Review Xbox 360: Divinity 2 Ego Draconis

This is a tale of a broken land, the people of this world are fighting for peace and prosperity, fighting against evil to free Rivellon of the evil that has risen once again. You are a dragon slayer a highly trained individual spliced with dragon memories to bring you closer to your foe, you are born to slay dragons! This direction is original and Divinity II has an extra dimension, not only are you born to fight dragons you can posses dragons to control and fight with them, making this RPG very tempting for Role playing fans, and fans of mystic creatures and magic.

The first title Divine Divinity was released on CD-ROM in 2002 developed by Larian Studios, Divine Divinity also had a spin off called Beyond Divinity which was released in 2004 on PC , and the difference being with this title is the player could control two characters with full equipment, an interesting direction for Larian to take. Finally Divinity 2: Ego Draconis was released in 2009 on Windows and Xbox 360 platforms after extra time had to be spent to create a full and intriguing game for fans that had patiently waited. I’m relieved to say in the introduction to the game you can feel the mystical RPG vibes even at the start menu, and the game does have an epic ancient feel, the story and voice acting is implemented well and helps bring this long awaited sequel to life. There is however only so much a studio like this can accomplish, even though it’s an incredible feat to release a charming RPG like this it does have drawbacks and problems.

As you begin there is a quite beautiful cut scene with a strange old man on some hovering ship, then it takes you to a warrior chasing a dragon down at ground level, not the most informational cut scene ever created and not the longest either but I’m guessing it’s trying to tell you there is pending danger in the sky’s. After this slight wobbly start you will create and customize your slayer, there isn’t much to customize at the beginning and more work here would have been appreciated, it does feel awfully plain and you may start to doubt if this is a game worth investing time into. Not soon after this your worries should be calmed a little as the game starts to unravel its charm, after leaving your epic flying battle ship you will be introduced to Rhode. Conversations in Divinity 2 take place in boxes, voice acting is great but the constant “over acting” from the characters will make you laugh, it is pretty extreme.

After this unsteady start the game will pretty much let you do what you want, you don’t even have to take the tutorial as it’s optional and tucked in a corner of the first village you will visit, leaving you with a whole world at your finger tips. Camera position is good and camera views aren’t much a problem but not always effective, leaving most of your adventuring a nice and smooth experience as well as general movement being easy to master. Sadly right from the word go there is some rather bad frame rate issues, no doubt because of the amount of detail that has been packed into this title, you can learn to live with it but obviously no frame rate issues would have been better, there are also some sharpness issues which cuts into the quality of the world around you, objects standout because they look sharp and untidy, these two problems don’t spoil the game play just takes away from the whole visual experience.

The beginning of the game is challenging and will make you hunt for anything you can sell to get better gear and you will have to train for long periods of time before you take on any quests as they are a challenge. It’s not objective of the quest that’s the challenge its fighting groups of enemies, its basically suicidal and you will have to plan your attacks carefully as it gets very tricky to execute plans as the combat is better for fighting one enemy at a time not groups, and enemies will just mob you making death inevitable, It is irritating at times but other times it just seems like more of a challenge, saving often helped me progress quicker and overcome this. The game does get a little easier when you get above level 5, skills and stats can be improved slightly also by now you should have some half decent equipment for your level of character from caves and quests and more visual customisation options are available as you come across different styles of equipment.

The aim of the game is basically to proceed through the story improving your character and your skills along the way, you can also collect random things running around on your adventures with the obligatory crate searching which is what adventuring is all about. There isn’t a great deal of items to collect off the ground compared to other games I’ve played in its genre but there’s enough to keep you content, also variety of armour and weapons is rather slow at first and trying to proceed through the first parts of the game is a challenge so expect to invest a lot of hours to see some cool equipment. The enemies you fight aren’t the best looking enemies you’ve ever fought and don’t show a great deal of creativity in design compared to the incredible beings I’ve seen in other games which makes running around training a little stale at times. The problem for me with the combat is camps of enemies don’t respawn bringing gameplay to an uncomfortable crawl when training, this means if you don’t find new same level training areas you can’t proceed as you will be killed by higher levels of enemies very quickly, this isn’t making the game more of a challenge it’s creating a problem for gamers to proceed enjoyably through the game.

Just as you get proficient at what you’re given so far the gameplay takes a slight twist and you will be shown how to control a dragon but only for a short period. You can only fly and attack with the dragon you can’t run around with it so you are directed through these parts when they’re triggered, it’s really quite fun and makes a unexpected and exciting change compared to working hard on improving your character. There are more CG story scenes too throughout the game but because they’re short they don’t help explain what you’re doing or help build the story up, watching dragons fighting is cool but a bit more story telling wouldn’t go a miss. It takes a long time to get to these more exciting parts but it is definitely worth it, it’s such a great direction to take in a game where you invest a lot of time.

As you gain experience you can upgrade skills and attributes, all equipment and skills can be found in the pause menu, which becomes tiring quickly as flicking through tidy but slow menu systems isn’t much fun. Skills are presented well with small circle symbols representing the certain skill and all these are in an easy to use table that separates your mage skills from your warrior skills. When you go to upgrade skills and you’re not sure what they do, a small video is available so you can get the best out of your skill points as levelling up is hard work. Your equipment menu system basically does the job but is a little boring, same is to be said about your logbook, your logbook stores important information about quests and conversations but is hard to navigate and read. You can access your map with the select button but you will find missions hard to track as they’re hard to spot on the map, the map does help you navigate and irritates you at times. Thankfully the waypoint system is decent and they are well placed too, easing the pain of epic journeys but the point of Diversity is to explore your world and investigate every nook and cranny. There are a good amount of caves to venture through and tombs to pillage from so exploring is enjoyable, also there’s alot of objects to look into for valuables in caves making them a bit more rewarding, like tombs should be. 

As with most RPG’s when you progress more power is given to you and your skills become wide spread. Wandering around smiting enemies is enjoyable at this point in the game even with the dodgy targeting system, and you will have a lot more loot to sell opening up more things to enjoy and upgrade. Quests become better as you proceed, killing a ghost in a church basement isn’t totally boring but more exciting quests are open to you as you progress. World design in general is reliable, set out well and combat areas can be navigated through without too much irritation but as the game isn’t polished well another minor irritation is you might occasionally fall through the floor old school glitch style, there’s a lot of these minor irritations that bring the game down slowly. Though to help direct those long hours of gameplay and ease the pain of these little problems you will be given a place to come back to after epic quests to use and create items with those ingredients you have collected, and to buy and sell equipment to the various merchants that will be there. This whole home side to the game will give you something to work on while you do side quests and adventuring and is very welcome after hording a lot of loot.

With a game like this it is going to have its problems but as you spend more and more time you might feel more and more disappointed, it has its enjoyable parts but not enough to keep you battling through to the end, even with the cool possessing dragons slant Larian Studios took. It could have been something different for RPG fans, bringing back some of the older more enjoyable PC RPG element’s for console gamers is a great idea but the Xbox 360 console version is too inconsistent leaving you feeling robbed of your time. If you’re really into this type of game and like spending silly amounts of time beating one game id still give it some thought, it would be a lot wiser to invest in a PC version of the game, but as for everybody else, well they will become bored and lost in the game it is too much of a challenge to overcome its problems and enjoy what’s there, which is a shame it shows a lot of hard work but with a couple of more weeks polish up time this could have been enjoyable and not so irritating.

Gamer rating: 6.2

Buy, Rent or Pass: Rent

Publisher: CDV Software
Developer: Larian Studios

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