THE AWESOME FANTASY RPG TRILOGY ARRIVES AT IT’S CONCLUSION WITH DIVINITY II-EGO DRACONIS
The final part of our fantastic Divinity Trilogy ‘Retro Review’ and competition in conjuction with dtp Entertainment and Larian Studio’s. The winner will be announced today.
We have come a long way on this journey across the vast empire’s that Larian created for us to explore. We have fought countless enemies and defeated hordes of hideous monsters on our epic saga of heroic martyrdom. But do not sheath your sword nor stow your armour just yet, as there is still much to be done. The Dragon is awake and awaits you in the final act. So don your helmet and wield your mighty rapier once more as you set forth to the Ego Draconis. This is Divinity II reviewed.
With all that has transpired in the Divinity Universe, and all that Larian had to live up to in their first major outing for the Divinity titles on the Xbox360, it was always going to be a tall order for Larian to repeat the successes of the two previous titles in the franchise. Would they be able to make the transition to the console? Would it still be as compelling a title as ever? Read on to discover the answers to these and many more questions.
Divinity II-Ego Draconis continues the tried and tested formula of the fantasy RPG. Dragons, myth and mythology and open world goblin hunting with some fine magical attrition thrown into the mix for good measure. Your personae is that of a Dragon Slayer. Your silver-eyed character is one of the chosen few who have hunted down the giant lizard’s since time began in the land of Rivellon. Though thought to have been hunted to the point of extinction by your dragon-slaying ancestor’s it is therefore a shocking discovery to find that more of the great winged lizard’s have returned to your realm to strike fear and terror into the hearts and minds of the villagers and townsfolk.
So have the blacksmith hammer the dent’s from your armour, and hone the blade of your sword as you are duty bound with the unenviable task of once more ridding your world of the Draconis.
The actual gameplay employed in Divinity II-Ego Draconis is much the same affair as you will be familiar with if you have been one of the lucky ones and followed the Trilogy from its beginning with the superb debut title Divine Divinity. There are however two fantastic additions to the title’s major mechanics that allow for some truly memorable gaming moments and will bring forth much pleasure once put to use. The first of these new features see’s the Dragon Slayer being able to read the mind’s of the NPC’s that you will come across along the way. Shopkeepers and merchants for example can be successfully probed so that you may extract the best prices from them when bartering for goods and wares. But by far the most attractive proposition on the menu for players of Divinity II-Ego Draconis is the ability to transform yourself into your alternative form, that of the dragon itself. Bear in mind that when you are upgrading your character and his abilities that you must upgrade your ‘alter-Ego Dragonis’ separately. The two are unrelated in that respect so remember this when the time comes for you to dole out the XP in the upgrades menu.
It is from here that you will now understand more fully the game’s title of Divinity II-Ego Draconis. The Ego Draconis referring to the other half of your character that you can call on throughout troubled times as you continue your romp trough the vast landscape of the realm of Rivellon. The beauty of the Dragon Slayer’s ability to transform himself into his arch nemisis in a sort of poetic justice of irony is not something that is just given to the player at the onset of the game. This is something that requires dedicated gameplay and immersion into the title. But let’s face it, when you have a game that is a good to play and as beautiful to behold as Divinity II that is not really an issue is it? There is a genuine desire to remain in the world of Rivellon and explore its immense land mass and learn its hidden tales. Larian have managed to take all of the positive aspects from the first two games in the Divinity franchise and install and improve upon them in Ego Draconis. Everything that you loved about the first two titles makes a welcome return to Ego Draconis, and with the inclusion of the mind reading ability and the awesome power to change into the mighty Drake itself, the third title in the series does not disappoint as it takes the torch from its predeccessor and strides off confidently into the open world of Rivellon with it proudly held before it like the banner of an all conquering legion.
Character development in Ego Draconis is, once again, a painless experience thanks to the smooth method of management that Larian has perfected over the preceding titles. There are a wide variety of personalitites for you to experience, making the replay value for those gamers out there who like to really get their teeth into their purchases, as opposed to just playing them once and trading them in at their local game store, all the more desirable as you can play as everything from Dragon Slayer, Priest, Mage, Warrior, Ranger and eventually the fabled Dragon Knight from whence comes the ability to change into your Ego Draconis self.
Characters are upgraded using the familiar Larian styled XP purchase system that is reminiscent of the PC games from which the Xbox360 compatible Ego Draconis was borne. As you level up based upon the experience gained from activities in the realm and then from there they assign the skill points they recieve as reward to one of the five slots available for each tier, or class. The outcome from this is that you can construct capable heroes in each class, however be aware that the allocation of skill points wieghs heavy on the decisions regarding placements as there is no ‘undo’ option in your quest to make your character the most profficient in all of his skills so that he may be best equipped to take on the challenges that will come his way during the game.
One feature of Ego Draconis that we were extremely pleased with was the opportunity afforded to us by the controller options menu to ‘map’ the buttons, thus allowing us the freedom to arrange at least eight of the available actions and weapons to a prefferred location on our Xbox360 controller. We only wish that this was a feature that was available on more titles.
The game itself is a joy to play through and we were grateful to Larian and dtp Entertainment for giving us the opportunity to relive this title all over again. Remember that this was a title that most overlooked in favour of the linear alternative that was Bioware’s offering. A decision we could not understand then, and having had the opportunity to playthrough Ego Draconis a second time, still cannot fathom the reasoning behind some gamers choice of purchase? Divinity II is a far more open affair with lush graphics that are so realistic in places that you almost have to stop your hand reaching out to touch the local flora and fauna. Cut scenes in the game are truly staggering and verge on the breathtaking on countless occasions. The console version suffers no loss of form in comparison to its PC sibling, and if truth be told looks to be even better in parts, if that is possible. The audio has the same excellent standards that we have come to expect from a Larian title and the sound effects in the game are flawless and sound sublime when played though some of the latest audio upgrades.
This brings us nicely to the final question in the Divinity Trilogy Competition for the fantastic prizes that have been supplied to us by those nice people from dtp Entertainment.
Q: What is the title of the latest Ego Draconis expansion in the award-winning Divinity series?
Answers should be sent to the following email along with your contact details and the answers to the first two question that can be found in the previous Trilogy reviews. All decisions for the selection of winners are final. The email for your answers is:
The winners will be drawn at 12:00am GMT on August 5th, 2010. Winners will be notified by email.
So to resume our summary for the third in the series of Divinity titles from developers Larian and publishers dtp Entertainment, we can come to our final ratings by deciding if the title has stood the test of time were so many others have fallen foul of Old Father Time and the aging process. Quite simply put we played through Ego Draconis as if it were the first time, and we thoroughly enjoyed the title all over again. Nothing has aged this classic Larian action RPG and the graphic’s still look as stunning as they ever did. When you compare the title to others released at the same time you wonder how gamers could have ever looked elsewhere for their RPG delights in the months surrounding its launch in 2009?
Graphics: Still looking as fresh and jaw-dropping as they ever did. The colours that dazzle your eyes assault you in a never ending torrent of brilliance that takes even the mundane and makes it beautiful. Anything from a frog to a prince is created with the same care and attention to detail. Stunning. 9
Gameplay: Losing yourself for hours, if not days, on end in the lush surroundings of Rivellon makes for an attractive prospect when you have this standard of good quality combat and varied gameplay to occupy your time. A myriad of characters combined with a multitude of missions means that the town of Boredom is nowhere to be found on a map of the realm. 8
Replay Value: The game is so long, with well into the possibilitites of 90 hours and over if you really want to travel the world and do a spot of sight seeing whilst you are there? But there is also the many characters to make a return journey with, and there is always something new to be found or learned in Rivellon. Now with the added bonus of the excellent Flames of Vengeance expansion making it likely that you will return to Rivellon for more than one tour of duty as the Dragon Slayer. 7
Presentation: With some of the best RPG gaming to be found in any series of titles, and in a beautifully rendered world that depicts a fantasists Utopia, Ego Draconis is without a doubt one of the true gems of the 2009 gaming calendar. It is unfortunate for such a great title that it was overlooked in favour of others that now seem not to have stood the test of time as well as Divinity II has. If you did not have the good fortune to have played this fantastic game when it was first released then we can recommend that you hurry along to either the Larian or dtp Entertainment websites and place your order for a copy now. 9