Drakensang: The River of Time is an action-RPG game using the core game mechanics of the pen-and-paper system, "The Dark Eye". It features real-time tactical combat with a party of four characters and the ability to pause at any time. The story takes place in The Dark Eye world 23 years before Drakensang: The Dark Eye.
Drakensang uses the Nebula 2 game engine with source code available on Sourceforge. However the Maya plugin to modify character models and other 3D meshes is a commerical product. Game data and game save data is stored in SQLite databases and can be modified.
The game is played exclusively from a free 3rd person camera with full zoom and direction controls. The focus can be shifted to any of the four main party members using F1-F4, clicking on the character model, or clicking on their portrait. The game progresses through a main quest line and story but also provides many opportunities for side quests throughout the game. The player can have conversations with fully voiced main characters in the story, buy and sell at shops, craft items at workbenches, and of course explore various dungeons, wilderness areas, crypts, and caves as they work through open quests.
Combat is similar to games such as Baldur's Gate or Dragon Age: Origins. Each character has access to various skills and spells placed on an action bar. Each action or spell has a set duration to activate. Multiple actions can be assigned to each character to execute consecutively. The action can be paused at any time with the spacebar while still allowing action assignments and changing the view to different characters to get a feel of the battlefield.
Stats, Gear, and Treasure
Although The Dark Eye game system may be unfamiliar to most it operates in much the same way as other RPG systems. Treasure can be found on enemy corpses (loot!) or stowed away in a pirate's treasure chest. Treasure consists rare coins or other mundane trinkets to sell to vendors, magic items, potions, and crafting materials. Creatures can also be skinned for valuable crafting materials. In the various wilderness areas there are plants to harvest for alchemy crafting.
The player earns new gear by completing quests and by finding treasure. There is plenty of character stat boosting gear that can be found or bought from vendors as well.
As with any good RPG The Dark Eye system makes heavy use of character statistics. Although the names are unfamiliar they serve much the same purpose. There are 8 attribute values that define the base parameters for the character. In addition there are Base Values which describe in more useful detail what the character is capable of. Base Values consist things like ethereal energy (mana), vitality (hit points), melee attack rating, parry rating, and others. The character class and race have an effect on Base Values and Attributes as well as granting specific abilities and bonuses. There are 8 armor class locations that correspond to specific body parts each covered by a different type of armor item. There are 2 ring slots and 1 neck slot for magic items.
Leveling up allows the player to assign Leveling points to a vast and bewildering array of stats. Attributes and Base Values can be boosted directly with Leveling Points. However the most useful place to put them early is into combat weapon proficiencies and by using them to buy proficiencies in new combat skills or spells. In addition they can be placed in various non-combat skills such as Fast Talk, Haggle, Nature, Disarm Traps, Seduction (among others), or in 3 different crafting skills: bowyer, alchemy and blacksmithing.
There are a wide variety of combat skills and spells available from different trainers. Buying a proficiency in a spell allows you to add Leveling Points to it, increasing it's effectiveness. No additional points have to be added to combat skills once they are learned. However proficiency with a weapon type can be increased up to a cap determined by the character's class and level. As an extra level of complication and depth, the points can be split between Attack Rating and Parry Rating with that weapon. This allows the player to customize the play style by building, for instance, a defensive juggernaut with maximum parry rating with 1-handed swords and a shield, or an all-out damage configuration with maximum attack rating with 2-handed axes and hammers.
The spells that are available are varied and quite powerful. Some spells control areas of the battlefield knocking enemies down or stunning them. Others exert complete control over a single target turning them to stone for a set (long) period of time. Enemy debuff spells are massively powerful but always have fairly short durations to balance them out. The direct damaging spells are also effective doing about the same damage/energy as a combat skill does in terms of damage/stamina. Finally there are a selection of "pet" summoning spells that call on some fun and very effective AI-controlled units to add to your party for a limited time.
Setting, Characters, and Story
The game takes place in the South of Aventuria in a realm called Ferdok, in the Middenrealm, on the Great River. The center of the story is a town called Nadoret. The player has their own river ship that they use to travel up and down the Great River visiting locations of interest and doing quests.
After creating a new character the player meets up with 3 of the other main characters while traveling to Nadoret for their apprentice training. Which training quest they complete depends on the class that was chosen.
Side quests take place in and around Nadoret but the main quest quickly opens new areas on the Great River to explore. As the story develops what starts out as a simple request for help turns into epic battles atop castle battlements with giant animated statues. Political intrigue, River Pirates, murderous dwarves crazy with ore-lust, mercenaries on the march, and of course evil wizards. All that one could ask for in an RPG story and more is delivered.
- OS: XP / Vista / 7
- Processor: 2.8 GHz or faster
- Memory: 1 GB RAM ( 2 GB RAM for Windows Vista / 7)
- Graphics: 256 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible
- DirectX®: 9.0
- Hard Drive: 5.5 GB
- Sound: DirectX 9.0 compatible sound card