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Divinity 2: Ego Draconis Review

by: TJSonntag ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This sequel to Larian's 2002 PC title "Divine Divinity" is likewise a fantasy RPG that returns the player to Rivellon, this time as a Dragon Slayer initiate.

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    The premise - Divinity II : Ego Draconis

    The large, free-roaming world allows for unhindered exploration, and players will encounter plenty of unique and interesting enemies to battle. As a Dragon Slayer, you are trained in the art of Mindreading. This tactic adds a creative dimension to the game and increases the number of ways that many quests can be handled. You can choose to confront NPCs with their innermost secret thoughts or use Mindreading to find additional treasures and secrets. How you play is totally up to you, and while your decisions have consequences, there is no good/evil scale for you to tip. Each new situation provides an opportunity to redeem yourself--or to give in to your darker side.

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    Graphics - Divinity II : Ego Draconis

    image1 Divinity II utilizes the Gamebryo engine, the same one used for Oblivion and Fallout 3. The graphics, however, don't resemble those Bethesda favorites--for better or worse, Divinity 2 has its own unique look and feel in the graphical department. Some screen tearing and lip-syncing issues may detract from the experience, but the game is actually really pretty. The landscape and interior areas are well designed and interesting, and you will find some surprisingly detailed work. Quest objects are hard to miss, although the optional keys, books, and the like tend to blend in with their surroundings.

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    Sound - Divinity 2

    image2 Sound engineers at Larian did a superb job of using music and effects to accentuate the mood and movement of the game. Eerie dungeon tunes, soaring flight music, and pleasant melodies contribute to a sound track that could be titled, "Music to Dungeon Crawl By."

    The voices are varied and, for the most part, appropriate, although there are some unexplained anomalies here. For instance, Cook Henry on Sentinel Island has an explained French accent, and even punctuates his sentences with an occasional, "oui." Gaffs of this sort tend to yank the player back out of her immersed state in order to ponder whether or not France and the French exist in this fantasy universe, or if Henry somehow fell into a worm hole, or if, somehow, it's just a coincidence.

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    Gameplay - Divinity 2

    image3 Divinity II uses a classless system in which characters are free to choose spells or abilities from any of the five class trees, with only some limitations on level. The Priest tree provides summons and healing spells, the Mage tree uses fire magic, the Warrior tree focuses on melee combat, the Ranger tree offers stealth and damage at range, and the Dragon Slayer tree provides utility features like lockpicking, experience boost, and additional encumbrance limits.

    Abilities can be hotkeyed to one of the 8 available positions, namely, the four controller buttons and the N,E,S, and W positions on the D-pad. Players can also hotkey potions if they so choose, and without any early healing abilities, most players can count on consuming potions in volume.

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    What's this about a dragon?

    image4 For being such a huge draw to the game, your dragon form is a long time coming--and that only after a series of quests and a rather long, drawn-out dungeon crawl. The good news is that the dragon form comes complete with your own "Battle Tower," a haven featuring your own personal staff of flunkies: alchemist, enchanter, skill trainer, and a set of three runners who will go out and comb the countryside for materials at your behest. This turns the second half of DII into an almost completely different game from the beginning levels.

    Being a dragon is not without its own problems. Much of the initial zone you will be plunked into at this point consists of barriers and anti-dragon artillery. Also, your dragon form is always weaker than your human form, and you will have less variety in armors and skills from which to choose. Zooming about while breathing flames and fire-bombing the enemy encampments is, while challenging, still great fun.

    Had the dragon form arrived sooner, Divinity 2 would have rated much higher overall. If being a dragon isn't your main reason for playing, you'll enjoy Divinity II. If, however, you're looking for an RPG/Flight Sim, you'll have to keep looking. Divinity II isn't it.

    For more info, see Larian's official website.