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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
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Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Divinity 2 - Ego Draconis Review

KevinS By:
KevinS
02/09/10
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE RPG 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER dtp 
DEVELOPER Larian studios 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
RP What do these ratings mean?

A swelled head.


Here's a sign that a game is trying to push just a little too hard: The instruction manuals is over 60 pages long. That's right, sixty pages for one game (and yes, it was all in English, with no other languages present). Maybe it goes along with that “ego” part of the title, I dunno, but that's my guess as the manual doesn't tell you much you couldn't already figure out. If it was filled with character bios, backstory, a real overview of the world, even a comic book kind of dealie, that would be one thing, but that is only four of the sixty pages that weigh down the packaging. I guess in the original PC version it would make sense - hotkeys and keyboard strokes and all that - but on a pad it's just plain unnecessary.

click to enlargeAnd I've got a thing for thick manuals. *shrug*

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis is one of them explorin' games, where you're raised and trained to be a Dragon Slayer (for the uninitiated, that means “d00d who slays dragons"), out to stop the dragons and the Dragon Knights from coming back to prominence when, all of a sudden, you find yourself as one of them! And with that, as a Dragon Knight, you're the dragon. Pretty cool, huh? Fly around as a fire-breather from legends of yore? And you can customize your character to your specifications?

Well, even with that as a set-up, the way it all goes down is just a flicker to the flame, if you will. The game encourages you to look around all over, talk to and check everything, but the problem is that there just isn't enough that's very interesting to keep you looking around. The map is massive, and being almost completely open, it leaves a lot of exploring to be done. But with that kind of space comes a problem with finding things to do with it. A lot of areas are filled with baddies which is nice, but when you really need to grind and reach that next level, it's disappointing when it feels like there aren't enough enemies to gain the experience and they're either too tough or just taking up space.

click to enlargeThe camera is abysmal at times when you're moving about, which makes some fights much more difficult than they already need to be. As for how it looks when the camera isn't twitching like a kid on a sugar high, it reminds me of a PC game from a  few years back... which isn't too far from reality. This originally came out for PC, then was ported to Microsoft's little money-maker, and I'd bet that's where a number of the problems come from. Nothing here is ugly necessarily, but all of it does feel dated and out of place. Combine the older look with a lot of noticeable glitches - the camera bouncing around in a very distracting manner in close-quarters, flickers with a character's face and hair, jerky frame-rate with a handful of characters moving on screen at any given time, slowdown due to constant loading - and it just feels like a rushed port more than a new 360 game.

If you learn nothing else from this review, learn this: You will die in this game. A lot. To put it in perspective, I believe I died roughly six times on my first major battle of the storyline... and it wasn't because I entirely suck at playing these types of RPGs. It was because I was rushed like a Beatle/Hanson/Jonas Brother waltzing unprotected through a mall. Even on the easy difficulty setting, you'll still find yourself shot down, beat up, and burning alive by somebody you not only saw coming, but was unable to stop from coming.

click to enlargeAnd the controls... they're workable, but not intuitive by default for players used to other action titles for the system. Fortunately, every face button (and the D-pad) can be quick-mapped to your liking. Thankful as I am for that, most attacks can take upwards of a second to actually execute, which can really cut into you against more than one opponent. As soon as one baddy so much as flinches, everyone in the vicinity is on you like stink on poo. Sometimes it's not even clear which attacker you're targeting, or which are hitting you, only that stuff is flying everywhere (in multiple colors). Imagine a rainbow on fire, and you've got a quick mental pic.

Because of the amount of weaponry with various percentages and random stats attached, the sheer starting difficulty, and learning curve involved in playing this game, Divinity 2: Ego Draconis is not something that will introduce anyone to the genre in a positive way. It's slow to get moving, it's nothing like what a console gamer is expecting in an action game or a “normal” RPG, and with the noticeable graphical problems it feels half-way done. It's a real shame, because it's a fun twist on the “hero vs. dragon” story with some neat ideas that just don't make it to fruition. It could have been more, but there's still a nibble of enjoyment to be had here. But seriously, there's nothing here to have an ego about.
C- Revolution report card
  • Neato ideas with dragons
  • Sometimes it's very pretty
  • ...but it's mostly freakin' out
  • Steep difficulty/learning curve
  • Lots of empty space
  • Not a good intro for beginners

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