Divinity 2: Ego Draconis
Belgian games, they’re not always something to be proud of. Still the last couple of years have seen some international top titles, like Outcast of Appeal and Divine Divinity by Larian Studios. The latter now has a sequel and at Larian they’re hoping to get equally high scores as with the original.
The game plays in the magical world of Rivellon. After one of the dragon knights cowardly killed the chosen one from the first part, their order was almost completely exterminated by the newly formed order of the dragon slayers. The player starts as one of those to seek the last of the traytors and bring them to justice. However, not all is as it seems and before you know it you’re one of the men you had sworn to get rid of.
What quickly gets noticed when starting a new game is the limited influence you have over the creation of a character. Next to picking male or female you can only choose between four different faces and voices. Quite thin for an RPG of this time. However, pretty quickly you’ll run into so-called illusionists which in exchange for payment can change the gender or looks of your character. Chosing your combat style is done in the first area where magic, sword and bow&arrow can be tested. The pleasant thing about this is that you can choose at any time to go from a sword fighter to a magician so you won’t have to worry about making bad choices at the start.
A nice feature is the possibility to read people’s minds. This skill costs experience that’s needed more depending on how important the thought is, but you can recuperate fast by killing enemies and completing missions. Plenty of new missions and hidden objects can be discovered, which immediately is one of the biggest positive things about Divinity 2. A simple hint towards a hidden key can quickly lead to solving a murder.
To get to these locations, plenty of blood will need spilling as the current occupants usually don’t like having some hero coming to visit. It also seems the people at Larian wanted to give the player a challenge from the start as from the beginning the opponents are stronger than you are. It’s normal that enemies are somewhat of a challenge in a game, but in Divinity 2 you usually encounter hostiles that aren’t only one of two levels higher in experience, but also run around in packs. This makes that you’re partially forced to do the countrless side-quests to reach a higher level as otherwise you’ll have no chance for survival.
Next to fighting on the ground your character can also travel through air if certain structures in the neighborhood have been destroyed. You won’t be on the back of a dragon, but will be a dragon yourself at that time. The change into this animal doesn’t give you the possibility to destroy all hostiles on the ground, though, as when you’re in the air all ground-based hostiles will disappear and get replaced by airborne enemies. Changing yourself also unlocks new possibilities going from firing a simple fireball to a reign of fire that can hit multiple hostiles. There’s also a possibility to equip the dragon with armor for better protection.
As if changing into a dragon isn’t good enough, you’ll also get your own “Battle Tower” including inhabitants. Here found treasure can be left, you can train with countless characters and put together your own sidekicks. Yes, you read right, “put together”! The sidekicks consist of different parts of monsters and other hostiles you defeated. You can for instance make a monster with the head of a goblin and swords like teeth. Another useful function is that through the tower itself you can easily teleport to locations you’ve previously visited in order to save time.
The game uses the Gamebryo engine which was also used in Fallout 3, Warhammer Online and Civilization: Revolution. From the ground things look very atmospheric with rivers, green woods and detailed structures, but from the sky things look a bit less. When flying and looking around the surroundings look a lot less impressive. Locations are emptier and objects have less detail. The characters themselves do fit well in the surroundings and don’t look like plasticine.
The game may look nice, but the ears also like some action and the devs clearly succeed in that with Divinity 2. The voices of the characters are more than good and go from a gay character with high squeeky voice to a tough soldier. The environment sounds are also plentyful with wind that goes through the grass and bushes that can be heard when someone goes through them.
As final conclusion I can only say that the game will be able to keep plenty of RPG lovers busy. Due to the variation with ground and air combat and the possibility to find countless treasures by reading minds, the Belgian developer shows to have more than enough knowledge to make decent games!