Divinity II Updated Impressions
Sharpen your claws and prepare for another look at Larian Studios' dragon-centric fantasy adventure game.
Your goal in Divinity II is nothing less than to become a dragon. Well, technically, that would be a dragon knight, a warrior who has the ability to shape-shift into dragon form in the upcoming Divinity II: Ego Draconis for the PC and Xbox 360. Along with those lofty goals, you have the consequences of your actions to consider as you make your way through an action role-playing game where every choice you make looks to have reverberations throughout the rest of the story. The game is due for release in January, and representatives from publisher CDV and developer Larian Studios recently dropped by GameSpot HQ to catch us up on what's new.
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As you make your way through Divinity II's swords and sorcery storyline, you'll gain a host of powers for your hero--not the least of which is being able to take dragon form, fly through the air, and breathe fire. Another, slightly more subtle power available to you in human form is the ability to read minds, which, at least based on the demo we saw of the game, looks to be an effective tool in getting what you want in the game. Reading minds doesn't come for free--in fact, you'll spend experience points you gain in battle in order to read a non-player character's thoughts, and some people will be more expensive to read than others.
That said, reading minds can be an effective tool, and a time-saver to boot. Consider one quest we saw in the demo--where the hero of the game was charged by another character to interrogate a prisoner about the whereabouts of a local bandit camp. Your commanding officer wants to know where the camp is so he can overrun it--and there are a couple of different ways to get this done. The long way involves heading to the prisoner's cell and striking up a conversation, gaining his trust, and eventually getting the information you need. The quick way, of course, is to read his mind, learn the location of the bandit camp and the password for entry, and then report back to your commanding officer.
It's up to you how you get this information, and it's up to you what you do with the information once you have it. One player might immediately take the location and password to the lieutenant, and another might keep it to himself and explore the bandit camp alone. Either decision has ramifications in the story: If you tell the lieutenant, you'll join in the invasion of the camp and bring the bandits to justice. If you keep the information from your lieutenant, you can check out the camp for yourself, which will open up an entire new set of available quests.
The demo we saw of Divinity II skipped to different points across the game and featured both the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game. The console demo we saw featured snippets of a battle against a necromancer--defeating him seems to be the final step in attaining the ability to assume dragon form and thus transform your character into a full-fledged dragon knight. Once you've beaten him, you'll earn your dragon form and be taken through a tutorial of sorts that will get you acclimated to soaring through the skies and battling it out. In the tutorial, you'll need to take out several anti-dragon defense towers by dipping in between their firing lines and blasting them with your fiery breath. Controls look to be a breeze: You move with the left stick, attack with the right trigger, and perform useful dash moves with the left trigger.
One look at Divinity II's sprawling world map and it's easy to see that the game is a big one--with plenty of places to explore and quests to engage in. With that said, the developers seem to have taken that size into effect and made movement fairly easy. You can, of course, fly wherever you like once you've attained dragon form. There's also a series of teleporting hubs you can use to instantly move from one area to the next. There's also your battle tower, which is your character's home base and which you can transport to and from more or less instantaneously.
Divinity II's focus on world-building and a narrative that puts importance on the consequences of players' actions look to make it a natural fit for fantasy fans who don't currently get enough dragon in their gaming diet. It's due for release on January 5, 2010, on the Xbox 360 and PC.
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