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Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Tennmuerti: Well, when you put it that way... yeah. There isn't anything spectacular about this game, but maybe it's just that I need to play something, anything, with a hint of RPG-ness. The only Infinity Engine RPG I have left is Icewind Dale II (which I got into an unwinnable situation with my level adjustment filled party and don't really feel like starting over... yet), and that Fallout 2 playthrough may or may not ever happen. Ehhh, for now I think I'll stick to playing Master Quest, if only because that game's enjoyment/effort ratio is so much more balanced. And hey, the Heroes VI beta starts again today! Fun for everyone!
Edited by Tennmuerti

Divinity 2 felt more like eating at McDonalds for me then simple comfort food.

It's leveling system is generic. Story is generic, like you said, with an almost intolerable number of cliches.

Gear and character progression is just on the other side of questionably balanced (for me) with a shitty start not due to mechanics complexity but just due to the fact that your stats suck, however after level 10-15 I was pretty much destroying everything with a click of a button untill the end of the game, making combat boring.

The games greatest sin however in my eyes is making something as awesome sounding as allowing you to turn into a dragon into a completely shitty and bland experience. The dragon design is weak for one. I mean jeez with the amount of dragons that have been done over the years you'd think that the game that focuses so much on the dragons they would have actually made good looking dragons. Secondly your skill/gear choices are extremely limited in dragon form, dooming your combat action to extreme repetition. All air missions are also pretty much the same with nothing really to break the monotony. And of couse piece de resistance: you cannot interact with any ground enemies while you are a dragon and visa versa.

I was initially going to put it into the category of decent but ultimately forgetable rpgs. But the dragon gimic soured me enough on the whole experience that I actually kind of actively dislike the game now.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

@Luck3ySe7en: Hmmm. I don't know. If I see it at a steep, steep discount, I might give it a look. His comparison to Terry Goodkind still makes me want to walk a country mile around it, though.

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Posted by Claude

You must be trippin' hard thinking about college and how your habits will change. Your future thoughts will be interesting.

Edited by Luck3ySe7en

@Sparky_Buzzsaw: If you're into RPG's similar to Dragon Age and Fable-like humor then Divinity II definitely deserves its chance. It has its flaws like ArbitraryWater pointed out but overall its experience is rewarding. For me personally, I would go as far to say that I'm enjoying Divinity a bit more than my DA:Origins playthrough.

Edit: I almost forgot, if you've got a PC, check out the demo on Steam. It'll let you play the first 40-60 minutes or so of the game.

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Sparky_Buzzsaw: It's a half-decent action RPG, but the story is... lacking. I mean, the Sword of Truth comparison was that they're both horribly generic clichefests, but whereas I literally wanted to stop reading Wizard's First Rule around 150 pages in I'm still totally ok with playing more of this game because the actual game part isn't half bad. However, I guess if I was giving recommendations, I'd probably say that Two Worlds II seems like the more interesting euro-developed open world action RPG, although the story i've seen in that game is even worse than in this one. 
 
@Hailinel: Thanks for the reassurance. Yeah, I'll have a DS and I'll have a laptop with access to more digitally distributed games than I will ever need. However, I am going to have to attempt some modicum of self-control, if only to reassure my parents that I am capable of it.
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Thank you. I was on the fence about purchasing this, but your comparison to Goodkind's Sword of Truth puts the Sparky Seal of Disapproval on this game for all time.

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Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@ArbitraryWater: Sneak that shit in, then! Or bring your N64 or PS2 or whatever old-ass system you have. Maybe it's just that I only sleep once a month, but it's very possible to juggle video games with things that aren't video games.

What ArbitraryWater faces isn't unusual. About the only thing I could bring along that was game related when I started college was my Game Boy Color (man, I am dating myself) and a new college PC, for which the only game I owned was the PC edition of Final Fantasy VII. But I never had a shortage of games to play because dormmates had their own games, and it was pretty common for people to bring in consoles to the anime club office. That being said, I was eventually given a TV of my own, and I played the shit out of a lot of games in my junior and senior years.

Also, my junior and senior years were wracked with a lot of nights where I was stupid and didn't go to bed until two in the morning when I had to be up for class at nine. I'm amazed I still passed all of my classes those years with good grades given that I once woke up at the exact time that one of my midterms started. I have never run so fast before or since in my entire life and I hope that's something I never have to repeat.

There is plenty of time for video games in college. They just need to be taken in moderation like everything else.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@ArbitraryWater
 
Sneak that shit in, then! Or bring your N64 or PS2 or whatever old-ass system you have. Maybe it's just that I only sleep once a month, but it's very possible to juggle video games with things that aren't video games.
Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Video_Game_King: It's more of a "My parents don't want me bringing my Xbox with me the first semester so I can stay focused and not get horribly distracted by video games and therefore ruin my education". Of course, I'm planning on getting a laptop with a half-decent graphics card, so if anything my potential to play the other half of my steam library will likely increase. That, and statistically at least one person in my dorm will bring something video game related, right?
Posted by Video_Game_King

Wait, no video games in college!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOUR EARTH CUSTOMS!?

Edited by ArbitraryWater

 Here be lengthy impressions of dragons
That's right! I do play games that have actually came out this year on disks! Ok, to be fair, this game's original version, Divinity II: Ego Draconis came out in late 2009/early 2010 to generally middling reception. But technicalities smecnicalities! Not since Alpha Protocol have I really wrote a blog that is singularly about a game that is actually modern in most contexts. However, since I'm going off to college fairly soon and am not entirely sure if I will finish this game by then (not being allowed to bring my xbox with me, which is probably a good thing for my prospective study habits. Ah well. That's what computers are for, right?) I figured I might as well write my impressions so far, from the dozen or so hours that I have messed with The Dragon Knight Saga so far. 

 
For those out of the know, Divinity II is the third game in the series, being a sequel to 2004's Beyond Divinity, but that game apparently sucked, so that title is ignored as far as numbering is concerned, making it a sequel to 2002's Divine Divinity. Now, while I never finished Divine Divinity, my general impression of it was that it was a fairly breezy open world type Diablo clone with a good soundtrack and an occasionally infuriating difficulty level. In contrast, Divinity II: The Dragon Knight saga is a fairly breezy not-especially-open-world type action RPG with an alright soundtrack and an occasionally infuriating difficulty level. It's an interesting game, not only because Belgium-based Larian Studios is clearly trying to make an "epic" story-focused RPG like the days of yore, but also because it's pretty indicative of where the genre is right now once you get outside the human-friendly Bioware and Bethesda bubble.  That is to say, quite frankly, that Divinity II is a game meant for a certain group of people. I'm not entirely sure who that group is comprised of, nor am I entirely sure if I'm part of that group, for as much hulabaloo as I talk in regards to older CRPGs, mostly because I'm still at the point where I can't decide if I enjoy it genuinely or ironically. It's a game with a laundry list of problems and quirks, a story that is clearly going for the gravitas despite being the true definition of cliched, and your usual flock of miscellaneous interface and control issues found in these sorts of games. It's also kind of fun and cost me less than $30 (as opposed to the $30 I just spent on the Master Quest bonus disk, blog coming soon?) for what that's worth. From what I've played so far, I can tell you that that is probably an acceptable price, mostly due to the fact that my expectations weren't especially high to begin with.
 

 The writing and dialog is less than good, but more than awful

As far as story is concerned, Divinity II dumps your character as a new dragon slayer recruit in the generic fantasy world of Rivellion. Needless to say, after an initial opening segment, you ironically become the thing you're fighting while also becoming the salvation of mankind against the threat of some dude who I imagine is meant to be menacing, but is kind of just comical with how over the top evil pathos he is. Details in this case are rather pointless, and somewhat tiring since the story itself seems to be on its way to a conclusion I can already parse out. The writing is simialrly... fantasy-esque, as if drawn from the same blandly generic pool that makes up the entireity of what I could stomach of The Sword of Truth series of novels (though, by comparison to those, Divinity II is an artful masterpiece of writing artistry). It also makes the mistake of attempting to be funny on occasion, especially in regards to some of the responses your character can give. I dunno. Maybe a dude who's soul-bound to a chicken is hilarious if you're French. To be a little more clear on this: I don't find any of this game's writing or story offensively bad or anything. Inoffensively bland is probably a pretty good descriptor, in that it's at least competent enough to make me understand where they're coming from, even if none of it is especially compelling.  
 

The combat is actually pretty fun. In other news, I paid money for a harder version of a game I already own.

Being that this is also a RPG, there are quests to solve. Generally speaking, there will be dialog to navigate, minds to read (which I imagine to be this game's persuasion type mechanic. Actually, all you do is press x, give up some experience and gain knowledge of some extra goodie with very little drawback, since that XP can be easily replaced by killing things) and dudes to kill. As far as the dude killing is concerned, just rushing up to someone and mashing the attack button seems like a good way to die. Thus, what I've ended up doing usually involves long range spell spam, maybe a buff or two, then rushing up to someone and mashing the attack button.  For as generally janky as the combat in Divinity II feels, it's the good sort of janky because at least you know there is some element of skill in addition to the dice rolls. And of course, after beating dudes you get experience and level up. The RPG elements in Divinity II feel a little flat to me, despite being as in-depth as you could reasonably expect from such a game. I'm cool with the generally open nature of the stat and skill systems, but I guess my main problem with all of the skills is that any or all improvements to them are shown in percentages and numerals, rather than effects or general coolness. That also is probably because there isn't any sort of truly "cool" ability to be found in the game. The active skills in The Dragon Knight Saga all feel ripped from the low-level skill trees of any given MMO class. There is no "ultimate" high level skill to pursue. Instead, you can make your other skills 5% more effective...? And, as the game's title suggests, you can also be a dragon, which is sadly a little more "meh" than it should be. I've just gotten to that part though, so maybe dragons are secretly awesome. 
 
But whatever. I've already written too much, and while I doubt this will be especially highly commented on, I'd at least like to tell you that this game is almost RPG comfort food for me. It's maybe not the most well-made thing in the world, but it's filling all the same. There's a whole battle tower of servants I can go a-questing for, and despite being a bit of a negative nancy, I can't really complain because I'm still enjoying it. I'm going to play more Divinity II, not just because there's not a chance in hell that I will salvage that Fallout 2 playthrough, although there is far more of a chance of me salvaging that Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne playthough if this doesn't work out. Either way, it's something I figured I should waste your time writing about. As an adieu, here's a random clip of music from a random game that will probably never show up on this blog series unless I get really desperate.  Why was I listening to the X-COM Apocalypse soundtrack? Hell if I know.