Two Flies with One Stone
Divinity II: Ego Draconis was released about a year ago and received very mixed reviews. Scoring everywhere between 4.8 to 8.4, game critics could not seem to agree on the plot being weak or entertaining, the missions unintelligent or diverse, or the characters colorful or shallow. The expansion, Divinity II: Flames of Vengeance, was released recently and along with it, a version containing both games, named: Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga.
Games with excellent graphics are a dime a dozen these days. Unfortunately, games with good stories are not. They are, in fact, quite a rarity. The only genre that appears to still focus on quality writing is the role-playing genre. Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga is a game with an engaging plot, colorful characters, an abundance of humor and diverse quests. Its focus on writing does, however, appear to have come down on other areas, such as voice acting, animation and graphical polish.
The opening cut scene displays a bald, evil-looking man on top of his flying fortress, which is essentially a flying cliff with a castle on top of it. He menacingly looks down at an amulet he has around his neck and then struts away. It did not make much sense to me either, but rest assured, all will be explained later on in the game. From the opening menu, you will be able to choose which story you want to play through; Ego Draconis or Flames of Vengeance. Ego Draconis is the natural first choice as it starts you off with a first level character and allows you to develop it as you play through the story. Flames of Vengeance, on the other hand, throws you straight into the battle torn city of Aleroth with a level 35 character and expects you to know what to do with it.
Dragon Hunter on the Prowl
Compared to modern role-playing games such as Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Dragon Age: Origins, Divinity II offers very little when it comes to character customization. You can only choose your character’s gender, face, hair and voice. The hair and face options are limited to a few preset styles and the 4 different voices you can choose from are of little consequence, as you will not hear your character speak unless you are gravely wounded or you pick up something shiny.
I made myself a sexy seductress with long legs, a luscious booty and a waist that hardly appeared to be roomy enough for a spinal column. I named her Twainia because, for some odd reason, I was thinking about Mark Twain during the creation process. Armed with my new character, I set out into the world of Rivellon only to be disappointed by the first character I encountered. You will soon notice that the scenery in Divinity II is very lively, filled with vivid colors and a beautifully scenic landscape, which is not hard to accomplish when working with the Gamebryo engine. Some textures in the scenery look repetitive though, which severely reduces the level of immersion. The weapons and armor you will find are well designed and look polished, but the characters themselves, especially their skin, mouth and hair look incomplete. It is almost as if the art team ran out of time before they got to the facial texturing. When characters speak, you will be able to see inside their mouths, and you might be surprised to find that the walls of their mouths are of a weird pinkish or beige color.
The first character you will meet is Commander Rhode who is your superior officer in the little band of dragon hunters you so eagerly want to be a part of. The voice actress who read the lines for Commander Rhode sounds very unenthusiastic. She reminded me of a college student with a massive hangover, trying to read her report on the mating habits of fire ants without falling asleep. It is hard to say whether this is the rule or the exception regarding the voice acting in this game, because some characters sound absolutely superb, but you will meet more then a few Commander Rhodes along the way. After my frightfully bland conversation with Commander Rhode, I ran into town where I received my Dragon Slayer status, the power to see ghosts and read minds and my class set.
A funny, entertaining, colourful and diverse game world.
Inconsistent voice acting and questionable design choices.