dragon Knight Saga in the near future, but as of this writing, none of been announced. My hope is that they are more like the core game and less like the first expansion, as it would really be a shame to see other entries in the series come out as lack luster as this one. If you enjoy the main game, you will still enjoy the expanded content, just not as much.
As far as replay and length go, this is one title that doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Dragon Knight Saga took me roughly 40-45 hours to complete and the Flames of Vengeance content added at least another 20 hours minimum to the game. A 60 hour game at the outside is a great deal for 40 bucks, especially one that offers different class choices. I’m very interested in going back in an trying my hand at playing another class and handling my quests differently, just to see if my experience differs.
In closing, I have to say that I enjoyed Divinity II- Dragon Knight Saga quite a bit more than most other titles I played last year. Lush and beautiful level design, well written story, and a great combat engine make this a title well worth its price. I highly recommend to anyone who plays RPG’s to pick this one up as soon as possible. Its deep and engrossing plot will keep you entertained for quite a while, and I cannot stress how much fun it is to destroy an entire military base as a giant flying fire breathing lizard. Loot hounds like myself will find no end to the plunder that can be plucked from chests and dungeon crawling. Pick this one up and take the dragon for a spin.
Divinity II- The Dragon Knight Saga Is available on PC
It was developed by Larian Studios, and published by Focus Home Interactive
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