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Default Drakensang - first impressions

August 11th, 2008, 21:49
CRPG-Meter:

Lets measure the crpg-ingredients for "Drakensang":

To determine if a game should apply to a certain level, all the mentioned demands must be fulfilled in that level and the levels below.

CRPG Categories:
Story, Characters, NPC-Iteraction, Gameworld, Manipulation, Combat

Other interesting categories:
Graphics, Sound, Game length, Difficulty, Perspective and Play-style.

Each category is divided into 6 frames from "none" to "Heavy" CRGP-elements giving a score from 0 to 5 points.

A games points from each category will be added together and then divided with 6 and will classify it's CRPG-score to the following list:
  • RPG-Elements Score 0 - < 1 point => "No CRPG"
  • RPG-Elements Score 1 - < 2 points => "CRPG ultra light"
  • RPG-Elements Score 2- < 3 points => "CRPG light"
  • RPG-Elements Score 3 - < 4 points => "CRPG"
  • RPG-Elements Score 4 - 5 Points => "CRPG Heavy"

The RPG-element categories and their 6 scores/frames
(STORY, CHARACTER, NPC-INTERACTION, GAMEWORLD, MANIPULATION, COMBAT)

STORY:
questions:
- How many quests, side quests, puzzles, riddles are in the game ?
Lots of side-quests, one big main quest with chapters - you can play the the good side, only. Some puzzles need to be solved in the bigger dungeons. One big riddle is there, too.

- How great is the non-linearity of the game - can the quests be solved in more than one way ?
You can solve quests in a non-linear order in the current map only, only the main map (the city Ferok) can be visited again. You CANNOT return back to solved maps! Some quests can be solved in more than one way, depending on the stats of your entire party and your choices.

- How many side-stories, legends in books or from NPC's are told ?
Many side stories are told, some legends and secrets are told in books, letters or are engraved in stone.

- Are there different game-endings ?
no - only one ending.

- Is it a game with many choices and consequences ?
yes, and sometimes you get more dialog options depending on the party's talents haggle, etiquette, persuasion, insight into human nature and gossip.

rating:
No: 0 Points:
- The story is told in the beginning, and finished in the end, AND is not changeable during the game.

Ultra light: 1 point:
- A Few ”events” (NPC’s, happenings (Disasters, divine influences etc), Full movies interludes etc.) evolves the story, but still in a given path.

Light: 2 points:
- The story is developing through chapters or milestones, which still have an almost fixed path.
- A very few side stories/quests, OR noticeably different paths you can take to advance the same story, are available.

Medium:
3 points:
- The story develops as the game proceeds, meaning new information’s/events contribute for developing of the story on a frequent basis.
- Events (See above) impact on the story are considerable,
- The gamers actions have considerable impact on the development of the story.
- More than one path is possible in the ”main” story. Not necessarily more endings, just the possibility to choose between different “story” path’s of the “main story”. (Side quests not directly related to main story don’t count).
- A few side stories/quests besides the “main story” must be available.

More: 4 points:
- A few different endings are possible
- More than 2 ways to go through the story
- Lots of side stories/quests are required.
- Quests or tasks got often more than one solution!

Heavy: 5 points:
- Very open ended, with very high replay value regarding the story alone.
- Many events will contribute to many side / main story topics and respond to many different approaches from the player.
- Lots of books or other materials can give additional information’s about world for the interested player.

Drakensang (STORY): 3 points


CHARACTER:
questions:
- How many different characters can you play ? (race, gender, profession, …)
Your main character can choose from 20 different characters - in expert mode the skills can be modified. Up to 10 different characters can be found on your travels and you can use 3 of them as party members. (Not used party members are gaining adventure points, too - so you can exchange party members, later)

- How many different skills can be choosen for your character(s) ?
8 standard attributes:
  • Courage (Mut)
  • Cleverness (Klugheit)
  • Intuition (Intuition)
  • Charisma (Charisma)
  • Dexterity (Fingerfertigkeit)
  • Agility (Gewandheit)
  • Constitution (Konstitution)
  • Strength (Körperkraft)
Basic attributes (Basiswerte):
  • Vitality (Lebensenergie) - Hit Points
  • Astral Energy (Astralenergie) - Mana
  • Endurance (Ausdauer)
  • Resistance to Magic (Magieresistenz)
and many more secondary skills (some weapon skills, speech skills, magic, alchemy… )

- How many different traits can be choosen for your character(s) ?
No traits

- How many levels can be reached ?
Level 17/18 is a common end level.

- How much can the character(s) be changed at each level ?
All skills can be changed by investing adventure points (=experience points), some skills must be learnt from a master first, this costs adventure points, too. Changing basic attributes cost much more than changing secondary attributes/skills.

- How many guilds, groups can be joined ?
The thieves guild, a local merchant group, bandits, witches…

- How many different ranks in these guilds can be achieved ?
No ranking - you can solve quests for these groups.

- Can you get a reputation ?
No

rating:
No: 0 Points:
- No development other than a better weapon, armour and a few pre-distributed skill points after each chapter / milestone.

Ultra light: 1 point:
- Max 2 points to distribute on the character(s) abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and a maximum of 10 upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.

Light:
2 points:
- Max 5 points to distribute on the character(s) at least 5+ different abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and at least 10+ upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.
- A minimum of social development / regards in the game-world societies is necessary) (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

Medium: 3 points:
- More than 5+ points to distribute on the character(s) at least 10+ different abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and at least 15+ upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.
- The characters can have considerable social impact on more than one society / guild. (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

More: 4 points:
- Now a party of at least 3 fully controlled characters should be possible,
- The choice from different professions / races should give a combination of at least 10 possible different characters (Note: Different mug-shots don’t count).
- Considerable social impact on more than 2 societies / guilds is possible. (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

Heavy: 5 points:
- More than 10+ points to distribute on the character(s) at least 15+abilities (Attributes /spells / treats / skills) each time they develop levels and at least 20+ upgrades(Levels) of the character(s). Learning by doing covering the same amount of development is acceptable too.
- 15+ different races/ professions to choose from.
- Plenty of societies/guilds which the characters have a social impact on. (Wiping out a society/guild is not counting)

Drakensang (CHARACTER): 5 points


NPC-INTERACTION:

questions:
- How many dialogues are in the game ?
Many

- How many dialogue options do you have ?
Only some options are available.

- Are these options depending on your skills, alignment or deeds ?
There are depending on finished quests and sometimes on party skills.

- Have your answers an influence on the game ?
Yes

- Have the NPC's a life of their own ?
Yes

- Is trading available / is it balanced ?
Yes and yes.

rating:
No: 0 points:
- Few NPC's most only merchants.
- Pre-determined dialogues.

Ultra light: 1 point:
- The dialogues now have a few options, but it still contribute to the same story, AND each choice is reversible in consequence.

Light: 2 points:
- NPC's are presented in small societies, AND some of them can make a difference in further development of the game.

Medium:
3 points:
- NPC's acts truly as a part of a bigger community.
- NPC's in each society are much aware about social status also toward your characters.
- More than one society with NPC's are present in the world.

More: 4 points:
- There are fleshed out dialogue trees,
- Choices is most final and irreversible.
- NPC’s have considerable impact on the amount of Main / side- stories.

Heavy: 5 points:
- NPC's are aware of the continuously developing situation in the game-world, AND react clearly to the gamers actions and deeds.
- More than 2 bigger societies of NPC's must be available.
- Reputation, skills, alignment, attitude etc. have considerable impact on the NPC reaction.

Drakensang (NPC-INTERACTION): 4 points

(continued with post #62)
Last edited by HiddenX; August 13th, 2008 at 17:55.
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August 11th, 2008, 21:51
GAMEWORLD:
questions:
- Is it rewarding to explore the last inch of the gameworld ?
Yes - you can find more quests and rare items.

- Are unique items in the game ?
Yes

rating:
No: 0 points:
-The task to get from A to B has no or few options to go away from a fixed physical path.
-The game-world only inhabits monsters and a few merchants.
-The world is without (none monster) societies.

Ultra light:
1 point:
-Still a strict physical path, but with a few small societies on your way.

Light: 2 points:
-A few areas are optional on your path each chapter / milestone.
-Societies will give some quest / story material.

Medium:
3 points:
-There are at least several physical path's to choose between, AND more will open up as the game proceeds.
-Societies must give the feeling of a live community, with their own daily business, AND not just a few NPC's waiting for the hero's to come along and pass on a few quests.
-The size of the game-world must be considerable.

More: 4 points:
-Societies must be very different and have strong relation to the game-world and each other.
-We are no longer talking about a few path's when exploring the world.
-The appearance of monsters and societies must make common sense.

Heavy: 5 points:
-The world is totally open for extreme freedom to explore, AND it's your own task to decide if your character(s) are good enough
to take on the different part of the world.
-The diversity of the game-world environment must be significant.
-Day & night cycles, and different weather conditions and /or different seasons.

Drakensang (GAMEWORLD): 3.5 points (you cannot go back to solved maps, but each map is big area for itself)

MANIPULTION:
questions:
- Can you manipulate the gameworld ? (levers, buttons, secret doors,…)
Yes

- Can the gameworld manipulate your character(s) ? (traps, teleports, …)
There are traps and teleporters.

- Can you pick up items, herbs, raw materials and then mix new potions, make new weapons,… ?
A lot - you can make lots of things, weapons, potions … you have to find or buy recipes first.

rating:
No: 0 points:
- Almost no action possible besides walk/run and combat, except maybe a very few items.
- Game-world itself is very static.

Ultra light: 1 points:
- Very few limited interactions besides walking and combat.
- A few chest barrels is scattered through the game.

Light: 2 points:
- There are a few weapons, armours, items in the game.
- Traps, levers, keys and alike is available in it's simple presence.

Medium: 3 points:
- The game-world have a considerable amount of weapons, armours, items, skills, spells in significant variations.
- The things to do will quickly fill up more than one page in your journal, AND keep it that way for most of the game.
- Custom items must be available. (Custom items are items that can’t directly be found in the game-world, the player needs to either combine more items or process an item with (Fire, acid, poison, magic, tool-masters etc (repairing items don’t count)). It’s not limited to weapons and armour only)

More:
4 points:
- You can see /influence changes in the environment, OR use it either to create/ manipulate things or get strategic possibilities in combat. (Summarised: Game-world environment itself offers several interactivity possibilities: (Chopping trees, make fire, diving in water, hide behind objects, move/destroy/manipulate objects, etc.)
– A few different ways of making custom items must be available. (See above).

Heavy: 5 points:
- Many different ways of making custom items must be available. (See above).
- Alchemist, spell-casters, smiths, herbalist and other item collectors are in heaven due to the tons of items for manipulation.
- Gameworld environment itself offers many interactivity possibilities: (Chopping trees, make fire, diving in water, hide behind objects, move/destroy/manipulate objects, etc.)

Drakensang (MANIPULTION): 4.5 points (no swimming, diving, climbing)


COMBAT:
questions:
- how many tactics, strategies, spells/counterspells you have to use to survive in combat ? (remark: this has nothing to do with real time vs. turn based combat. example: Rage of Mages: Real time and very tactical)
For surviving combat in Drakensang you need:
  1. a good party mix
  2. good tactics -> attack style, special moves, healing …
  3. good weapons
It's reload time, when the last party member dies.

- Are there many different monsters, enemies …
Yes

- how good/complex is the enemy AI ?
Good

- Is it critical for combat to have a good equipment management ?
yes

- Do you need resistances against poison, fire, … to survive ?
Yes - this is important

- Is the combat balanced ?
Always balanced - some very challenging and interesting boss fights.
Try to change your tactic, weapons, combat style, if you die often.

rating:
No: 0 points:
- You put your character(s) into position and they solve combat on their own, or the combat result is only affected by your skills on the keyboard.

Ultra light: 1 point:
- Real-time combat only without any pause options.
- Options are limited to the choice of the opponent to attack.

Light: 2 points:
- Character skills and/or players strategic abilities have a noticeable more impact on the outcome of the battles too.

Medium: 3 points:
- Players can more decide the pace of the battle,
- Strategic positions of the party is more vital, and the options for each character is more plentiful.
- At this point it's also important that monsters offers some diversity not only in numbers, but also in strategies necessary to win.
- Monsters AI are more than attacking the closest enemy!
- There must be more issues for your characters during combat, than loosing or giving hit-points. Ex. Poisoning, paralyse, curse etc.

More:
4 points:
- Their must be alternatives to swing your sword and cast a spell during combat Ex. Skills, traps, spells, treats, or items to use in battles.
- Different strategies are necessary for survival.

Heavy:
5 points:
- Each characters can be controlled individual down to the smallest detail and in any pace wanted.
- The monsters must offer a lot of difference both in numbers, abilities, battle environment, which must offer quite a diversity in battle approaches.
- Monsters AI are considerable.

Drakensang (COMBAT): 5 points


OTHER NON-RPG RELATED INTERESTING CATEGORIES:


GRAPHICS:
An “Year” of evaluation should follow the graphics score!
We try not to express how beautiful the graphics is (It's difficult to separate entirely), just how many specific graphic technology elements it contains (Like shadows, lightning etc), and it's standard compared to others at the time of the review!
  • 0 points: Text only.
  • 1 point: Static pictures, and/ or low 2D resolution in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.1 point: Static pictures, and/ or low 2D resolution in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
  • 2 points: Higher 2D resolution in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
  • 3 points: Mediocre 3D or 2D with up to date standard compared to others in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
  • 4 points: Fully 3D with up to date standard compared to others in relation to other games in the year of evaluation.
  • 5 points: Fully 3D. Absolute among the best in it's category, with a few ground breaking content compared to others at the time it is reviewed.
Drakensang (GRAPHICS): 4.5 points (year 2008)

SOUND:
This determines the amount and the degree of acoustic technologies in the sound, not directly the quality or realism of the sound, and not how many different sound boards it covers.
  • 0 Points: No sound.
  • 1 point: Mono sound.
  • 2 points: Very sparse and basic Stereo sound
  • 3 points: Plentiful Stereo sound
  • 4 points: Support of more than 2 speakers, and considerable environmental sounds.
  • 5 points: Fully real surround sound support (At least 5.1), with ultra real 3D feeling
Drakensang (SOUND): 4 points

LENGTH:
An average length is used for calculation, a second score in “( )” for maximum hours searching under every stone and solving every quest could be mentioned if it brings the game into another score-area.
  • 0 points: Under 8 hours.
  • 1 point: 8 - 20 hours.
  • 2 points: 20- 50 hours.
  • 3 points: 50- 80 hours.
  • 4 points: 80 - 150 hours.
  • 5 points: over 150 hours.
Drakensang (LENGTH): 3 points

DIFFICULTY:
  • 0 points: No brain teasers at all, only walk /run and hack 'n slash
  • 1 point: Easy brain teasers that don't slow the game pace down considerable.
  • 2 points: Some problems (Riddles, events, combat, NPC's etc) can make you stop for a short while until you find the relative easy solution!
  • 3 points: Not all problems are obvious in solution, but there are more possibilities to get help. The amount of problems must also be considerable.
  • 4 points: Some problems can't be solved without help/things from other places or without some in vain tries first!
  • 5 points: The game is loaded with more or less hard problems, and many problems can only be solved by extensive brain use!
Drakensang (DIFFICULTY): 4 points

(continued with post #63)
Last edited by HiddenX; August 13th, 2008 at 17:55.
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August 11th, 2008, 21:51
PERSPECTIVE:
  • TXT: No perspective (e.g. no graphics), text games.
  • FIX: Fixed viewpoint (Not changeable).
  • FLEX: Flexible distance/orientation. The viewpoint distance can be changed and/or the screen can be rotated.
  • ISO: Isometric view (Any angle between vertical top-down and 1.st person view, but still seen from above the party/ characters.
  • SHOULDER: The close overhead / shoulder view, where the gamers viewpoint follow the character(s) heading, with a look just above the head/shoulders of your character(s), and the character(s) can be seen in the button of the picture.
  • FP: The 1.st person view where gamers viewpoint is the same as looking out of the eyes of the character(s)
  • BIRD: From the sky the players has a vertical down view point on the game-world.
  • SIDE: View points like Platform games or the elder Kings/Space quest games
Drakensang: FLEX


PLAYSTYLE:
  • SP: Single player
  • MP: Multiplayer
  • OP: Online play possible
  • MMO: Massive multiplayer online
  • Co: Co-operative multiplayer possibility
  • PvP: Player versus player mode in multiplayer mode.
  • P: Parties possible.
  • S: Single character game
Drakensang: SP/P

TECHNICAL STATE
Drakensang: is extrem stable on XP/Vista Systems with a newer gfx-card and cpu.

Conclusion Drakensang
RPG Factors:
  • Story: 3
  • Character: 5
  • NPC-Interaction: 4
  • Gameworld: 3.5
  • Manipulation: 4.5
  • Combat: 5
RPG Score:= 4.17 => CRPG heavy

Other Factors:
  • Graphics: 4.5 (2008)
  • Sound: 4
  • Length: 3
  • Difficulty: 4
  • Perspective: FLEX
  • Style: SP-P

Bottom line:
A very good game for old school crpg fans. Fairy tale, medieval setting, some choices and consequences, much humor. Very good party combat, interesting npcs and party members, nice alchemy/crafting system.
The story could have some more surprises and the gameworld could be a bit more open. Party interaction exists, but don't expect deep discussions like in KOTOR for example.
Like the old Realms of Arkania games, this game is suitable for young gamers - an easy approach to a complex rule system.
Last edited by HiddenX; August 12th, 2008 at 21:58.
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August 11th, 2008, 23:20
Great tech review as alsways, thanks.
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August 12th, 2008, 00:31
Nice overview - thanks!
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August 12th, 2008, 07:55
no problem

by comparison:

RPG Factors: Story, Character, NPC-Interaction, Gameworld, Manipulation, Combat

Drakensang: 3, 5, 4, 3.5, 4.5, 5
RPG Score:= 4.17 => CRPG heavy

The Witcher: 5, 3, 5, 3, 4, 3
RPG Score:= 3.83 => CRPG

Geneforge 4: 5, 4, 5, 3.5, 5, 3
RPG Score:= 4.25 => CRPG heavy

Gothic 3: 4, 3.5, 4.5, 5, 4, 2
RPG Score:= 3.8 => CRPG
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August 12th, 2008, 08:48
Nice, HiddenX. Always appreciate your insight. If I had learned my German I wouldn't have to wait to play it.
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August 12th, 2008, 11:07
Another great technical breakdown/review HiddenX - thanks.

I get a more realistic overview from these critical analysis type reviews than from blogg style reviewers eager to push their own ego mania image. Even without yet owning it i can visualise the game with a great sense of precision.

One small question - would the international version of Drakensang be exactly identical in analysis - would any of the mentioned elements be different?
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August 12th, 2008, 14:47
Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
One small question - would the international version of Drakensang be exactly identical in analysis - would any of the mentioned elements be different?
We just don't know. The translation has just begun.

I do hope, however, that everything will be untouched.
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August 12th, 2008, 15:07
The main differences will probably the quality of the voice acting and to some degree the type or quality of writing. Both related to translation. It´s not clear to what extend they (want to) maintain this slightly humorous, cutesy style.

Has anybody played DS2? I´ve seen somebody compare Drakensang to DS2 and was a bit surprised. These games shouldn´t have much in common.

Where is the voice acting included in the CRPG-Meter?
Is it possible that the scores get inflated somehow? It seems every game gets between 3.5 and 4.5.
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August 12th, 2008, 16:35
I have played the Demo of DS2, and I must say that they indeed have very few in common - except that in both cases the world looks relatively rich in details - regarding the demo of both I've played,

but I think the greatest point of similarity lies in the combat - if you turn off the pause in Drakensang.

But that's just my subjective impression.
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August 12th, 2008, 18:36
Where is the voice acting included in the CRPG-Meter?
not integrated yet - could be a sub-category under OTHER NON-RPG RELATED INTERESTING CATEGORIES

a) no voice acting
b) some voice acting
c) partial voice over
d) complete voice over

Drakensang = c)

Is it possible that the scores get inflated somehow? It seems every game gets between 3.5 and 4.5.
There's only one reason for this: my game selection - If I would measure the crpg-ingredients of Fable, Deus Ex or Dungeon Siege there would be much different final scores.
The final vectors are quite different and more meaningful than the average values.

To get the percentage (5=100%) calculate:
score / (5/100) = score * 20

Drakensang = 4.17 * 20 -> 83%
The Witcher = 3.83 * 20 -> 77%
Geneforge = 4.25 * 20 -> 85%
Gothic 3 = 3.8 * 20 -> 76%
Last edited by HiddenX; August 12th, 2008 at 23:50.
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August 13th, 2008, 09:37
Thanks HiddenX nicely done as ever.
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August 14th, 2008, 03:49
Oh, BEEP, I shouldn't play so long !

But it IS very immersive !

I've been folowing the first part of the main quest - including kind of a hunt within the sewers of Ferdok ! (Ferdok is the main town of the game.)

And the game looks overall really beautiful !

Oh, am I tired ! I have been playing Drakensang too long today ! *grin*
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August 14th, 2008, 15:39
I'm currently playing it.

With the town of Ferdok, imho Radon Labs has built a new milestone regarding the make-up of towns.

It is incredibly detailed - compared to other in-game towns I know (I haven't played the last Bethesda RPGs, though), and actually feels as if it was a living town !

I don't know too much about latest C-RPGs, but this town is actually SO immersive that I just can't keep from letting my party walking through it !

The whole town is so BIG, it's an exploration field of its own !

The quarters have loading screens, but they are relatively short and don't break the immersion too much.

Now I'm curious how the rest of the game might be …
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August 14th, 2008, 19:00
Olnigg wrote an "Review" : http://www.olnigg.de/jahr2008/olg154.htm

His last sentence of the conclusion can be (roughly) translated as this :

"For an Adventurehack'n'slay it deserves the rating of masterly and a buying recommendation, but as a classical RPG it is an disappointing part-failure."

One of his main criticisms are regarding the railroading nature of the environment - for example that you can't re-visit maps.

Other criticisms are :

- too many barrels
- no real consequences with decisions within quests
- no real exploration possible - you are kept within within the maps (which implies that exploration is possible only within the maps, of course)
- more barrels
- no collision detection of party characters, especially within fights
- no consequences when stealing items from barrels and chests

His overall view of Drakensang ist that of a railroading game, with a linear plot and no real exploration capabilities ( no free roaming like in let's say Divinity ).

I hope I transferred this correctly.
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August 14th, 2008, 19:17
It needs to be said that Olnigg is satire. He only played the game for a couple of hours, and the text was pretty harmless compared to his reviews on games he doesn´t like.
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August 14th, 2008, 23:24
Yes, that's right.

But I think it's also worth reading behind the lines in his texts.
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August 15th, 2008, 15:43
I'm also playing along… I actually had a "moral" situation now. Whoa! Fights are getting more and more tactical. Another cool thing was a treasure hunt with only few clues. It was kind of cool solving it on your own with no one helping you. Nicely done.

Sure the barrels and stealing thingy is really strange. There is even no consequence in pickpocketing… But to be honest in Gothic you will just load and try again (robbing the chests I mean) - so no big difference there. Still loving the game, maybe 'cause I'm familiar with the world and just love how they brought it to live…

Uh! And the lighting: It is just great. They said in the beginning that they won't include a day-night cycle but use light for the atmosphere of the situation. It works great for me! Going from a bright, sunlit clearance into the shadow of a forrest with a change from a overall orange to a green-blue lighting looks just great. I stepped in and out a couple of times to see that…

Many are also complaining about the old graphics. I may have missed the most recent developments in graphics, but I really like the way it is done in Drakensang. All the seeds and dust flying around, grass and leaves moving in the wind. It works for me. Don't know what else to expect…
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August 15th, 2008, 22:36
I really don't understand any complaint about "old graphics". Honestly, in my limited experience with RPGs, these graphics are totally top.

With a few exceptions of course : Olnigg for example hinted to the look of some clothes of a farmer or so. In that point, I must agree.
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