It’s really sad when a game with the potential to be great, falls short because of poor game design choices.
That’s exactly what you get with Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga. Here’s a game that starts off with all the charm and promise in the world and then spirals into a vortex of increasingly frustrating combat and tedious fetch quests. I want you to known that I purposely did not finish the downloadable content (DLC) add-on, Flames of Vengeance. I did fully completely the main game known as Ego Draconis. I tapped out with Flames of Vengeance because it was nothing more than a fetch quest simulator with an epic dragon battle tacked on to the end. I just don’t have the time or patience in my life to force myself through crap that isn’t fun. And that’s exactly what I hope to inspire you to avoid with this review.
Let’s take a look at what different types of gamers may take away from Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga.
The Dragon Knight Saga (DKS) is an RPG, so it’s no surprise that the bookworm gamer category would be appropriate for this review. This being a western-made RPG, you’d think the developers would focus very heavily on exploration, combat and character stat progression while neglecting the story. But, surprisingly, the story in Divinity 2 is mostly well-written, well-acted and well-presented (at least for the Ego Draconis portion of the game). The story is mostly well-handled in the Flames of Vengeance DLC as well. However, it’s viciously overshadowed by the horrendous gameplay and quest structure.
To summarize the plot, you start off as a fledgling dragon slayer setting out to rid the world of these evil abominations. A huge twist of fate is thrown at you early in the game to set the stage for the path you’ll follow to the end. It’s a cleverly weaved tale of betrayal with one heck of a surprising ending (again, just in the Ego Draconis chapter) Suffice it to say, this is one of the better stories I’ve encountered in a western RPG (but is that really saying much?).
DKS is not a completely open-world RPG. Don’t think Skyrim here. Think more about large self-contained maps that allow a decent amount of exploration. In the early stages of play, DKS does a great job of rewarding exploration with hidden treasure and enemies to encounter to help level your character. Unfortunately, you’ll feel the game slowly clamping down on your freedom as you progress through the chapters. Eventually – should you choose to ignore my advice to avoid Flames of Vengeance – the exploration will narrow to the small corridors of a boring town where all you have to do is run errands for people who are too lazy to do things for themselves. Also, thanks to a horrible quest management log and map system, be prepared to spend a few hours during your playthrough lost as you try to figure out what you are supposed to be doing or where it’s supposed to be happening.
Ground combat in DKS is fast-paced and straight forward. It doesn’t deserve any great accolades as it really never gets past the point of just being functional enough to not suck. You’ll also find it quite frustrating later in the game when almost every enemy you encounter has an infinite healing spam ability mixed with the ability to render you immobile. I can’t count how many fights had me screaming at the screen because it took me five or more minutes to whittle down a run-of-the-mill enemy’s HP to zero. Especially because he could heal faster than I could shoot. I personally believe part of the problem was that I chose to be a ranger and thus never did major damage with normal attacks.
On the flip side, DKS also has a unique aerial combat system. In this system you take dragon form and fight other dragons and a variety of structures ranging from ballistas to magic shooting towers. Dragon combat can be fun, but the flare wears off after one or two battles as you realize all aerial combat situations are a rinse and repeat scenario of the first major aerial combat sequence.
You guys know by now that I’m a huge builder when it comes to RPGs. Building characters is by far my favorite thing to do in these types of games. If you’re like me, prepare to be disappointed with DKS. DKS gives you a finite number of monsters to fight and quests that are often easy to fail. This is a big deal because you will need every single drop of XP you can find in order to level properly to beat the final boss in the Ego Draconis chapter.
The difficulty in DKS relies entirely on handicapping the player by limiting the amount of XP you can find. Also, if you are not extremely focused with your stat points and your skill points, you will most certainly find yourself unable to win battles at the end of the game. There is a trainer in the game who can re-spec you, but it’s annoying to play a game in this genre that stifles the fun that comes from giving the player freedom to build a character to their liking.
Audiophiles and Visualists
The soundtrack is gorgeous. The visuals? Horrible.
If you are really itching to play a western RPG and there’s just nothing else out there that you haven’t played, then I can cautiously recommend Divinity 2: Ego Draconis to you. Think of Divinity 2 like that movie that you want to see, but are totally cool with waiting a year for it to come on a basic cable channel on a Sunday when you have absolutely nothing better to do. Avoid The Dragon Knight Saga or purchasing the Flames of Vengeance DLC at all costs.
Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga – 360 Edition Review
It's really sad when a game with the potential to be great, falls short because of poor game design choices.What Our Ratings Mean