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Default Divinity 2: What makes it special

January 26th, 2011, 21:23
Divinity 2, in all its iterations, has one thing that makes it stand out against most other crpgs and that's the inclusion of secrets. Secrets abound in this game and they come at you in a couple ways.

The first is the mind-reading skill. At the cost of future xp gains, you can choose the read the mind of anyone. I can't really any mainstream crpg to ever use this mechanic to such a degree. There are many times where you read someone's mind, and even if it isn't useful it's amusing.

The second is in hiding buttons, levers, and secret walls all over the place. In most cases, finding the secret door is not necessary to advance the game, but it will give you bonus items or information that will make progress easier. It is VERY easy to miss some of this stuff and makes replaying the game still have a chance of finding something new.

I'm not a big fan of platform jumping or aerial combat, but the previous two items more than outweigh these little niggles. Some folks will love the jumping and flying stuff.

If you haven't purchased Divinity 2 yet, I'd highly suggest grabbing a copy. Dragon Knight Saga will give you the most bang for the buck, as it includes the expansion, Flames of Vengeance and some graphic upgrades. Xbox users may want to wait another week or two because there is a patch getting finalized for the 360 that addresses a game-killing bug. It's rare, but deadly.

'nut
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January 26th, 2011, 22:42
I agree with the points you have made about why Divinity 2 is a solid RPG, and I would like to add that the quest design - sometimes even on small side-quests - was very well done the majority of the time. Overall, Divinity 2 has a lot of really good elements that make for what I find to be a really solid RPG experience.

However, I really don't like the combat. This is the only aspect of the game that is poorly developed and shallow, and this is disappointing because there is so much combat in the game. I truly have no idea what they were thinking when they decided that it was a good idea to implement the absurd jump-attacks. I also don't understand why there is no active blocking mechanic given the real-time combat system. Battles are spent constantly rolling around all over the place (the only defensive "maneuver"), jumping 30 feet in the air, and hoping to wear opponents down in silly battles of attrition. Combat is not the most important part of an RPG, so the shallow and tedious battle system of Divinity 2 certainly wasn't game-breaking for me. However, because combat is inevitable in RPGs, I prefer my combat to have some depth, either through the need of formulating good strategies or the use of sound tactics. Divinity 2 requires neither.

With that said, the poor combat is more than made up for thanks to a lovingly crafted world with great quest design, plenty of secrets to be found, and a fairly compelling (if a bit cliche) main storyline.
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January 26th, 2011, 22:49
I guess the combat doesn't bother me because I'm a mage and I rarely get into melee. I'm a backflip and blast type of player because I was a glass cannon for a long time. Now that intelligence and spirit are at decent levels, and maxed with charms, I've added to the other stats and can stand toe-to-toe for a little bit.

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January 26th, 2011, 22:57
Yeah I actually played as a melee character for 10-15 hours or so and restarted as a mage before going on to finish the game. Playing as a mage certainly makes combat a bit more fun and tolerable, but I still don't like the design of the combat mechanics. But like I said in my previous post, I still think that Divinity 2 is a really solid game overall and features some very inspired design elements. It might have some flaws, but it would be great if there were more games like this.
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January 27th, 2011, 11:15
Ive found melee "ok" with long reaching two handed weapons. At one point I used archery to get away from bad situation but I try to stick melee. There are som ways you can do hit and dodge. Or try to kill the target before it hits you.

The games has lots of WTF situations where you are kind of pushed to do decisions. It kind of forces you to think about your character (aka roleplaying) since othervice youll end up doing almost random decisions that might have unknown consecuences like missing somthing interesting and thats somthing you might not like.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
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January 29th, 2011, 15:34
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
Yeah I actually played as a melee character for 10-15 hours or so and restarted as a mage before going on to finish the game. Playing as a mage certainly makes combat a bit more fun and tolerable, but I still don't like the design of the combat mechanics. But like I said in my previous post, I still think that Divinity 2 is a really solid game overall and features some very inspired design elements. It might have some flaws, but it would be great if there were more games like this.
It's too bad you didn't found the fun of close range fighting. Have you played Torchlight? With various well designed skills with special effects Torchlight setup a high quality close range fighting. If you remind apply a similar approach in DKS, the close range fight of DKS show a lot of fun.

A first point in DKS is how fast are missiles and even how some seek you. If you stop to this feeling then it's irritating. But put more care:
  • The fast missiles are prepared by an enemy animation for most of them, so have a an eye on them to anticipate dodging instead of waiting the missile is thrown/cast, this will not work with all enemies but with many.
  • One trouble with so fast missiles is to dodge many coming from different directions and different opponents. A trick is to try to approximately synchronize their attacks. You can achieve it by hiding and show you to all at same time, a jump into the open area do that well.
  • Another trick to manage multiple fast missiles is to use movements that will dodge multiple missiles coming even not synchronized, Jumping do that very well and the good thing with you use melee weapon is that you can also use jump to combine an efficient attack with the dodging.
  • Side roll achieve with side step and jump are also very efficient to move and dodge multiple missiles at same time. They are also useful to dodge a close range attacker.
  • Against missiles that seek you, in fact they seek you only partially for many and even for those that seek you efficiently, jump and side rolls are very efficient to dodge them, and if you keep a constant care of this instead of focusing only on hitting, you'll see it's much more doable and efficient than you could think.
  • Another point against seeking missiles is to manage your placement not too far from an obstacle where you could hide with a side roll or jump.
  • When you need run to opponents using such guided missiles and even those with more standard missiles, not rushing forward but merge short move and jumps and anticipate missiles with a jump, will make quite less basic such phase and in fact quite fun. You can merge this approach with jump fighting some of the last close range enemy that bother you.

But the game also provides some cool close range fighting skills:
  • The first, almost mandatory is the jump attack skill increasing damages of this versatile and useful attack.
  • The Jump Attack isn't only efficient because giving a great way to mix dodging and attack, but also it allows slow down a lot the pace of the fights, and that's a grezt point.
  • Whirlwind is also very useful to make fights more deep and more fun. You can't constantly do group attack but it's very useful when you get cornered by multiple oponent and could chain Whirlwind with Jump Attack to escape. Another good chain is jump in and Whirlwind against multiple opponents.
  • Rush Attack is a cool option to have too. When you have played Torchlight you could only quote how Rush Attack could be better designed, but it's still a good move for some special cases, for a rare special fast movements, or to start attacking an opponent not yet close range.

Later skills also offer some good opportunity to make close range fights deeper and more fun:
  • Battle Rage : To manage aggressive phases and less aggressive phases.
  • Thousand Strikes : To have a powerful attack at disposal.

All in all, DKS close range fights really worth more care and a deeper investigation, and they provide a good amount of fun, and the Jump Attack design is top class.

For sure the close range fights design aren't top design, for a similar design approach the DKS design team could learn a lot from Torchlight design team, slower missiles, slower enemies, better visual/sound hints to allow player anticipation, skills with constant effects allowing setup tactics, stun, push back, make fall down, freeze, and more. And also the auto targeting works roughly well and is well designed but it certainly disable plenty fun, a good example would be how in Torchlight the skill similar to Rush Attack is quite more deep and more fun just because it isn't glued with auto targeting.

But still despite there's a wide range of potential improvements, DKS close range fights have a lot of fun, and with some effort the reward can be very good. For sure G2/Risen sword fighting system is quite subtle when merged with a tuned design of enemies but this system never worked well against multiple enemies and it definitely needs reach the same diversity depth that could bring a system using skills. I don't see any RPG with single character and first person/over the shoulder point of view that offer better close range fights, other than G2 and Risen but I don't consider them better from a large margin but only a small margin. And The Witcher is third if you give up exploit frenetic clicking and try something more subtle and more fun by merging movements, attacks and skills.
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January 29th, 2011, 17:54
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
Battles are spent constantly rolling around all over the place (the only defensive "maneuver"), jumping 30 feet in the air, and hoping to wear opponents down in silly battles of attrition. Combat is not the most important part of an RPG, so the shallow and tedious battle system of Divinity 2 certainly wasn't game-breaking for me. However, because combat is inevitable in RPGs, I prefer my combat to have some depth, either through the need of formulating good strategies or the use of sound tactics. Divinity 2 requires neither.
I rather disagree.

Some skills are pretty useless at lower levels and start to shine later, maybe that contributed to your negative experience with warrior.

I play battlemage on nightmare and found combat only tedious in fortresses where most of it could be easily bypassed (which I did) and sometimes in Broken Valley (where I often had to resort to archery despite not having stats/skills developed for that), but thatīs kinda to be expected being low level and all.
I, for example, never use jump attacks. Rush, Firewall, Whirlwind (Way of the Battlemage added later) are where itīs at for my char.

And combat does have some depth. Maybe not combat scenarios themselves, but, at least on higher difficulties, there are demands on strategic character/gear development and tactical part comes when you have to play well to your characterīs strengths/resources.
Last edited by DeepO; January 30th, 2011 at 19:16.
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August 19th, 2011, 20:14
I did not enjoy (particularly) the fights. Nothing to be remembered here. I also *disliked* the general aesthetics, so kitsch and adolescent. But what made Divinity 2 special to me, just like Divine Divinity, were the quests and dialogs. Plentyful and sometimes funny. I actually laughed some times and that is very rare in a videogame.
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August 21st, 2011, 18:03
Great writing. Absolute best use of humor in an RPG I've ever experienced. Exactly the right level, and intelligent.

The combat was bad from top to bottom, but the aerial combat was especially bad. I got bored around the time I became a dragon. The tower and servants aspect is interesting, but didn't do it for me. Still, one of my all-time favorite games for the writing and humor alone.
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