Today, we had a chance to take a quick look at the Xbox 360 version of Divinity 2: Ego Draconis , which is also headed to the PC. Many of you--tens of you, in fact--may remember the game's predecessor, the original Divine Divinity and its follow-up, Beyond Divinity, each of which could best be described as a combination of the isometric hacking and slashing of Diablo II with some of the branching story elements of the Baldur's Gate series.
Divinity 2 takes place, surprisingly enough, after the events of the previous games, which include the defeat of Damian, the incarnation of evil. As it happens, Damian returns for, as our European counterparts might put it, "another go" in the new game and eventually becomes the great enemy of the land you must vanquish. However, your character has his-or-her own problems at the outset of the game, since you start off knowing nothing of Damian or even of the previous two games in the series, and is instead a wet-behind-the-ears adventurer who's trying to earn his-or-her merit badge in dragonslaying. From what we can tell, becoming a dragonslayer isn't an easy job, since you not only have to find and kill one of these majestic beasts, but you must also find a dishonest and evil dragon who is disturbing the otherwise diplomatic relations between humans and dragonkind.
To do this, you will go on adventures through a huge, continuous overworld with no loading time breaks (though there will be load times to enter dungeons), in search of monsters to slay and quests to perform in order to gain precious experience points that will advance you along the game's branching skill trees that, like in Divine Divinity, are separated among different professions. Like in the previous games, you can choose to specialize your character in a specific profession, such as a warrior, a mage, or a ranger, and seek out "mentor" characters to train you along these lines. It seems that you can also take a more freeform approach the game and simply pick up whichever skills you care to, and regardless of whether you decide to become the world's wimpiest wizard with the world's floppiest robes, you'll always be able to swing a sword using the game's simple, real-time "press-buttons-to-perform-attack-combos" control scheme.
Quests will come from all sides, including from towns, which will act as quest hubs that may unlock other quests; we visited a town from the earlier parts of the game where the local tavern has come under siege from a group of rowdy, drunken soldiers. Pacifying them will win you the approval of the townspeople at the bar (and who knows, maybe a barmaid or two), who will then offer you additional quests. In the meantime, you'll also be able to acquire a "battle tower," essentially, your own player housing, which takes the form of a huge, multilevel tower that acts as a storage room for your trophies of war, crafting stations for any alchemy ingredients you've captured, and even an experimental breeding ground to play God with your companion critter. Over the course of the game, you'll be joined by a monster who can be tinkered with by your tower's friendly necromancer to swap out the body parts of powerful ogres and wily goblins (and presumably, wily ogres and powerful goblins). However, most players will probably be more attracted to how you will also eventually gain the power to assume the form of a dragon yourself, and engage in 3D flight (and 3D combat with wyverns and other flying beasties), as yes, as a dragon, you'll be able to gain dragon-ly experience points and pick up new items (such as dragon armor) and learn new skills (such as dragon skills). The version of the game we saw was extremely early, though we're told that although the PC version of the game is further in development than the Xbox 360 version of the game, both games will be brought in line with each other and should be ready for a simultaneous release this June.