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Couchpotato August 8th, 2013 04:24

Dragon Commander - Review @ IGN
IGN has posted their review of Dragon Commander and gave it a score of 7.8/10.


As I floated high in the sky, surveying the land while my vast hordes of soldiers marched uncontested towards my foe's final citadel, the occasional control woes and frayed edges I encountered along the way didn't seem quite as glaring as they initially had. For whatever else Dragon Commander is, it's also a game that puts big issues on the main stage, then lets us reap the rewards and shoulder the consequences of their decisions without moral judgment. For that reason alone, it's worth a look.

More information.

rossrjensen August 8th, 2013 04:24

Between yesterday and today, I have played a few hours. So far my impressions are pretty positive. I really like the political aspect and the characters in the game. I haven't quite seen a lot of impact from my decisions yet, but it certainly feels like there will be a lot.

The RTS aspect is fun, though in my opinion is the weakest part of the game. I'm just not a big fan of capturing resource spots in order to build and expand. I prefer base-building. And since resource centers are so limited, certain maps can certain give foes rather sizable advantages. I was attacked on the same piece of territory twice, and although I had the advantage both times heading in to the battle, the map certainly gave the advantage to the computer by giving them an extra resource spot and two extra unit building spots.

Switching between your dragon and tactical control a lot is very necessary in order to win a lot of battles because of how much help your dragon really provides. Some of you will not like that because the action is very fast-paced and usually hectic, though I found myself getting used to it (I am a vet of some older RTS games). What I did not like, and has probably led me to the most frustration, is the unit limits the game places on you. It also lends to the fast-paced nature of the game (battles are usually resolved fairly quickly), but I haven't figured out what exactly this is based on. I also haven't seen the computer hit its maximum. I ended up losing my last battle because of the population limit, despite almost having conquered the enemy. This was because, as I mentioned early, my enemy had the advantage of more resources next to them, and I had to battle to overcome that disadvantage. When the tides had finally turned and I had nearly all their units wiped out (though not buildings), I reached my population limit and was left helpless while the computer continued churning out units to destroy the remnants of my battered army while they were trying to clean up. That was frustrating, and led me to take a break (which is why I am posting here).

Otherwise, the game plays pretty well, and I am really excited to see how the politics play out and how it all affects the game. Feels like a good one so far.

kalniel August 8th, 2013 10:35

Population limit depends on the country you're in - it's written on the country square itself, as well as on the info bar if you hover over the country. That limit is affected by various modifiers, like how recently the country has had a battle for eg. It's the same limit for both sides - you are both recruiting from the fixed population pool of a country. If you recruit faster then there's less population left over for your enemy to recruit from, which is why the battles are to a large extent determined by just how quickly you can get out and claim recruitment citadels.

The other limit is 'supply limit' - aka how big can your army get, which is determined by the number of recruit citadels you have.

GhanBuriGhan August 8th, 2013 11:20

I am nearing the end of the first "chapter" (apparently there are three, each with its own strategic campaign map). My impressions so far: I am having fun. I definitely has that "oh just one more round, just one more RTS battle, just one more conversation…" addictiveness that keeps me up way past bedtime. The different elements (political decision making, strategy map, RTS battles) play nicely into each other, and switching between them keeps the game varied and interesting. Production values are at least good throughout, excellent with regards to music and voice acting. Here are some thoughts on the three gamepaly elements:

RPG element: I am actually not sure it should be called that. It's only an RPG-like conversation system that is used to make political decisions, that yield consequences in gameplay terms (changes to your gold income, popularity (which affects recruit availability I think, luck (which affects outcome of outoresolve battles, I assume, or gives you cards). But it's not really a roleplaying element beyond that. I had hoped for something more like the Normandy in ME, where you could walk around, interact with various crew, run into ongoing conversations, etc. But it is more a beautifully dressed up conversation menu. I'll repeat what I said elsewhere, writing and voice acting are among the best I have seen, and some of the conversations with the ambassadors are great political comedy. The only other RPG element is that you can upgrade your dragon, but that is more like upgrading a unit, not like upgrading a RPG avatar. What I was dissapointed in is that your enemy remains faceless. I would have expected occasional reports about what the enemy is doing, maybe emissaries or threatening letters from them. But beyond the introductory background story, the enemy is just the differently colored countries on the strategic map. The game needs better villains. Maybe something will come up in the later chapters, we'll see.

The strategy layer: It's basically risk, and that is still fun. It's relatively simple, simpler than the strategic layer I remember from Medival Total War, e.g. but it's still fun. The strategic cards (intersting e.g. sabotage cards that stop enemy units from moving, etc.) add just enough "surprise" to keep things interesting. What I found a bit problematic is that I never had money to use my generals for auto resolving battles (spending it all on units or buildings), and they didn't seem to have that big an effect on the chances of success either. That created a feeling that the generals, that are so prominent as conversation partners on the Raven actually have no big role in the game itself.

The RTS battles / Dragon action. What I dislike here is that the units from the strategic map are relatively unimportant, and the logical gap that results from producing so many units on the RTS map, that will just be gone when you go back to the strategic layer (in fact you may even loose units). To me as a more simulation-oriented gamer this feels a bit too gamey. I would have preferred a Total War like approach where what you bring into the battle is what you have. Or a Homeworld appraoch, where your mothership the Raven acts as a factory with limited potetntial. The battles themselves are fun, after I found that you can slow the speed down considerably, I did quite well. some people complain that it feels too "blobby" meaning I guess that you tend to build large clumps of units and send them against the enemy. However, the composition of the army, the timing all matter, micromanaging e.g. unit special abilities, or selecting which enemy to target with which troop (there are some rock-paper -scissor mechanics at work there), and of course adding the right support units etc. all matter, so I find this fun enough. Blasting around with the dragon is pure fun (until the AA missiles hit you…), and can easily turn the tide. After a few battles I got the hang of it, switching between dragon form and RTS command works well. There are quite a few poorly documented hotkeys that allow you to do most stuff in dragon form, but I usually just switch back. My main complaint is actually that there seem to be too few maps, I have seen several multiple times already, and they are not different enough to really force different approaches. E.g. would be nice to have some where you have to use naval or aerial units more, or where you don't have additional resource spots, or, or, or….

So my conclusion so far: great fun game with some flaws. None of the parts by itself is particularly great, but the combination is just a ton of fun, and something you haven't seen before. There is hardly any RPG in it, but the decision making on the raven should be appealing to RPG players regardless.

wiretripped August 8th, 2013 12:42

I'm still waiting for my Imperial DLC upgrade codes on GOG. :(
There was a fluke in the system and KS backers only got the regular DC game, not the Imperial version.

Can't wait to play, though.

joxer August 8th, 2013 15:05

OMG wire does that mean I'll have to redownload all 10 gigs?! O_O

wiretripped August 8th, 2013 18:28

No, they're offering the DLC upgrade as a separate download.

If you chose GOG as your distribution platform in the Larian Vault and redeemed your code, it gave you the regular DC game. I think they fixed that by now though, it only affected the people that were quick to jump on the game.
However, if your GOG copy is not the Imperial edition one, you should mail their support and they'll send you a code for the DLC so you can upgrade.

Edit: Got my DLC code in the meanwhile, by the way, so itching to get started.

Cacheperl August 8th, 2013 19:06

The imperial edition is a nice bonus for people who preordered or backed the game, but it doesnt really add so much. If anyone else itches to play but waits for the additional content: Dont. Start right away.

joxer August 8th, 2013 19:21

It's not imperial edition on GOG but I've activated the code on larianvault and am downloading it from vault (a bit less than 400Mb).

Cache, I'm onto another game and I need to finish that one before playing Dragon Commander.
So… I'm not starting right away. ;)

JonNik August 8th, 2013 19:22

Really liking the game so far.

Very good writing, agree with GBG on the music and voice acting. Very fun game.

I can understand why RTS purists might not particularly love this but it really is a more than the sum of its parts kind of game as GBG pointed out. And this was the intriguing part from the start in my case: Would Larian manage to combine all these diverse elements in a cohesive or at least really entertaining whole?

I would say yes! (early days and whatnot) Good job Larian :)

Now get to work on my DOS ;)

P.S No chance I would win the first couple of battles on normal speed, maybe next
playthrough :) (slow is fine btw).

joxer August 8th, 2013 19:39

Hmmm, installed DLC it in my Dragon Commander folder, honestly I don't see anything has changed when starting the game. Am I blind?

Cacheperl August 8th, 2013 19:52

There are problems reported regarding the DLC content:

To summarize solutions:
- Install as administrator
-Copy installer "to a different folder" before installation

You wont see a big difference anyways. Your dragon gets a different colour, and there will be an earth-like campaign map added.

joxer August 8th, 2013 21:17

Just a different skin and a map? Meh…
I thought it's something huge.

But at least it's free. EA charges $20 for stuff like that.

GhanBuriGhan August 8th, 2013 23:14

Well there is some digital swag as well: soundtrack, a documentary movie, screens from development, concept art, design docs. Pretty cool actually if you like that kind of background stuff.

Cacheperl August 9th, 2013 21:00

Yup, but you cant see that in-game. ;)

Alrik Fassbauer August 10th, 2013 00:08

I saw the box on Wednesday in Berlin - price : 39,99 Euros.
Was very disappointed as I saw that it wants Steam.
But at least it contains a version for GOG, too.

But anyway - should both of these 2 "services" die one day (people believed that TDK would lasst forever, too), then I won't be able to play this game. Which kind of disturbs me.

HiddenX August 10th, 2013 00:13

Alrik, GOG is no service.

You can download installation files from GOG. If you keep these files you can install the games forever as often as you want without DRM.

Cacheperl August 10th, 2013 17:25

Yup, you do not even need to install the GOG downloader, you can download everything with your browser.

Alrik Fassbauer August 10th, 2013 21:41

Ah, okay, thanks for that.

xSamhainx August 10th, 2013 23:12

the GOG downloader is cool too, btw.

It doesnt try and run on startup, doesnt install anything ancillary. It's just something you can fire up if you want to dl 10 files from them at once (like I had to w/ Dragon Comm)

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