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Default Divinity 2 - Review @ G4

January 14th, 2010, 02:18
I have to pee and I can't find my compass or quest marker. Where's the toilet!!!!!!!

"For Innos!"
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January 14th, 2010, 03:28
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Very, very true - they are playing in a game with clear enough rules, and either ignoring the rules or something else … but either way it is hurting them and the cause of deep RPG's in a large way.
I agree, and I've been frustrated by it. I would really like to see these games succeed. Yet, the developers treat the console space like a retarded stepchild and deliver only half-assed ports that soil everyone's opinion of what a "European RPG" is.

I'm not sure what the problem is. Are they just trying to make a quick buck, so they don't really care? Do they not understand how to work with the hardware? Do they assume console players will buy anything, even a bug-riddled mess?

If it's the last one, I can't blame them, since Two Worlds did surprisingly well on the 360, even though it was a terrible port. Of course, after Two Worlds, everyone wonders, "Is this another Two Worlds (i.e., another crappy port)?" Unfortunately, with Risen and now Divinity 2, the answer is pretty much "Yes."

If sales are poor on the 360, Euro RPG developers may conclude that console owners don't like Euro RPGs (whereas the truth is, console owners don't like crappy ports). I suppose sales might actually be decent, though. I hope they are.
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January 14th, 2010, 03:48
Can anyone answer if EU console gamers are any more forgiving than in the rest of the world? I think not, but all of this makes me wonder.

— Mike
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January 14th, 2010, 06:16
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
It was fun for about an hour. Then it was just tedious.
Well it is subjective, but I liked it. In those days I was a kid, had lots of time on my hands and whatnot. But for the record, I did say in my post that I was NOT calling for this type of thing in modern games.

Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Why is having a marker on a map for someplace you've already been "hand holding"?
It's hand holding to some, not to others. These days as a husband and father of two boys (and oh yea, I have a full time job), I like some of today's hand-holding. It means I can stop playing a game, sometimes for months, and easily get back on track where I left off. I tried this with Gothic 3 and could not do it, I had to start all over again.

But again, that isn't really what I'm arguing here. What I'm arguing is the idea that WHEN developers omit hand-holding type features from a game, why is this met with such harshness? There's plenty of games out there that provide the kind of hand-holding that Oblivion does. Variety is the spice of life as they say, that there are some games that provide less hand holding should be a good thing.

I'm still not done with Oblivion. I'm somewhere in the early part of Shivering Isles. I've completed the main game and all of the other DLC content, all that's left for me is to complete Shivering Isles. I stopped playing nearly a year ago. But I know when I pick it up again, all the hand-holding stuff will make it possible for me to re-engage that game quickly where I left off. It's a good thing. And so are the games like Gothic 3 where you either take really good notes of your own, or risk starting over again if you take a long breather.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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January 14th, 2010, 13:57
There's a very easy solution to this debate. Why don't devs just allow such "hand-holding" options to be toggled off-on in the options menu? Then everyone would be happy…
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January 14th, 2010, 14:02
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Can anyone answer if EU console gamers are any more forgiving than in the rest of the world? I think not, but all of this makes me wonder.
I don't think there's a way to know for sure, and I doubt we're more forgiving as such.

I could be conceited and claim we're more into depth/complexity than pure production values - but really, I think that's a bit unfair to claim.

But I think the level of polish we're used to from AAA production value US titles, makes it a very difficult platform for small companies. Because it takes a lot of experience to make a huge game work well on limited hardware - especially if you don't have a dedicated conversion team. It's not a cheap thing - and I think they're making the Xbox version simply to hit that huge market and "hope for the best".

I suspect they don't actually hurt sales in a total sense - but they're most likely not helping themselves in a big way, long-term.
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January 14th, 2010, 15:46
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
There's a very easy solution to this debate. Why don't devs just allow such "hand-holding" options to be toggled off-on in the options menu? Then everyone would be happy…
Exactly - user choice is always a good thing! Personally I was fine with d2's options.

— Mike
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January 14th, 2010, 17:14
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Exactly - user choice is always a good thing! Personally I was fine with d2's options.
Even in the ones that everyone loves to hate (e.g. Oblivion) you could choose not to use the map markers. But people still complained about it.

Given the complaints about D2 it is obvious the devs simply can't win no matter what they do.
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January 14th, 2010, 17:24
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Even in the ones that everyone loves to hate (e.g. Oblivion) you could choose not to use the map markers. But people still complained about it.

Given the complaints about D2 it is obvious the devs simply can't win no matter what they do.

They could always try doing what I suggested.
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January 14th, 2010, 17:36
The thing about giving players options is that the game is harder to design for both quest marker and no quest marker settings. It makes the designer second-guess whether something is too hard or too easy, because they can't know what setting people will use.

It also introduces the meta-gaming aspect for the player, because the player will need to make a decision based on no knowledge of the overall quest structure. Basically, a player has no way of knowing what the game will be like with or without markers, so he's forced into making a decision that really should lie with the developers.

I think the best thing is to know your market and develop for it. Divinity 2 seems to be skewed towards the middle and that's likely why they're seeing these complaints, but I don't think such things are the key issues with the game.

The game isn't entirely polished and it's not performing as smoothly on the Xbox as the audience is used to. It also suffers from "middle-market" production values and that's another thing the market isn't used to on the current generation of consoles.

The fact that it's not hand-holding to the same extent as other games is likely relatively far down on the list of genuine complaints.

That's how I see it, anyway.
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January 14th, 2010, 17:44
I like the way Deck 13 implemented the quest markers in Venetica. They are disabled by default, but you can go into the journal and select one quest for which a marker is shown on the map.
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January 14th, 2010, 19:12
Honestly, when you really get down to it, I think Divinity looks and feels pretty great. Menus are pretty, performance is really not bad, graphics are nothing to be ashamed of, voice acting is superb, etc. There are just a few tiny bugs and issues, but what games do not have those? What exactly makes this game a B-production, a middle-market, unpolished Euro-RPG?? I was wondering why reviewers, when comparing Divinity 2 to Dragon Age, always say that the latter has had such a bigger budget and has bigger production values. It's obviously true, but what makes it so apparent??
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January 14th, 2010, 19:22
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Honestly, when you really get down to it, I think Divinity looks and feels pretty great. Menus are pretty, performance is really not bad, graphics are nothing to be ashamed of, voice acting is superb, etc. There are just a few tiny bugs and issues, but what games do not have those? What exactly makes this game a B-production, a middle-market, unpolished Euro-RPG?? I was wondering why reviewers, when comparing Divinity 2 to Dragon Age, always say that the latter has had such a bigger budget and has bigger production values. It's obviously true, but what makes it so apparent??
Obviousy, if you can't see it - it's not apparent

I wouldn't say it's bad, just "meh" in terms of production values. Rather, I'd say it's just fine.

But it's everything from the little things like UI responsiveness and sensation of fluid movement, to voice acting and combat feel. The game just isn't as smooth or polished as a typical AAA game, and I think it's supremely apparent, but I can only speak for myself.

I still think it's a rather great game until you reach a certain point, and then it devolves into a mediocre to good game.
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January 14th, 2010, 19:23
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Exactly - user choice is always a good thing! Personally I was fine with d2's options.
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Even in the ones that everyone loves to hate (e.g. Oblivion) you could choose not to use the map markers. But people still complained about it.
The option of enabling or disabling convenience features nearly always represents a non-choice. The problem is that, when such features exist, games are usually designed around the fact that these features exist. They have to be. Consequently, these features become an integral part of the gameplay. In the process, however, they are making the gaming experience unnecessarily and unproportionally harder for those people who don't want these "options", were they to disable them.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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January 14th, 2010, 21:31
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
There are just a few tiny bugs and issues, but what games do not have those? What exactly makes this game a B-production, a middle-market, unpolished Euro-RPG??
I'm a huge fan of these so-called "Euro-RPGs" but a "few tiny bugs" is trivialising the issues. Save game corruption, infinite loading loops and hard locks on the console version are more than just "tiny". That aside, from animation quality to maps that show a clear path but are blocked, there are a myriad of small (and often insignificant to someone enjoying the game) issues that separate this from AAA productions. These usually aren't an issue for me (well, if the game actually worked) but I can understand someone used to high-end mainstream product (particularly on consoles) being put off.

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January 15th, 2010, 00:42
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
The option of enabling or disabling convenience features nearly always represents a non-choice. The problem is that, when such features exist, games are usually designed around the fact that these features exist. They have to be. Consequently, these features become an integral part of the gameplay. In the process, however, they are making the gaming experience unnecessarily and unproportionally harder for those people who don't want these "options", were they to disable them.
That's why I like what Gorath was talking about with Venetica, where they did it the other way around. By default the game runs without the assists, but players can toggle them on if they prefer, or if they find the game too difficult without them.
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January 15th, 2010, 01:00
That's a good point Arhu, but couldn't those people just enable said "options" temporarily if needed?
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January 15th, 2010, 02:25
Originally Posted by Anderson View Post
That's why I like what Gorath was talking about with Venetica, where they did it the other way around. By default the game runs without the assists, but players can toggle them on if they prefer, or if they find the game too difficult without them.
Yeah, other way around sounds pretty good to me, actually. It means the game will get easier with "cheats" for those who prefer a more easygoing experience, similar to how difficulty settings are usually implemented, and it means that the game was probably designed around the assumption that the assists were, in fact, disabled.

Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
That's a good point Arhu, but couldn't those people just enable said "options" temporarily if needed?
I guess it's also a lot about ease of access. If I can toggle between hand-holding by the press of a button whenever I wish, wherever I wish, it's hardly an option — it's part of the gameplay. If, on the other hand, I had to decide explicitly (at the start of a game or via an options screen) whether I want to play the game normally or with some help (cf. difficulty setting), I can really choose.


This may not be the best analogy, but in some ways this issue can be compared to social conventions between smokers and non-smokers when both are confined in the same room. It is common practice for smokers to respect the wishes of non-smokers and ask first or maybe even go outside when they want to take a smoke. The keyword is etiquette.

However, if a smoker were to say to a non-smoker, "well, if you don't like it, you can turn it off" (by wearing a mask or going outside), it would simply be rude and absurd, because the non-smoker would be inconvenienced quite strongly by having forced something on them. But that's exactly what hand-holding games are doing with these assists from the point of view of those who don't like hand-holding. These games have it backwards.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Last edited by Arhu; January 15th, 2010 at 02:39.
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January 15th, 2010, 03:11
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Yeah, other way around sounds pretty good to me, actually. It means the game will get easier with "cheats" for those who prefer a more easygoing experience, similar to how difficulty settings are usually implemented, and it means that the game was probably designed around the assumption that the assists were, in fact, disabled.
Yup. The only problem I see is that it is sort of humbling to have to go to a menu and toggle on a help/assist that is off by default. You are sort of admitting to yourself, "This is too difficult, I need help." As you know, gamers like to feel like badasses, and if you have to manually toggle on a help aid, it's hard to feel like a badass. Developers are reluctant to make gamers feel that way, and so they're likely to keep the assists on by default.
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January 15th, 2010, 09:51
Originally Posted by Anderson View Post
Yup. The only problem I see is that it is sort of humbling to have to go to a menu and toggle on a help/assist that is off by default. You are sort of admitting to yourself, "This is too difficult, I need help." As you know, gamers like to feel like badasses, and if you have to manually toggle on a help aid, it's hard to feel like a badass. Developers are reluctant to make gamers feel that way, and so they're likely to keep the assists on by default.
That was my point about meta-gaming. You don't want the player to make such a choice, because a player can never really know if he's just being lazy or not giving the game what it deserves. I'm sure most casual gamers won't ever question themselves in that way, but to an enthusiast like myself - I don't want to second-guess if my gaming experience is optimal. To me, it's the job of the developer to make the gaming experience they think is right and if it's hard, it's hard.

That's why I'm against any kind of difficulty setting, really - especially banal ones that simply scale damage/hit points. The only good way of doing it that I can think of, would be like the way Thief did it. Where it didn't make the game scale, but required you to be more careful and explore more carefully, which is sort of what the game was supposed to be about anyway. That made sense to me, because it was obvious what would result and I knew I couldn't play it on anything but the highest setting because I loved being careful and exploring.

For every "difficulty option" you take away from the purity of the experience, because the designers have to think of those things for balance purposes. They can't make anything that's actually really hard in "normal" without seriously considering what it would be like on "hard". You know? It's a way of adding extra work to the design process that can only result in a less pure experience.

That's why you tend to see the very best balanced games be the ones without such settings, like Demon's Souls - for instance. That game is hailed as having a fantastic balance, quite hard but really fair.

The same goes for quest markers and such, because any enthusiast would be aware that the option to have them existed, and at that point he'd have to second-guess himself the moment he got stuck looking for something. He'd have to go outside the game, effectively meta-gaming, and that's an immersion breaker you don't want to have.

But that's just me, and I know most people wouldn't analyse these things to such an extent. But it's valid anyway, I think.
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