RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Divinity 2

Divinity II is an under-appreciated game that never really stood out among other instant hit titles of the time like Dragon Age or Oblivion. Whilst it may deserve a spot in the sun, its lack of polish earned it a lonely bench in the shade. Even the hardiest of RPG connoisseurs can overlook or miss out on playing the Divinity games, which is a real shame. Just because the franchise was out shined by better publicized and better funded companies, doesn't change the fact that at its greatest moments; Divinity can easily compete and even beat its more popular rivals.

Yeah, I forgot what happened here. Let's just say magic stuff.

Genre: RPG, Adventure, Action
Release Date: 20th November, 2009
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Score: 8/10
Similar Titles: Dragon Age, Kingdoms of Amalur, Oblivion

I've always wanted to start playing the Divinity franchise, the reviews are top notch and it's a long running RPG. However, before purchasing the second title I always got confused- it seems like there is a bunch of different copies. When it gets down to it there are only really two. Ego Draconis and the Dragon Knight Saga. The Dragon Knight Saga is essentially a second release of the first game with a fair degree of fixes and improvements. There is also an expansion, Flames of Vengeance which accompanied the re-release. Finally, a Developer's cut of the game was brought out with countless extra features.

Nobody screws with a bitch in a turban. Bitches love turbans.

Dragons are a dying breed; the well established Dragon Knights have seen to that. As a knight finishing your training, you are a warrior dedicated to ending the reign of dragons. Or so you thought. The final test removes all of your memories of education. Reasonable explanation for starting the game at level one. Hypocritically, the test actually gives you unique characteristics and talents innate to dragons. As soon as you complete your examination, you and the other Dragon Slayers are rushed to fight a Dragon.

Flying and Dragons and stuff. Yeah.

Ironically, in the end you can actually transform into a scaly winged thing, shooting fireballs out of your ass. This adds an interesting modicum to the combat that's not particularly common these days. Fighting in the air is actually well implemented, it almost feels like two separate games. Among other unique selling points, you can also create your own monster using parts you have collected in the world. Literally, you kill a goblin and take his torso; summon up a little necromancy and voila! You have your own necrotic monster tearing up the strip. It's pretty nifty stuff, and a great addition to the standard RPG formula that we're all used to.

The Dragon combat is pretty simple, but I just like being able to fly up annoying cliffs.

What else is there to look forward to in Divinity the second? Tough combat, for starters. While there aren't any execution moves and the engine can be a little sluggish at times, you will find yourself challenged in Divinity. Some foes hit incredibly hard and leave you wasting health potions in a frantic bid to survive. At other times you are attacked by overwhelming numbers and have to retreat until you can pick off some of the stragglers. Also, you can jump! I love games that you can jump across terrain or away from an incoming blow. It's a largely missed feature in RPG games because it opens up a whole host of bugs and issues to fix. Progression is also a huge and often disregarded feature. Within the space of a few levels, you feel drastically more powerful and well equipped to deal with enemies. That ogre that was once terrifying becomes a manageable threat. The best way for me to outline Divinity is that whilst it may sorely lack polish and feels rough around the edges; the basic premise of everything is spot on.

When you slay a lot of dragons having a dragon on your face is the height of fashion.

Dialogue is also a definite positive. The script is first-rate. It's funny, witty, and most of all, engaging. You can spend an hour in the first town alone, chatting away to the civilians. Oh, and you can read their minds. Yeah you fucking heard me. You can read peoples minds. Trust me, it's an amazing mechanic that provides endless entertainment. With such good conversation, you can't help but be entranced by the endearing yet slightly generic storyline.

I've never killed a skeleton in a game before.

You will also have an endless trail of sidequests to complete. Most of them can be finished through various means, for example you can go on a long journey into the countryside to find a magical password, or you could just go and read the right persons mind and glean it straight from the source. It's a nice touch. I enjoy trawling through every scrap of content, but Divinity is one of those games you can never quite be sure you got everything, because there is so much to do.

It's a tree. Underground. With a sassy mouth. Yes, I still have my turban. Shut up.

I practically forgot all of my responsibilities once I got started on a good Divinity II session, one of those times that you look out the window and it's light, only to look out the window again to realize it's still light. Because it's been three days. I don't believe everyone will find themselves as invested as me, because it has to really suit your tastes to work your way through the little bugs and issues and really get immersed. However, if you can make it that far, you will find a game that can not only contest the greats like Dragon Age, and Mass Effect, but also surpass them.

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