Release Date: Out now!
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
I must admit that this is a new one for me; The Dragon Knight Saga is a remastered release of Divinity II: Ego Draconis, a game released roughly a year ago.
But if ever a game deserved a second chance at a first impression it’s Divinity II as it’s port from PC to console didn’t exactly go that well with bad graphics and plenty of bugs.
Thankfully Dragon Knight Saga (DKS) polishes everything up, patches the bugs and presents the whole packaged neatly wrapped up with an expansion pack added for good measure, and that means console gamers can finally experience this game as it should have been the first time around.
DKS takes the form of your standard swords ‘n’ sorcery RPG with an open-world to venture around in, usually while getting lost and stumbling across side-quests.
Things are pretty heavy from the start, within just an hour or two of gaming you have a load of information thrown at you; you’re a trainee Dragon Slayer who has to have the memories of a Dragon implanted in your mind, which wipes out all of your years of training (how convenient) and then you’re told that this may make you go mental. Right. Wow…um….jeez.
The story on offer here is hardly going to be fighting for an Oscar, but it does contain enough cool twists to keep you playing throughout this time-consuming adventure.
From that information heavy beginning you’re in standard RPG territory; here’s a town, go talk to people and undertake side-quests, but don’t forget the main quest! It’s important.
The bad news is from the beginning you’re pretty much left in the dark about almost everything. Yes there are some basic tutorials etc. but the game seems to take a great delight in making sure you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going. While most games would at least hint at your next location Divinity II simply leaves you to figure it out, which wouldn’t be so bad if the damn map wasn’t so big. This lack of information is Divinity II’s single biggest flaw. It harks back to the older RPG’s, but in today’s world never being told where you’re going or even what the hell you’re supposed to be doing is a no-no.
For the first half of the game things are pretty standard; you wander around slaying enemies and taking on quests all so you can level-up your character and get better loot – of which DKS have a sizable amount.
The levelling up is something DKS excels at with a vast skill tree and the ability to mix and match to your heart’s content, even though at the beginning of the game you’re made to choose a single class which in no way ever effects the rest of your skills, but this is never explained leading to me believing that I’d be locked to that class. Each skill sits in one of four area’s; Warrior, Mage, Priest, Ranger and Slayer. At the start each of these skills can have five points put into it, with that limit able to change later on, and each to you level up you get one shiny skill point to spend. However choosing which skills to chase is the tough part as there is a large amount of skills to pick from and each suits different playstyles essentially making a massive pick ‘n’ mix from which you can mould your character.
Aside from skills each time you level up you also get some points to spend on your base stats such as Vitality ( Health) and Spirit(Mana) further allowing you to shape your character.
Along with the games other skills you get access to one in particular almost from the start which add’s a nice twist to the game; the ability to read minds. While talking to any character you can choose to use up some of your EXP points to read the characters mind which can lead you to treasure, net you a skill point, get you a discount or get you some valuable information. Or it could just let you know that said person wants to pick his nose and ask the local donkey on a date. Damn inbred villagers.
And what a world you have at your disposal to explore and adventure in, with some breathtaking vista’s and awe-inspiring scenery, but it’s a bit of a shame that even with the graphics polish up the game can never quite render these stunning views with the details it deserves.
The art-style on offer here though does make up for the slightly rough graphics in many ways; huge waterfalls and canyons open up to reveal massive forts and citadels, and while it’s all once again pretty typical fantasy fare it’s still nice to see.
There are a few towns and settlements to explore with a sprinkling of side-quests among each to take on, and it’s here that the game shows some nice originality with numerous references to films, books and other games. Other quests have some nice humour such as rescuing pigs or saving a village by giving a magical rune that conjures chickens to a mental Wizard.
The world never quite manages to feel truly real or lived in as NPC’s do tend to just wander randomly around with no real sense of purpose, but this is really the only flaw that could be attached to the world that DKS offers.
It’s the second half of the game where one of its big selling points becomes available. Are you ready? Are you sitting down comfortably? Ok, then here we go; you can turn into a freakin’ huge dragon at will.
It’s a shame that you have to go through almost half the game before getting access to this fantastic ability, but it certainly changes the game as you glide over valleys and set fire to things. Well, certain things anyway.
If turning into a massive dragon doesn’t tempt you then owning your very own Battle Tower might. Ok, so it may be an entire citadel but you only get access to a small part of it, but still those area’s include personal Enchanters, Trainers, Alchemists and, most excitingly, a Necromancer who helps you construct your own creature to help you out in fights. Sweet.
It’s now all rainbows and bunnies though, there are several problems in this game aside from the bloody annoying lack of quest markers and information on objectives.
The combat is a rather dull button mashing affair with no block button, instead you just have a roll button and hitting an enemy doesn’t feel like it has any impact.
The graphics, even with the polish up, are still rough-looking with characters lacking detail up close and the environment has some rather bland and boring textures.
I should also mention that the game has some rather slow loading times, and that loading is frequent in the game.
The Auto-save is also extremely bad with infrequent saves that seem to leap from every few minutes to every few hours. Thank god for manual save.
And there are a few other little flaws throughout the game that will annoy many people, but I won’t sit here and list them all. Suffice to say they won’t ruin your game, but they do take away from the overall package.
+ Being a Dragon! Burn!!!!!
+ My Tower. Mine!
+ Great skill tree.
– AGH! Why can’t you just tell me where the next damn quest is!? Is that so hard!?
– Polish or no, it’s still behind the times in visuals.
– Lackluster combat.
The art-style is nice, but on a technical side this ain’t going to be turning any heads.
A mixed bag with some great music and some rather odd music. The voice acting can be a little hit and miss as well.
Beat the bad guy! There are a few twists along the way and the final twist is a little predictable, but it’s still enjoyable.
While it does have flaws, this is still a good RPG that sticks to tradition with just a few idea’s of its own thrown in. Dragons FTW people!
Plenty to do and see with the main missions setting you at around the 15 hour mark, plus plenty of side quests.
A very enjoyable RPG let down by a few glaring flaws and some technical problems as well, but for any RPG fan this is certainly worth a look as it offers a great skill tree, interesting world and the ability to turn into a dragon which practically makes the entire game worth buying just for that reason.