It's got its heart in the right place, but it leaves something to be desired...

User Rating: 7.5 | Divinity II: Ego Draconis PC
Larian Studios seems to have taken a hint or two from the Malazan Book of the Fallen fantasy series by Steven Erikson, which has prominent 'soletaken' characters that can shapeshift into a dragon. About half way through the game (numerous premature load-screen hints falsely suggest you get the ability much earlier) you get to do this too! It is only then that the game really becomes fun. One reason for this is that the difficulty and pacing of the game are horrible. This in turn is caused by the strict separation in levels: creatures 2 or more levels above you are as good as impossible to kill, and creatures 2 or more levels below you have no chance against you. Early on you will be almost pulling your hairs out because you're constantly running into things that will effortlessly murder you, while the second half of the game contains stretches where you'll clear areas almost without getting hurt. There's a whole laundry list of other, smaller issues such as getting stuck on objects all the time and summons that won't move out of your way. You'll have to figure out for yourself that you don't have to individually aim for and open barrels, crates etc., but can just smash them to pieces, except there always seem to be one or two just out of sword-reach.

Early on you'll get the distinct feeling you're playing a horribly mediocre game: the combat sound effects are not good and just fail to convey a sense of violence, you'll find a book about a fellow named "Robin Wood" and decide the game would have been better without it, you'll note the same model of male/female
is used over and over, etc. If you stick with it though, the story will eventually start to shine, you'll start to appreciate the level design, the voice acting and the (simple) fun of flying and fighting as a dragon, which reminded me of old, top-down space shooters somehow.

Divinity II could have been a much better game than it is. It seems many of its issues could have been resolved with a little more testing and tweaking. Ego Draconis is clearly inspired by games such as Morrowind and Gothic and it takes many good ideas from those games, but it is also clear that it never quite reaches their level of excellence.



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