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Review Divinity II: Ego Draconis Review

VentilatorOfDoom

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Tags: Divinity 2; Larian Studios

<p>Gamebanshee <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/reviews/99993-divinity-ii-ego-draconis.html" target="_blank">put up a review</a> of Larian Studio's <strong>Divinity II: Ego Draconis</strong>.</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Unlike Larian's first two games, which used 2D graphics and an isometric view, <em>Ego Draconis</em> uses a 3D engine and an over-the-shoulder camera. As you might expect with such a set-up, you control your character using the WASD keys to move, the spacebar to jump, the mouse to direct the camera, and the mouse buttons to attack and interact with objects (or at least that's how it works on the PC, which is the version of the game I played; the Xbox no doubt uses standard Xbox controls). You can also assign up to eight objects or skills to hotkeys, and you can can configure the keys in any way you like, and so the interface is versatile and functional.<br /><br />Unfortunately, the combat mechanics aren't nearly as effective, which is a problem because the game is roughly half combat. You can't attack and move at the same time (making it more difficult than it should be to finish off retreating enemies), the visuals don't always agree with what the game thinks is happening (for example, you might see your weapon hit an enemy, but it's considered a "miss" because the game doesn't think you're close enough to connect), you're always forced to sheathe your weapon for conversations and cut scenes, giving enemies in important battles a few easy shots at you, and you're frequently teleported after killing an enemy, sometimes nearby but sometimes far away, which is just bizarre.</p>
<p>...</p>
<p><em>Divinity II: Ego Draconis</em> has more than a few flaws. It doesn't look great, it doesn't sound great, it lacks a certain amount of polish, and its combat engine is iffy -- but, with all that being said, I generally enjoyed the campaign. I seem to have a similar sense of humor as Larian, and so the campaign kept me amused, and I think the non-combat activities are fun enough to make up for the combat. So if you've enjoyed some of the "also-ran" RPGs like <em>Risen</em> and <em>Two Worlds</em> and <em>Dungeon Lords</em>, then <em>Ego Draconis</em> might be a worthwhile purchase for you, especially if you can find it at a bargainish price.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>ED doesn't sound great? I thought the score was fantastic.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/100018-gb-feature-divinity-ii-ego-draconis-review.html">GB</a></p>
 

Turisas

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Couldn't they have waited a month and play the improved version that has the expansion with it.

"Divinity II - The Dragon Knight Saga" will include a remastered version of Divinity II - Ego Draconis, featuring new content and an improved engine, as well as the new Flames of Vengeance addon.
 

AnalogKid

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Turisas said:
Couldn't they have waited a month and play the improved version that has the expansion with it.
Quite. My first reaction was "why the hell are they reviewing it NOW?" *shrug*

Anyway, I rage at one design decision that forces extreme meta-gaming bullshit and makes all character development decisions nearly irrelevant, but if you can LARP around that (or just ignore it), then I found ED quite fun. I actually didn't even really mind the dragon stuff, because it went by so quickly. I don't understand the "half the game" that people talk about, I blew through all the fortresses in one afternoon, as the last thing I did just before finishing the game. Dragon gameplay certainly was not as deep as the "normal" game, but it was a reasonably fun diversion for me that was over before it got old. Kind of like one big mini-game that didn't keep popping up over and over and over throughout the game.

In terms of world interaction (rather than game systems), I do think most of the fun was related to sense of humour. I enjoyed it, but it's a double edged sword, and people who don't get the vibe will very likely hate the game.
 

MicoSelva

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if you've enjoyed (...) Dungeon Lords, then Ego Draconis might be a worthwhile purchase for you

That's a pretty big IF in there. Are they trying to scare people away, or something?
 

DraQ

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AnalogKid said:
Anyway, I rage at one design decision that forces extreme meta-gaming bullshit and makes all character development decisions nearly irrelevant
Which would be?

Dragon gameplay certainly was not as deep as the "normal" game, but it was a reasonably fun diversion for me that was over before it got old. Kind of like one big mini-game that didn't keep popping up over and over and over throughout the game.
I didn't find dragon gameplay unenjoyable (must be the scallie thing), but they did so much about it horribly wrong.

In terms of world interaction (rather than game systems), I do think most of the fun was related to sense of humour.
This. I had a lot of fun with the game despite its numerous glaring shortcomings.

Would play again.
 

AnalogKid

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VentilatorOfDoom said:
Which would be?
The "level-stat". Works really in a stupid way. The whole character system, spells etc. are lame compared with Divine Divinity.
Yeah, I posted a bit in the FoV impressions thread, and didn't want to re-hash it all, but basically it's a combination of factoring level directly into combat outcomes (so a mob 3 levels lower than you simply can't hurt you no matter what your skills/stats/equipment are), and then the assinine decision to scale XP with level in a game without re-spawning enemies instead of just balancing the XP rewards appropriately. So:

- Level is all-powerful, almost regardless of character development choices.
- To gain high levels, you have to do things in particular order (quests and dragon buildings last, because their XP doesn't scale, all monster fights 1st, because their XP depends on the relative level between you and them, diminishing to essentially nothing if you accidentally turned in too many quests before fighting that mob).
- The difference between metagaming or not was about 3-4 levels at game's end, which is the difference between dominating and struggling thanks to mind-fart #1. That's why I said that one design decision almost forces players to metagame and ignore all the pretty cool char dev stuff.

And it's really too bad because the char dev systems were quite enjoyable for me, the equipment options were fun to muck around with (enchantments, buffs, and slots), and all of the game systems really did matter for fights of about your level. Since it's an open world and the "level stat" was so heavy-handed, though, it was really hard to pretend that all the cool systems they created were worth investing in.

For the record, I did finish it, absolutely LOVED the finest magician among the stars, and am looking forward to FoV, if it ever comes to the US.
 

DraQ

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Archibald said:
Assholes, divinity and divinity 2 have amazing soundtracks.
I forgot to quote this for emphasis, so I do it now.

BTW: Funny thing is that CDA (Polish "top" gaming rag) gave Divinity 2 3/10. From what I managed to gather from semi-coherent babble that passes for a review these days the reviewer got butthurt over 'teh gaem being hard'. Reasoning that if Oblivion got 10/10 in the same gaming rag, Div2 must be at least 7/10 points better, I bought the game and wasn't disappointed.
:thumbsup:
 

MicoSelva

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DraQ said:
CDA (Polish "top" gaming rag) gave Divinity 2 3/10. (...) Oblivion got 10/10

I see that nothing has changed in CDA's reviewing quality in the last 10 years...
 

ZbojLamignat

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DraQ said:
MicoSelva said:
DraQ said:
CDA (Polish "top" gaming rag) gave Divinity 2 3/10. (...) Oblivion got 10/10

I see that nothing has changed in CDA's reviewing quality in the last 10 years...
Not really, at least 10 years ago they still got their scores mostly right.
As far as I remember they were always pretty clueless (I first read them in late 1997), the difference being that ten years ago they were wrong because of a simple incompetence and now they obviously joined "yeah, we're totally honest reviewers, not marketing tools" crowd.

When you compare them to ŚGK (imo the most honest and professional printed mag that ever visited Polish market) they always looked like a bunch of clowns.

I remember that when I read a strategy guide for HoM&M III in CDA, which was printed in 1999, I realized how often they know nothing about the topics they dwell on and it really only got worse since then.
 

Phelot

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Divinity II: Ego Draconis has more than a few flaws. It doesn't look great, it doesn't sound great, it lacks a certain amount of polish, and its combat engine is iffy

What the fuck are they talking about? Goes to show you these dumb fucks have selective love affairs considering no one can say Divinity 2 doesn't at least measure up to DA:O (and in my opinion, it runs circles around it) in the graphics department and the music is at least unique compared to shitty epic DA music.

Honestly, I thought Div2 was just OK. I had fun with it, but I'll likely never play it again, but to say shit like it lacked "polish" (which at this point is an empty term) is just plain stupid.
 

DraQ

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ZbojLamignat said:
As far as I remember they were always pretty clueless (I first read them in late 1997), the difference being that ten years ago they were wrong because of a simple incompetence and now they obviously joined "yeah, we're totally honest reviewers, not marketing tools" crowd.

When you compare them to ŚGK (imo the most honest and professional printed mag that ever visited Polish market) they always looked like a bunch of clowns.

I remember that when I read a strategy guide for HoM&M III in CDA, which was printed in 1999, I realized how often they know nothing about the topics they dwell on and it really only got worse since then.

While they sometimes made rather baffling factual errors (SR1 review, mention of armour, wat.), they seemed to come back to their senses for the verdict time (somehow) and tended to convey general feel of the game rather well. Plus they usually offered fairly entertaining write-up and I consider my standards for game reviews to be rather reasonable - to give me a hint what it is, to tell me how awesome/shit it is and to not make my brain bleed in the process. 10 years ago CDA fulfilled those basic criteria, now, it does not fulfil any of them.
 

dragonfk

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DraQ said:
MicoSelva said:
DraQ said:
CDA (Polish "top" gaming rag) gave Divinity 2 3/10. (...) Oblivion got 10/10

I see that nothing has changed in CDA's reviewing quality in the last 10 years...
Not really, at least 10 years ago they still got their scores mostly right.

Recently they've praised Civ 5 AI !!

They should really hire people with brains.
 

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