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Divinity 2 Review

by Corwin, 2010-02-23

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Main Review - Corwin

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis is the long awaited sequel to surprise 2002 RPG hit Divine Divinity, which was later followed by the less well received Beyond Divinity. Developed by Belgium’s Larian Studios, this game has long been anticipated on both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific, but was it worth the wait?

Frustration can be a powerful emotion. Unfortunately, as I consider Larian Studios most recent offering, this is the emotion I most feel - which is unfortunate since there’s a superb and fun game to be found amidst all the angst.

I’ve read in various forums that many people have been experiencing problems, which hopefully will soon be fixed. I have to report that I had none. In fact, except for one instance of a cut scene not firing correctly (which a simple reload fixed), I did not experience any major bugs at all. I found the game stable and quite bug free. Why then the frustration?

The most recent frustration came when I upgraded my OS to Windows 7. I backed up everything I could think of, including my massive My Documents folder. I actually had the game itself installed on a different physical HD from the one my OS works from. Imagine my later horror when I discovered all my save games were gone. Seems they were kept in a hidden folder? Why put saves in a hidden folder?

Now, except for the occasional Adventure game, I only play RPGs. I have nothing against shooters, platformers, aerial combat sims and so on, but I don’t play them for the simple reason that I do not have fast reaction times for twitch gameplay. I’m simply hopeless at them due to my slow reactions. RPGs, however, normally give me no problems. I don’t mind when game developers incorporate some elements from other gaming genres in optional side quests; I just ignore those side quests. However, I find it extremely frustrating (there’s that word again) when they become a necessary part of the main quest. I don’t expect to have to complete platform jumping puzzles as part of my main quest, or have to complete fast-paced aerial combat before I can progress in a game when I’m playing an RPG.

Having detailed my frustrations, let me outline why I think this should be considered as one of the most enjoyable games released in 2009. For my first 20-30 hours or so, I found this game to be an absolute blast. It drew me away from Dragon Age: Origins and kept me playing. The game makes much of your eventually getting a Dragon Tower, but don’t rush it - the first half of the game is easily the best. Once I got my tower, all the things I really love about RPGs virtually disappeared and I was left with an action/aerial combat game.

You begin the game outside a small village where you will eventually select your starting character type: melee fighter, ranged fighter, or mage - but there are no genuine class distinctions; it only affects a couple of starting stats. You can develop your character as you wish choosing skills from each skill tree and adjusting attributes each time you gain skill and attribute points. You can not only gain these points at level up, but from completing quests or other activities.

One of the most interesting and useful skills you learn is Mindreading. While using this skill will cost you experience points, it is frequently worth the cost. Often it will open up new quests or areas, it might get you better prices from merchants and it will sometimes give you extra skill points. The more experience it costs to use, the greater the eventual reward.

Once finished in the village, after a short cut scene, you will be taken to Broken Valley, the first major area of the game where you will build and develop your character, meet plenty of interesting NPCs and complete a ton of varied and often fun quests. While you can travel everywhere in Broken Valley, it is not advisable early on as you will soon meet up with critters who are much more powerful than you are. Along the way you will find teleportation shrines which allow you to teleport to any other shrine you have found thus cutting down on tedious travel times.

Exploration is encouraged and quite beneficial. Collect everything you find, even body parts. You never know when something might prove extremely useful. For example, you will eventually have the opportunity to create a ‘companion’ which will not only fight at your side, but which is capable of being continually improved as you find more powerful ‘body’ parts.

There is a wide selection of armor, weapons (both melee and ranged) available and plenty of skill options to augment them. Most weapons and armor, including shields, have slots where you can add powerful charms and enhancements. You can create weapon sets as well for easy switching during combat which is real time with pause. A quick slot bar also allows you to have easy access to potions, spells and skills. I found the interface quite easy to use and very player friendly. Nearly all keys were re-mappable to suit individual player preferences. Executing jumps and rolls during combat was simple and intuitive and shields actually worked.

While there aren’t hundreds of spells, I found most of them quite useful and some very powerful. Each spell/skill has 5 levels, but each of these levels only becomes available to select when your character reaches a certain level, or meets certain other criteria. The most powerful spells are not available early on which means the game is reasonably balanced for the most part. Are there exploits? Yes, but I’ll leave you to find them.
For most of the game, I would have used a different ‘F’ word, FUN. I really, really enjoyed the first half of the game. The dialogue was frequently witty and clever. The voice acting was entertaining with all the various UK accents (I’m not sure if the US version is using different voices). And it was a delight to meet NPC’s with ‘familiar’ names. Two bandits were called Thelma and Louise; early on you encounter Stan and Ollie. There are heaps of similar references scattered throughout the game and for those who remember the philosophical skeletons from Divine Divinity, you’ll enjoy the possible dialogue options with a skeleton shopkeeper (just make sure you buy what you want first).

While some quests had a few alternative options; using mindreading to discover a more diplomatic route as opposed to straight combat for example, the depth of choice comes nowhere near to that offered by Dragon Age, for example. As the final solutions tend to be roughly the same, other than trying different character builds there was little incentive to replay the game.

The bottom line: I didn’t like some of the design decisions - the second half of the game is not my idea of an RPG. Others will love it. Flying as a Dragon can be fun, but while in Dragon form you can’t attack anyone on the ground; they simply aren’t there. You battle ballistas, nests and other flying monsters. The fun factor disappeared and was replaced by more of a grind factor in my opinion. Large and numerous Anti-Dragon zones also restricted where you could fly and much of the first half of the game’s area was closed off to easy access.

The game doesn’t offer great replayability; I completed all the quests available, but I enjoyed the first part so much that I would have to recommend the game to anyone who enjoys a good rpg for that part alone. Assuming the issues have been fixed get this, if not immediately, and enjoy it for what it is.

Continue to the next page for a second opinion and the summary...

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Box Art

Information about

Divinity II: Ego Draconis

Developer: Larian Studios

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: Unknown
Voice-acting: Unknown

Regions & platforms
Germany, Austria & Switzerland
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2009-07-24
· Publisher: dtp

Germany, Austria & Switzerland
· Divinity 2 - Ego Draconis
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2009-10-02
· Publisher: dtp

Western Europe
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2009-11-06
· Publisher: dtp

UK
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2009-11-20
· Publisher: dtp

North America
· Divinity 2 - Ego Draconis
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2010-01-05
· Publisher: CDV

UK
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2009-11-20
· Publisher: dtp

Western Europe
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2009-11-06
· Publisher: dtp

North America
· Divinity 2 - Ego Draconis
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2010-01-05
· Publisher: dtp

More information


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