Divinity II: Ego Draconis
If there's one area where Divinity 2 truly succeeds, it's in your ability to transform into a dragon
- Huge and varied skill tree that encourages mixing and matching, interesting and often humorous quests, you get to be a dragon!
- Weightless combat, stiff character animations, user-unfriendly maps make sidequests a pain.
An ambitious and attractive fantasy-themed dungeon crawler, lacklustre combat and a boring narrative hold the latest installation in the Divinity series back from RPG greatness.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Divinity 2: Ego Draconis is a game full of great ideas that are nearly undone by depressingly poor execution. For instance, the game's plot is full of interesting wrinkles, but I honestly never found myself caring. At Divinity 2's outset, you're a dragon slayer, but before long, you slip into the scaly skin of a dragon knight -- that is, the very thing you allegedly trained to kill for your entire life. This basically means that everything you know is a lie. That's kind of a big deal but the game haphazardly stumbles into this plot point with very little setup, leaving you confused and underwhelmed. Much of Divinity 2s story unfolds in a similar manner: It starts with a bang and ends with a clunk.
The game's stiff, over-exaggerated character animations don't help, either. Instead of conveying the broad range of human emotions one might associate with morally gray world-saving, characters appear to be practising for their final exams at mime college. And if your story's trying to go toe-to-toe with cinematic epics like Mass Effect and Dragon Age (and I assume it is, since it uses the same conversation system), a lackluster effort just won't cut it.
Divinity 2's hack 'n' slash combat starts with a similarly promising sprint, but quickly falls behind the rest of the pack. The game's immense skill tree doesn't pigeon-hole you into a single class, instead allowing you to mix-and-match until your heart's content. For example, I whipped up a warrior that had his summons provide support while he fought on the front lines. But the actual combat itself feels weightless and lacks visceral appeal. Translation: it's boring. Quests, too, suffer from "nearly great" syndrome, providing a hundreds of (often humorously) entertaining reasons for your dungeon-spelunking, but it taxes your patience with a map system that fails to mark sidequests and a similarly vague logbook. In fact, the interface as a whole is clunky and inconvenient, and while the PC version of Divinity 2 improves on this somewhat, it's still barely passable. Beyond that, the two versions are nearly identical.
If there's one area where Divinity 2 truly succeeds, it's in your ability to transform into a dragon. The ability opens up later in the game, and when it does, it's beautifully empowering, casting much of the game world in a new light. One second, you're a tiny, soft-skinned man, and the next, you're a flying, fire-breathing dragon. This is, perhaps, the closest you'll ever get to being Trogdor in a videogame. Unfortunately, that singular reward doesn't make up for Divinity 2's many faults. It promises you the world, but never delivers, which is a shame, because, with some polish and some elbow grease, it could've been a spectacular RPG on the order of a BioWare classic. As is, though, I simply cannot recommend it.
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