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Divinity II: Ego Draconis review

Kat Orphanides
1 Mar 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
25
inc VAT

A richly detailed fantasy world and dynamic combat make this a must-have for serious RPG fans. Plus, you get to be a dragon.

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Specifications

Divinity II takes place year after the events of the first game, Divine Divinity, and is set in the world of Rivellon, where dragons have been hunted to near-extinction in revenge for killing The Divine, a warrior who stood against the forces of darkness. In it, you play as a newly-recruited dragon slayer, whose initiation is cut short as you're sent out with your order in pursuit of the last dragon.

After that exciting introduction, the game has a rather slow pace. In fact, you're actually banned from joining your fellow slayers from hunting down the last dragon. Instead, you get time to explorer the world in interact with non-player characters (NPCs). From here you get simple quests to perform, such as retrieving items, helping you learn the game's mechanics and earn vital experience points.

The key thing about NPCs in Divinity II is that they're not just there as handy plot devices to give you new quests, but they lead their own lives, in which you can meddle endlessly. Doing so is a handy way to net experience points early in the game. You get the same amount of experience for a cruel choice as for a kind one and it's not always obvious which is which. This adds a level of depth to the game, which brings Rivellon to life.

As you ease into the game the main plot kicks off, as you finally catch up with your fellow slayers, and meet the final dragon as she lies dying. With her last breath, she leaves you with the fate of the world in your hands, along with information on how you can become a dragon yourself.

From here on you follow the threads of the main plot, completing essential missions as you go. Fortunately, it's not a linear game and it's not just about killing endlessly respawning monsters to gain experience and increase your stats to god-like levels. Instead, you get to explore an expansive world, meeting NPCs as you go and performing side missions as you see fit.

The freedom of the game comes from the Gamebryo engine as used by Oblivion and Fallout 3. There are stunning natural landscapes to explore, although characters look a little wooden. This is more than made up for by well-written dialogue and excellent voice acting.

Divinity II uses a third-person viewpoint, and combat is immense fun with plenty of jumping, hacking and slashing. Unlike most RPGs, Divinity II doesn't have a strict class-based progression system, so you can combine melee prowess with tactical nuclear spellcasting: your character is yours to develop the way you want it to.

There are some brilliant touches along the way, including creating your own undead pet from dismembered corpses, reading the minds of NPCs and, most importantly, transforming into a fire-breathing dragon. Flight and combat in dragon form are basic but exhilarating.

Divinity II weaves the usual RPG clichés into a genuinely compelling story. With clever plot twists, a witty script and engaging gameplay, this is far more than just another fantasy romp.

Details

Price£25
Detailswww.divinity2.com
Rating*****

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