|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Games » Divinity Games » Divinity 2 » Divinty 2: Dragon Knight Saga - One Awesome Game

Default Divinty 2: Dragon Knight Saga - One Awesome Game

February 2nd, 2011, 22:19
Divinity 2: Dragon Knight Saga
Platform Reviewed: PC Digital Download, US

This is one of those few games that I enjoyed so much that I just had to write about it. If you liked Divinity 2 and are interested in the meandering detailed impressions of another gamer, then this chatterbox of a post is for you.

Back in 2002/2003 I played and very much enjoyed Divine Divinity, Larian’s first CRPG. If you’re interested in what I have to say about that game, I posted a review of it on Gamespot. I skipped their second offering, Beyond Divinity because after spending a few hours with that game, I really didn’t like the light me/dark me paradigm.

When news was released about their third CRPG game, Divinity 2: Ego Draconis, I was skeptical about the whole ‘become a dragon’ feature, probably because of how the ‘light me/dark me’ feature of Beyond Divinity didn’t work for me and the ‘turn into a dragon’ feature of Divinity 2 rose my ‘unique feature I’m not much going like’ flag.

However, I was finally compelled by the glowing reviews by both game reviewers and gamers to pick up Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga and I’m glad I did. For those of you who do not know the confusing breakdown of Divinity 2 and all its various flavors I’ll quickly summarize it here:

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis (ED)
Released in the U.S. in January 2010. This is the original version of the game.

Divinity 2: Flames of Vengeance (FOV)
This is an expansion to Divinity 2: Ego Draconis. It primarily plays out in the city/town of Aleroth – a location you touch on during ED. I don’t think there was a retail release for FOV in the U.S., but I believe you can get it from various on-line sources via digital download. GameFaq doesn’t show a release date for this version so I’m not sure when it became available.

Divinity2: Dragon Knight Saga (DKS)
From what I understand, this package combines Divinity 2: Ego Draconis and Divinity 2: Flames of Vengeance into one package. Among other things, this version offers additional quests, additional weapons & armor, rebalanced gameplay, and a superior graphics engine throughout both the original campaign (ED) and the expansion (FOV). This version of the game was released in November 2010.

Note: I came within inches of receiving a boxed copy of this game from GoGamer.com, but instead they shipped me Lego Harry Potter. That whole drama played out on RPGWatch’s forum here. I ended up buying and playing the digital version of this game from GamersGate.com. As far as I know there are no differences between the digital version of this game and its boxed counterpart. After finishing DKS, I was in fact able to obtain a boxed version of the game from GoGamer.com, I’m one of those people that just needs to have a boxed copy.

It’s also worth noting that it is unfortunate that Larian created some brand recognition problems with three different products for one title. I will probably refer to this post in the future to remember what the differences are. But it is also worth noting that this result is because Larian put a lot of ‘love’ into this game to perfect it further after its original release – something to be commended despite the fact that their marketing makes things a bit confusing.

With that all said, the short version of my impression of Divinity 2 is this: whatever incarnation of Divinity 2 you play, it is a fun game and worthy of any CRPGers library. The game has an interesting story, memorable NPCs with (mostly) decent voice acting, great musical tracks, interesting quests, a wide assortment of weapons and armor, a lot of attributes and skills to fiddle with, a well-designed and modestly interactive world to explore, the ability to enchant & charm equipment, an elegant user interface, and a touch of good humor. You also get to turn into a dragon and own a flying fortress – now what can beat that? If you want to know more specifics, read on!

To follow is a series of impressions on the game both good and bad, in no particular order of importance:

Nods To ‘Greats’
In an interview posted on RPGCodex.net, Swen Vincke of Larian Studios alludes that Ultima VII is one of his all-time favorite CRPGs and it shows in their games. Like Divine Divinity, Divinity 2 gives a few nods to the Ultima series in a number of ways. Both games include a level of world interaction that can reveal entrances to hidden locations or objects. Divinity 2 has ‘black rock’ as one of its ore materials. There is also the matter of Divinity 2’s expansion, Flames of Vengeance who’s acronym, FOV is the same as Ultima 7’s expansion’s acronym – Forge of Virtue (okay maybe I’m reading into things here). But the nods to other ‘greats’ don’t end with the Ultima series. If you like Zelda games you will find some similar gameplay mechanics; dungeon rooms who’s doors slam shut upon entering only to be opened after fighting ‘bad guys’ and ‘bombs’ that can be placed to reveal passages behind terrain. There is also of course a lot of ‘Diablo’ in this game in terms of weapons and armor sets and hordes of enemies you sometimes have to fight all at once.

User Interface
Divinity 2’s UI is a joy, especially considering the trend in recent years by developers making identical UI’s for both the PC and consoles. Divinity 2 employs an above average UI and one that takes into consideration a mouse, keyboard, and higher resolution (compared to TV resolutions for consoles). The UI is elegant and easy to use while still displaying plenty of information on-screen at once. Tooltips are provided when you hover over things with your mouse and left clicking on most things provides quite a bit of detail. Clicking on weapons and armor doesn’t just provide the essential statistics, but also some lore information – I thought this was a nice touch that generates a deeper interest with the game by the player. Click on a skill and not only do you get the essentials, but you can watch a video of how that skill plays out in-game. Your inventory is broken down into suitable categories that make sense and make it easier to find what you are looking for.

My only (small) gripe with the UI is that you cannot drop inventory items on the ground. However, later in the game when you get your flying fortress you can send things from your inventory to your fortress chest at any time. And throughout both ED and FOV it is worth noting that I never ran out of storage space with my fortress chest. But still, it would have been nice to be able to drop stuff you pick up back onto the ground (and have it stay there).

World Simulation
Overall the game world itself is well done. Exploring every nook and cranny is rewarding and fun as often you will experience something interesting. Also, the graphics are above average and so the world is beautiful to look at. Early on you will find a very large tower that seems to stretch endlessly into the sky – and you can go to the very top. Poking around routinely reveals a hidden hatchway into some cave you can explore for quests and treasures.

However, there is no day and night cycle in this game, which for me is a negative – not a huge negative, but still its absence was puzzling to me for this sort of game. Bizarrely, the developers also include many references to night time in NPC dialogs relating to quests and also in books which one would think would be avoided by the developers knowing that no day and night cycle would be implemented in the game.

Another thing that somewhat broke immersion for me is there is a disjointed feel to the game world. A game like Divinity 2 really should be more like Gothic 3 in the sense of one contiguous outdoor land mass to explore. I don’t mind dungeons/caves/temples having their own map (aka load screen). But Broken Valley, the Orabas Fjords, and Sentinel Island should have been seamless in terms of traveling to each of those destinations.

Invisible Barriers
Invisible Barriers was a big complaint about Arcania: Gothic 4. However, Divinity 2 seems just as bad as Arcania: Gothic 4 with this issue. There are invisible walls everywhere in this game which is really a shame. The situation goes from bad to worse when you start flying around as a dragon as bumping into invisible walls and ceilings becomes a matter of routine.

Arcania: Gothic 4 took a lot of heat for its liberal use of invisible barriers and I find it interesting that I personally have not seen any criticism about invisible walls toward Divinity 2. Perhaps this is because Divinity 2 is viewed as having many other strengths while arguably, the same cannot be said for Arcania: Gothic 4. World of Warcraft was my last experience with a flying mount prior to playing Divinity 2, which sets a pretty high bar in terms of freedom of movement. By comparison, flying as a dragon in Divinity 2 is ironically a claustrophobic experience.

Books
I really enjoy books in CRPGs and Divinity 2 almost gets them perfect. Even the graphical presentation of the books makes good eye candy the first time you see it. Little touches like the corners of the pages curling up under your mouse as if you are going to turn the page is enjoyable. Some books are silly and some books provide the player with more knowledge of the lore of the world which is always welcome. I also liked how no single book was a very long read. Some books in Oblivion were very long reads – sometimes too long in my opinion (of course, this is very subjective).

Unfortunately, I never did come across a book that initiated a quest which was surprising to me. Also, no books that I came across increased any of my attributes or specific skills for having read them – a feature I enjoyed in Oblivion. However, you can find books that give you skill points for use in your dragon form. And in FoV I found (a lot) of books that increased my human form skill point reserve as well.

Feedback
Feedback is one area sorely lacking in many CRPGs but Divinity 2 is one CRPG that goes further than most in this area. The game communicates to the player very clearly as events take place. If you progress a quest by some action, the game tells you by stating the full name of the quest as shown in your quest log and weather the quest was completed or progressed. As you perform activities that progress quests, your quest log updates to reflect your progress, accompanied by a blinking cursor in your quest log to indicate changes have occurred in your quest log for a given quest. Every dialog you’ve had with NPCs is recorded and available to you at all times (except it seems that mindreading info is strangely omitted). If an item is given to you or removed from your inventory, the full name of the object is shown on the screen as either being added or removed from your inventory. When you are buying equipment, hovering over items compares it with currently equipped items. The amount of feedback in Divinity 2 is very thorough and I very much appreciated that.

While I loved Gothics 1 through 3, they all were lacking in this area. How many times I picked up a ‘ring’ from the ground, only to have to fiddle around reviewing my inventory for 5 minutes to finally realize I picked up yet another ring that I already have 5 of and it wasn’t a new or unique ring that I did not have. It was the same when NPCs gave you something during an NPC dialog: NPC Joe Smith gives you ‘ring.’ Ugh.

In my opinion, Divinity 2 does so much right in this area that I find it hard to complain about some shortcomings. For the sake of offering improvement tips, here are a few things I would have included in this area:

Keys – In my play through of the game, the place where you find a key and the door or chest it unlocks was usually in close proximity. However I did end ED with two keys that I never found a lock for. I would suggest that the player be able to label their keys with information. Or at the very least, have a key’s tooltip text state the specific location where you found the key. That way, the player could later have some chance at hunting down the lock the key belongs to. As it stands now, I have no idea where I picked up either of those two keys and no clue as to where I’d begin to look for their locks.

Another thought is that if information can be attached to keys to help identify where the key was found and perhaps any other relevant information about the key, the developers would have more flexibility to perhaps place keys further away from their locks with players still having a good chance of hunting down the lock for the key.

Finally, a key ring would have been nice. Note to CRPG developers: If you are going to have lots and lots of keys in your game, create some kind of key ring in your game to organize them all. Thank you.

Quest Loot – When you hover your mouse over equipment in your inventory, a chest, or a vendor’s inventory, the game will compare whatever you are hovering over with what you have currently equipped. However, this feature doesn’t work when you select your loot options after having completed a quest – which is one of the most important times it should work because once you’ve made your choices, you can’t go back and pick something different if you select something that is not something you really needed.

Map – The maps provided to the player do their job although I didn’t like the art direction of them much. However, the developers allowed us to make our own notes on the map and for that all is forgiven. The only thing I’d ask is being able to type in a bit more info per marker than is allowable in Divinity 2. Oh and one other thing. When the player brings up the map, the name of the area should be displayed… for example if you’re exploring, ‘The Bandit’s Cave’ then when you bring up the map it should read, ‘The Bandit’s Cave.’

Inventory
I generally didn’t have any problems with inventory, Divinity 2 separates things out into manageable categories. Your carrying restrictions are fairly liberal. You can carry 100 items and if you invest skill points, you can carry much more than that. My only (small) criticism is that quest related inventory items should not count as part of your carrying capacity and any other object that you cannot destroy or send to your war chest also should not count.

Falling
Like no day and night cycle, this is another puzzling design decision. You take absolutely no falling damage. If you were in orbit above Broken Valley and fell to the ground, you’d be just fine. Then, bizarrely, the developers include several areas in the game involving jumping from platform to platform where the only real risk of falling means you just have to start all over again. In the early part of the game, there is even a jumping platform area where the ground is littered with the bodies of those who came before you and fell to their deaths… but if you fall you are perfectly fine. Because I love to explore game worlds, the absence of falling damage detracts a bit from the feeling of reaching a difficult area where falling and dying to get there is a real barrier (Risen got this right). This is just a minor gripe but there you have it.

Quests
Most of the quests are interesting with very few being of the Fed-Ex type or kill X foozles variety. I also enjoyed picking up quests via signposts. I had hoped that I would at some point obtain quests by reading books but it never happened – or at least I never found a book that added a quest to my quest log. I also thought the voiceovers for inanimate objects was a nice touch… for some reason it had this sort of ‘Harry Potter’ movie feel to it (which is good if you liked the Harry Potter movies).

One design decision regarding quests that I like is how quest related objects (and even doorways) spawn when you get a quest or become aware of things via mindreading. I’ve read on various forums how some people don’t like that. I like this approach for two reasons: 1) I feel more comfortable exploring things because I’m not worried I’ll break a quest by finding something out of order – I’ve played a lot of ‘sandbox’ type games where you can stumble on to objects before your character is told about them and sometimes you break quests (and sometimes you break plot driven quests where the only solution is to start all over again /twitch) and 2) In general (as in, not in every circumstance) I like the idea that if your character doesn’t know about something that is quest or puzzle related, then objects relating to that puzzle shouldn’t be there. Here’s an example, in Ultima IV, one way your character can learn mantras for shrines is by discovering NPCs who know the mantra. However, if you as a person (as in, not your game character) already know the mantras (because you are perhaps on your second play through of the game), you can do certain activities sooner than other players can who will have to discover what the mantras are first. In short, I like an appropriate amount of definition between what I know about the game as a player and what my character can know based on his progress in the game world.

Timed Events
FoV introduced a few timed events. I like the idea of timed events and thought it should have been used more frequently in FoV. Timed events were completely absent in my play through of ED – although there could have been timed events that I just missed on my first run through of the game. In any case, timed events, when done correctly, can add an exciting challenge to fights with enemies and completing quests. I only experienced two timed fights in FoV (which were challenging in a fun way), wish there was a bit more than that.

NPCs
The NPCs are well done with a few very memorable characters along the way. The voice acting is above average for a computer game as well (especially if you compare the voice work of Divinity 2 to Arcania: Gothic 4). Mindreading is a nice touch with all nature of various rewards for exploring peoples’ thoughts. Early in the game I made the decision to mind read everyone (that was mind-readable) and never regretted it. Sometimes mindreading gives you a boost in a specific skill, or a skill point, or even an attribute point –all good stuff in my opinion.

My only gripe as it relates to NPC’s is that while there were usually a good number of possible dialog responses in conversations, after experimenting, very few result in a drastically different outcome. For example, you have a 3 choices of how to respond to an NPC: respond with respect, respond rudely, or respond in a neutral way. After saving/loading and trying each response, the end result is typically the same. That said, the strengths of this game are plentiful and if you want dialogs that are center stage in a CRPG there is always Dragon Age: Origins.

Enchanting/Charming/Alchemy
The crafting portion of this game allows for a greater RPG experience and is done adequately in Divinity 2. Crafting isn’t nearly as involved as in Oblivion or Risen and tends to be more simplistic with its implementation (which is neither good or bad). My only gripe in this area relates to charms… I just never really came across enough charms that were useful to my equipment’s level. For future Divinity games I’d like to see crafting expanded and a bit more complex.

There is also a little inconsistency as it relates to crafting. While in my tower I could create enchants and potions when my actual materials were in my war chest. But to charm an item, the charm needed to be in my personal inventory. This is just a small inconsistency but I noticed it.

Weapons/Armor
I have a love/hate relationship with CRPGs that create randomized loot. I love the idea, however I am personally cursed. The curse goes something like this: I decide to role play a mage character. From that moment on, the game’s random loot generator will forever tend to present melee and ranged weapons and armor. In another scenario I decide play a melee character. From that moment on, the game’s random loot generator will forever tend to present magic and ranged weapons and armor. And so on. You get the idea. This is my curse. And Divinity 2 was no exception with implementing the full force and effect of this curse upon me. There are some nice weapons and armor sets to found in Divinity 2 which are fixed in terms of their stats and bonuses, but in the time between nice armor sets, I was running around in magic and ranged oriented weapons and armor pieces with a bunch of skills invested in melee.

Something else I’d like to mention here as it relates to weapons and armor. I’d like especially difficult to get to (or unlock) treasure chests to NOT produce random loot. There is nothing more yawn inducing than figuring out the twists and turns of some puzzle or quest (or finding some difficult to find key) that leads you to a treasure chest that randomly spawns a lot of junk you could care less about. I’d like more of a hand-placed-loot approach in situations like these. This is a medium-level gripe and is not limited at all to just Divinity 2 (cough TES games cough).

Character Progression
Divinity 2 shines here. Unlike Oblivion where level scaling creates a sort of ho-hum experience as you level up, enemies in Divinity 2 will hand you your head on a platter in 1/10th of a second if you roam into areas you aren’t prepared for. It can be frustrating to be outclassed. But it is highly rewarding when you return at a higher level and with better gear and put some serious wup-a$$ on baddies who handed you your head earlier on. Divinity 2 scores high in the satisfaction of character progression.

Discovery
Divinity 2 really shines here. Carefully exploring the world is rewarding. More often than not, you will experience something interesting. This aspect of the game really compels the player to pay attention and look everywhere – and for that you are generally rewarded. This was one big criticism I had with Oblivion – sure the world of Oblivion made nice eye candy, but other than that there wasn’t much reward for exploring nooks and crannies. In Divine Divinity, there was a house where I moved a bunch of barrels from all being stacked on one another and discovered a trap door. There was no hint or clue (that I can remember) to do this, but since you could move objects around, when I saw the barrels, I was naturally inclined to move them. It’s this kind of discovery that is so satisfying. Divinity 2 has moments like these in spades.

Pointy Hats
I wish my mage character (who I’m playing now) could have an outfit similar to Zandalor. I like the idea of a pointy wizard hat for my mage characters.

Pickles
Divinity 2 can and does offer real challenges when it comes to combat. There’s nothing like wondering into an area where the enemies substantially outclass you and you get handed your be-hind. In outdoor areas if you find you are outclassed you can always just run away. But indoor areas can offer a very special type of punishment if you’re not careful. Players need to utilize Divinity 2’s old-school save-game system, (and old-school save game systems are a good thing) and use it smartly, in order to avoid unwinnable situations. There were at least 3 instances in my play through where I had to resort to a much earlier save because I found myself in a predicament where I could not defeat the enemies and I had become lazy with saving my game progress. These encounters always happened in scripted events in dungeons with fights against bosses (and their minions) where a door slams closed and locked until you defeat all enemies. Finding out at that moment you are terrifically out-classed can be painful if your last save was hours ago. My recommendation to players is to always save outside of a dungeon before venturing in. Then, while exploring the dungeon, use quick-save to capture your progress as you clear it out. If, in the end, you find you are outclassed with no way to escape the dungeon, you can resort to the save-game you made before ever entering the dungeon and only lose the time you spent in that particular dungeon.

20/80 Vision While Flying
When I first took shape as a dragon I thought the blurred effect while flying was pretty cool. About 1/10th of a second later however, I hated it. The reason is because it just made it hard to clearly see the game world. The final analysis of this ‘blurred’ effect is that while it has a cool ‘ooh ahh’ factor to it, it just wasn’t practical for the player as they explore the world.

FOV Respawns
I’ve read a number of complaints on various forums criticizing enemies that re-spawn in certain areas of the FoV content. However, I saw that as an opportunity to level up my character. After playing ED and always feeling like my character was behind the curve relative to enemies I was combating, I found this a refreshing way to even the playing field (and then some). I suppose if you are rushing through the game it can be irritating, but I liked it and didn’t think it was overly done.

Changes to Locations
I appreciate having access to all locations throughout a game. The ability to go back to places you’ve already explored and find subtle changes or changes in NPC attitudes. And I’ve always advocated for geographical changes to the environment based on player actions or progressing the plot of some quest (or main quest).

Divinity 2 gets this a bit wrong in my opinion. For example, once you obtain your fortress, Broken Valley is taken over by Damien’s forces resulting in a poison cloud on the ground making all but the highest elevated areas of Broken Valley accessible. This is the kind of thing I’ve wanted for years but Divinity 2 gets it a bit wrong. I like the idea of Broken Valley changing, but I’d rather still had it where the vast majority of that land space was traversable in human form.

Final Analysis
Divinity 2 is a great game. It has all the trappings of a ‘sandbox’ game without quite being a ‘sandbox’ game which in my view is its single biggest shortcoming. Fortunately, the game has so much going for it that to bring it to the level of being a full-bore ‘sandbox’ game wouldn’t take more than the collective will of the developers to make it so. So what is needed to make a future Divinity game more ‘sandbox-ish?’ In my opinion, just four things; A full day/night cycle, falling damage, contiguous world-space, and deeper crafting mechanics. Nonetheless, this game is truly awesome.

Score: 9/10

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
TheMadGamer is offline

TheMadGamer

TheMadGamer's Avatar
SasqWatch

#1

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,977

Default 

February 3rd, 2011, 14:46
That was very thorough review, and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'm really looking forward to playing DKS.



Also, when you have time, can you review that copy of Lego Harry Potter for us?
JDR13 is online now

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch

#2

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 17,800

Default 

February 3rd, 2011, 18:24
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
That was very thorough review, and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'm really looking forward to playing DKS.
Your welcome! And I'm sure you'll enjoy the game, it is a lot of fun.

Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Also, when you have time, can you review that copy of Lego Harry Potter for us?
No can do… I ebay-ed it!

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
TheMadGamer is offline

TheMadGamer

TheMadGamer's Avatar
SasqWatch

#3

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,977

Default 

February 4th, 2011, 00:56
Agreed with the summary in the beginning and with a lot of your points. Good read!

I´ll just comment on few things I disagree with (more posts in this subforum the better, right ):

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Invisible Barriers
Invisible Barriers was a big complaint about Arcania: Gothic 4. However, Divinity 2 seems just as bad as Arcania: Gothic 4 with this issue. There are invisible walls everywhere in this game which is really a shame. The situation goes from bad to worse when you start flying around as a dragon as bumping into invisible walls and ceilings becomes a matter of routine.
Invisible barriers in DKS don´t hamper exploration in any significant way imo.
You can jump, climb ladders, swim, traverse steep slopes, later fly. When an area seems like it should be reachable on foot, it in most cases also is. I agree that flying initially feels limited by this, but considering technical aspects, allowing player to fly as high as he wants would be a lot of additional hassle for very little gain. Invisible barriers are there mostly to point out "the world ends here" and considering the amount of space you can explore, variety of means to do it and amount of stuff you can discover, personally I haven´t found a problem with it.
But yeah, flying feels a bit restrictive.

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Unfortunately, I never did come across a book that initiated a quest which was surprising to me. Also, no books that I came across increased any of my attributes or specific skills for having read them – a feature I enjoyed in Oblivion. However, you can find books that give you skill points for use in your dragon form. And in FoV I found (a lot) of books that increased my human form skill point reserve as well.
Some books do contain vital clues/miniquests, it just isn´t noted in your quest log.
One such quest is in the first inn you come across and without reading some books in Broken Valley, it´s virtually impossible to discover hidden treasures/ boosts, for example.
And you can find human form skill point books in Ego Draconis part as well.

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Another thought is that if information can be attached to keys to help identify where the key was found and perhaps any other relevant information about the key, the developers would have more flexibility to perhaps place keys further away from their locks with players still having a good chance of hunting down the lock for the key.
I like that generally when there´s no reason you should know what the key unlocks, there´s no description telling it. I agree that description telling where you found the key would be a nice addition.
There are some cases when the key opens a lock in entirely different location and then there is an additional label, at least there was in the case I remember from FoV.

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Falling
Like no day and night cycle, this is another puzzling design decision.
No, it isn´t imo. Puzzling, that is.
First, it can be somewhat explained away as one of your char´s special "properties" and iirc you can find really high places to fall from only after certain relevant plot point. It´s still a stretch from a "realistic" standpoint, but then again, DKS is a game where you play a char who can change into dragon, so..
Second, jumping off high cliffs is plain cool, provides some alternative shortcuts and more freedom for movement, goes well with the game´s larger than life feel and I think it also allowed developers to use z axis in world design more benevolently.
Majority of similar games incorporate falling damage, that there is none in DKS is another aspect that gives the game a distinct feel and imo it fits this particular case well. You can die easily in this game anyway .

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
I also thought the voiceovers for inanimate objects was a nice touch… for some reason it had this sort of ‘Harry Potter’ movie feel to it (which is good if you liked the Harry Potter movies).
I got pratchettesque vibes from these .

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
One design decision regarding quests that I like is how quest related objects (and even doorways) spawn when you get a quest or become aware of things via mindreading.
I´m sorry, but if the game would utilize this extensively, it´d be a terrible design decision. Thankfully, it doesn´t.
There may be few instances where the object spawns, doors unlock (this is always somehow explained in-game afair) and, naturally, new events take place as you proceed through some quest stages, but generally you can do things out of order and keys/buttons/etc which you "revealed" via mindreading were there and were usable even before that, just sometimes very unlikely to be discovered without it.
I´ve finished quite a few quests the moment I got them since I already got/done what I was asked for beforehand. I also remember one instance in FoV where during one quest I obtained an item which I could consume for stat boost, but haven´t done so thinking it may be usable in a different manner (well, it was placed among quest items in inventory after all) and, lo and behold, two hours later I got another quest where the item indeed came in handy!
And, from what I remember, the game always took good care of quest logic in these cases - if I´d consumed the item from the above example, I could inform the quest giver that I indeed found what he wanted but consumed it instead of bringing it to him, which would result in, gasp, failed quest.
Yes, in DKS you can fail quests!

I may be wrong, but I just don´t remember any kind of quest related type of spawn you mentioned. I noticed the game does utilize this mechanics (aka item spawns only when your char becomes aware of it, mostly via mind reading), but in such cases those were only parts of gear (a part of an armor set and such).


Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
I only experienced two timed fights in FoV (which were challenging in a fun way), wish there was a bit more than that.
I remember seven .
Also, there is one set of timed fights in ED part.


Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Enchanting/Charming/Alchemy
The crafting portion of this game allows for a greater RPG experience and is done adequately in Divinity 2. Crafting isn’t nearly as involved as in Oblivion or Risen and tends to be more simplistic with its implementation (which is neither good or bad). My only gripe in this area relates to charms… I just never really came across enough charms that were useful to my equipment’s level. For future Divinity games I’d like to see crafting expanded and a bit more complex.
Crafting in DKS is very good, certainly better than in Risen imo. I don´t remember how it worked in vanilla Oblivion, besides that you were able to craft spells there, which in DKS isn´t possible.

First, it´s tied to exploration, questing and economy. That alone makes it quite involved:
a) You need to find ingredients and recipes which is one of the game´s ways how to make exploration rewarding. Also, in dangerous places you´re likely to find better recipes.
b) The best enchantments usually require a certain rare ingredient which you can mostly acquire only as a quest reward, plus you can do alchemy/enchanting more effectively if you do certain quests.
c) It costs money.

Second, there´s a solid variety in what you can do with crafting:
a) You can brew a variety of potions which can be useful especially in the first half of the game and you can boost potions´ effectiveness via skill.
b) You can customize a certain summon (a cool addition, btw) for various purposes.
c) You have a variety of charms you can use on your gear - one of the things that make charms involved is that once you use a charm on an item, you can´t revert it. Do I charm this weapon or I´ll wait till the better one? Personally, I stashed the best charms till I really felt I have gear which I´m likely to be using for a long time and charming everything by then provided a satisfying boost in power making all the charm hoarding worthy.
d) You have a variety of enchantments you can use on your gear and there are different effects for each type (jewelry, armors and weapons each allow for different effects). One quite important aspect here is that, besides finding a recipe, you can also add new enchantments to your arsenal by disenchanting an item. Sometimes I bought an item only so that I could disenchant it and use the effect on something else.
e) There are 10 levels of strength of each type of enchantment/charm/body part/potion. That´s quite a lot and ensures quite well a sense of growth.
f) You have 12 equipment slots and in each one can be an item which can be enchanted/charmed. This allows for a lot of possible approaches, creating synergies, making up for char´s deficiencies and such.
(edit: checked out a save from the endgame and by that time my character has equipped items with total of 33 charms and 27 enchantments, for example)
g) Finally, besides their primary attributes/bonuses, items have different amount of charm/enchantment slots. This adds a rather substantial layer when evaluating the quality of gear and also adds more variety to it.
h) Sorry, I think I really got carried away here!

All in all, imo there´s a lot to do with crafting in DKS and it´s also one of the reasons why looting in this game is so exciting.

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
FOV Respawns
I’ve read a number of complaints on various forums criticizing enemies that re-spawn in certain areas of the FoV content. However, I saw that as an opportunity to level up my character. After playing ED and always feeling like my character was behind the curve relative to enemies I was combating, I found this a refreshing way to even the playing field (and then some). I suppose if you are rushing through the game it can be irritating, but I liked it and didn’t think it was overly done.
I didn´t have a problem with respawns themselves since they were somewhat justified by the story, what I wasn´t much fond of though, was how much experience could be gained from combat compared to experience from quests.
Considering how quest driven the FoV part is and that there´s quite a lot of quests which don´t require any combat at all, I´d prefer to get substantially more experience from quests and less from combat.

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Changes to Locations
I share the same opinion with you on this, but you really should put this section into spoiler tags .
Oh, and the structure you
Spoiler
Last edited by DeepO; February 4th, 2011 at 16:53.
DeepO is offline

DeepO

DeepO's Avatar
deep outside

#4

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Prague
Posts: 2,327

Default 

February 4th, 2011, 02:33
And yeah, it is One Awesome Game.

A very good world design, accentuated vertical aspect in some areas, various means of travelling, attention to detail, shitload of hidden stuff, sometimes unforgiving enemy placement and all kinds of loot make exploring in this game a riot. Dungeons are almost never generic, there are always some hidden stashes to be uncovered or a puzzle to be solved.

The amount and variety of available skills, solid amount of crafting possibilities and, again, loot variety gives a player a lot of possibilities how to customize and develop his character.

Did I mention loot variety? It´s huge. Besides randomizing some chests´ content and merchants´ inventories, the game also uses quite clever system of randomizing equippable items´ properties. Depending on character build, some sets of properties are useful, some not, but it´s usually good to examine them carefully. The name of such item is derived from its set of properties which results in ridiculous names such as (Heroic) Savage Magical Light Noble Sword of the Vampire and personally I´ve found this "quirk" added positively to game´s identity. Besides this, there are parts of armor sets and other unique items obtainable from merchants or as quest rewards and even though I´d too prefer there´d be more of these, especially in those special chests, overall I´ve found looting in DKS to be a really exciting venture unequalled in any game from recent memory.

Quests are often creative, sometimes offer multiple solutions with some (mostly minor) consequences, some can be failed and what really affects the general feel of the game significantly - there´s very little in terms of hand holding. This further boosts exploration and makes completing quests rewarding. And I already mentioned hidden stuff which often forms a miniquest on its own without utilizing quest log at all.

At least on higher difficulties, the game is appropriately challenging and forces player to carefully evaluate loot, take advantage of crafting and specialize in stat/skill department.

Writing is solid, often sharp or funny, dialogues are mostly well voice acted, plus some quite cool animations get utilized in them, and there´s a good amount of books to be read. Also, generally the game isn´t overly wordy and it suits the genre well, methinks.
However, even with its relative brevity, the game manages to sport host of memorable and unique characters. I´d say the writing is … effective.

Speaking of funny, I haven´t played an RPG which made me laugh so often and hard as DKS. From various cultural references to montypythonesque moments or some particular quest scenarios, this game delivers and I´ve found its humor and the way the game often doesn´t take itself seriously very refreshing and agreeable. There are also some running jokes and one easter egg-y scenario even affected the final ED cutscene.

Art direction and music are very good, sometimes just plain awesome and together can create some unforgettable moments.

On top of this, there´s mind reading and dragon antics which add other substantial facets to already rather feature-rich game.
Flying has some rough edges and as mentioned above, it feels somewhat restrictive at times, but it´s a welcome addition providing a new perspective and some good scenarios taking advantage of it.
And jumping off a high cliff, changing into dragon in the middle of fall and flying into the sunset while heroic music kicks in is cool .

The progression through the game is semi-linear, meaning some areas close/open/change as player progresses through the main story, but for most of the time available areas are big, contain a lot of side quests and optional stuff to be discovered and since enemy levels are set, the challenge/reward system is in place.

The FoV portion isn´t as expansive in gameplay variety as the main game, instead it provides a good ´ole city adventure with a lot of secrets to be uncovered, puzzles to be solved and interesting encounters to be had and as such enriches the whole saga with a new kind of experience.
It would probably work even better if it was more organically tied to the rest of the game, but on its own it´s well executed nevertheless.

UI is smooth and stat descriptions make fun of pc´s incompetency .
I don´t remember any major bugs or any persistent stutter/lag problems - once I changed shadows from ultra to high, performance hiccups were very rare.
I think Larian used Gamebryo well.


Besides some minor nitpicks, my main gripes would be:

The second half of ED contains some optional grind zones which feel underdeveloped in certain aspects - thankfully in DKS most of their parts can be bypassed fast, but it can still negatively affect pacing I think.
And yes, they´re optional, but there are some very good reasons to "do" them.

Also in the second half of ED, some parts of the main quest aren´t as elaborated and interesting as in the first half. Still, the overall quality of side quests there, the newly introduced highly vertical kind of exploration as well as rest of game´s strengths quite easily make up for this.

There was barely any challenge in FoV and I´ve played on nightmare.
Some ridiculous combat scenarios and new devious enemies would be nice.
Some hidden compartments were pretty challenging to find though .

And one spoiler-y complaint:
Spoiler


All in all, a great game, certainly my favourite released in 2010, one of the best aRPGs I´ve played and it instantly put Larian among the companies whose next titles I anticipate the most (as of now, the other being Piranha Bytes and CDProjekt).
Now, where´s my Divinity 3!?


Sorry for hiking your thread TheMadGamer with my wall of text (quite filled with content overlaps), I finished the game just recently and felt like writing a kind of summary somewhere and your thread seemed like the most appropriate place to do so .
Last edited by DeepO; February 4th, 2011 at 17:54.
DeepO is offline

DeepO

DeepO's Avatar
deep outside

#5

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Prague
Posts: 2,327

Default 

February 4th, 2011, 18:39
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
Sorry for hiking your thread TheMadGamer with my wall of text (quite filled with content overlaps), I finished the game just recently and felt like writing a kind of summary somewhere and your thread seemed like the most appropriate place to do so .
YOU HIJACKED MY THREAD! /shakes fist

Seriously, it is quite alright and I enjoyed every word of your write up.

Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
The second half of ED contains some optional grind zones which feel underdeveloped in certain aspects…
Are you referring to the 4 flying fortresses in Orabas Fjords? Those are what I think of form your comment. I tend to agree (if in fact that is what you are referring to). I did however find a fun way to play through them. During my first playthrough of the game, each of the 4 flying fortresses contained enemies fairly tough relative to my level and gear. I played through each one of them with the idea that I was slowly breaking into and taking over each tower. I'd draw a few enemies out and kill them. Rinse repeat. Clearing all 4 fortresses took me a very long time. By the time I was finished, earlier parts of the game seemed like I had played them long ago. It was a bit of a grind… perhaps if there were only 3 fortresses it would have been more 'balanced.' Still, it was overall a fun stint of the game where exploring and puzzle solving took a sort of back seat in favor of killing and grinding.

Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
…the newly introduced highly vertical kind of exploration as well as rest of game´s strengths quite easily make up for this.
I agree with you here in principal, but not so much in the way actual implementation happened in the game. I like the idea of vertical exploration. But between the 'blurr effect' and the constant smashing into invisible barriers, the experience, for me, was diminished greatly.

I do however agree with some of your counterpoints on this (as you wrote in rebuttle to my initial post) that essentially there are limitations to 'freedom of movement' hard to overcome in a game like this and considering time and money on the part of developers.

I'm not sure in a practical sense what the answer is. As a player however, I would have like more freedom of movement in dragon form.

Great post!

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
TheMadGamer is offline

TheMadGamer

TheMadGamer's Avatar
SasqWatch

#6

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,977

Default 

February 4th, 2011, 19:40
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Are you referring to the 4 flying fortresses in Orabas Fjords?
Yep.
I´ve cleared those in
Spoiler
then proceeded to these 4 and in the middle of the first one I already started to feel similar thing to what you also mentioned - disconnection with the earlier parts of the game.
From then onwards, the way I dealt with them was: destroy defences in dragon form, dragon drop on chests, escape (sometimes hide in shadows was needed), then dragon drop into teleporters .
But some of that feeling of disconnection didn´t go away, which is why I said I think it hurts the pacing.
They were an interesting and rather unique features, but personally I´d prefer just 1 or 2 more fleshed out. I liked Keara´s HQ.
Last edited by DeepO; February 5th, 2011 at 03:00.
DeepO is offline

DeepO

DeepO's Avatar
deep outside

#7

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Prague
Posts: 2,327

Default 

February 5th, 2011, 00:26
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
…in the middle of the first one I already started to feel similar thing to what you also mentioned - disconnection with the earlier parts of the game.
Yes you say it better than I how I did, but that is the correct 'feeling.' Maybe if there were just two of these fortresses it would have been better (or 4 fortresses, but each one substantially smaller).

Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
From then onwards, the way I dealt with them was: destroy defences in dragon form, dragon drop on chests, escape (sometimes hide in shadows was needed), then dragon drop into teleporters .
I really bit the bullet on the 4 fortresses and cleaned them all out entirely… a very time consuming task that felt a lot like an mmo grind. I kept hoping that as I progressed through the fortresses they would get more like the rest of the game (more fleshed out), but in the final analysis they really were just a grind fest. I think this is Divinity 2's version of 'battlegrounds' you could enter in Beyond Divinity.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
TheMadGamer is offline

TheMadGamer

TheMadGamer's Avatar
SasqWatch

#8

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,977

Default 

February 7th, 2011, 07:20
I just finished the game (DKS version), myself. VERY well done! I'm certainly glad that expansion was included in my purchase so Ego's ending could smoothly transition to Flames' opening. The Bellegar character was a particular favorite of mine - did he show up in the other games? How did they ever get all his rhymes translated to other languages??

My only real dissapointment was…
Spoiler
Zloth is offline

Zloth

Zloth's Avatar
I smell a… wumpus!?

#9

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 2,738

Default 

February 7th, 2011, 18:31
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
I'm certainly glad that expansion was included in my purchase so Ego's ending could smoothly transition to Flames' opening.
I agree. I can understand why a lot of people were a little miffed by the ending of ED. And during the time before FoV was released, you could never be 100% sure that there would be an expansion to continue that cliff-hanger of an ending to ED.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
TheMadGamer is offline

TheMadGamer

TheMadGamer's Avatar
SasqWatch

#10

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,977

Default 

February 21st, 2011, 17:04
I started playing DKS now. A 5 gig download to patch the retail versions to DKS. 2 times. Aaargh!

Does the difficulty level every increase? I'm close to Lovis' Tower now, and so far it has been a piece of cake. I remember from ED that I died quite often. In DKS not even once.
Gorath is offline

Gorath

Gorath's Avatar
Prime Evil
RPGWatch Team

#11

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,834

Default 

February 21st, 2011, 17:16
It depends. If you do everything in an area before moving on, you'll be as high or higher than the enemies and it's cake. If you skip a few quests here and there and don't use a walkthrough to make sure you got everything, then you'll be a few levels lower than the enemies and it's much tougher. You can also visit some areas before the storyline gets there and then it'll be WAY tougher Go to the fjords at level 9 or 10 and see if it feels challenging enough

'nut
crpgnut is offline

crpgnut

crpgnut's Avatar
Fantasy Novel Archmage
RPGWatch Donor

#12

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: St. Louis, Mo USA
Posts: 3,707

Default 

February 21st, 2011, 17:44
I'm already at level 10 and haven't explored Lovis' Tower yet. Just the stuff around it for an hour.
Gorath is offline

Gorath

Gorath's Avatar
Prime Evil
RPGWatch Team

#13

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,834

Default 

February 23rd, 2011, 20:51
No challenge for you till Maxos Temple and that's if you head there now. You can find some level 11 creatures on the map, but you'll probably wipe them out. Viper might give you some grief, but that's about it. It's very easy to over-level and be too strong in this game. If you're a completist, you'll be stronger the rest of the game. Better kick it up to max difficulty.

'nut
crpgnut is offline

crpgnut

crpgnut's Avatar
Fantasy Novel Archmage
RPGWatch Donor

#14

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: St. Louis, Mo USA
Posts: 3,707

Default 

February 26th, 2011, 16:17
You probably did the skills "right" (i.e. concentrated on a few of them) this time, too. If you let your primary skills fall behind while you explore some other skills, the game can get harder pretty fast.
Zloth is offline

Zloth

Zloth's Avatar
I smell a… wumpus!?

#15

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 2,738

Default 

February 27th, 2011, 09:16
Just completed DKS last week and its one of the best RPGs I've played in the past decade. I listened to every spoken word, completed every quest but 3, and it only took me about 82 hours…lol {Now thats an RPG, worth every dime!}
Khalus is offline

Khalus

Khalus's Avatar
Whatever…

#16

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 158

Default 

March 8th, 2011, 09:27
Great game overall. My one big complaint was how Larian handled itemization. Solving an intricate puzzle or traversing a dungeon netted the same [randomized] rewards, for the most part, as anything else in the game. It was still enjoyable for its other features… and the dialogue was off-the-wall hilarious in certain spots
Drithius is offline

Drithius

Drithius's Avatar
Misbegotten Alien

#17

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2,447

Default 

April 25th, 2011, 06:45
Listening to this piece http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRzvLrriF1E while watching this

was the shit. One of my favourite gaming momentz .
Last edited by DeepO; April 25th, 2011 at 09:06.
DeepO is offline

DeepO

DeepO's Avatar
deep outside

#18

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Prague
Posts: 2,327

Default 

April 25th, 2011, 07:48
Fanboys…
JDR13 is online now

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch

#19

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 17,800

Default 

April 25th, 2011, 08:04
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Fanboys…
haha, indeed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDFHmZkXr64
memorable soundtrack also.

i´d recommend givin´ it a go, for Gothic aficiados DKS is almost guaranteed blast.
Last edited by DeepO; April 25th, 2011 at 09:18.
DeepO is offline

DeepO

DeepO's Avatar
deep outside

#20

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Prague
Posts: 2,327
RPGWatch Forums » Games » Divinity Games » Divinity 2 » Divinty 2: Dragon Knight Saga - One Awesome Game
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 08:06.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch