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Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga Review

In an era where it’s common for publishers to charge sixty dollars for a barebones, six-hour single player campaign, Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga seems like a outlandish outlier. By delivering two separate, protracted adventures, (along with a CD soundtrack and art book to reward early adopters) for a forty dollar MSRP, gamers could be forgiven for assuming the title is another of those middling German RPGs, along the lines of Risen, Venetica, Arcana: Gothic 4, and Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. In execution, the game comes closer to rivaling the ambitions of Bethesda’s beloved Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, delivering a largely gratifying, epic adventure which represents one of the greatest dollar-per-hour ratios in contemporary gaming.

Players who abstained from 2010’s Divinity II: Eco Dragonis will glean the most value from the title, as the fifty-hour adventure comprises the first half of the adventure. Yet, even players who devoted a workweek to the game may want to revisit Rivellon. From a new camera angle which dramatically improves the game’s framerate to tuning enemy placement, loot distribution, and difficulty spikes, nearly every quandary with the first game has been remedied. With a conscious effort toward flexibility, Divinity II shirks the traditional class system, allowing players to simultaneously pursue skills in five skill trees, and even ‘reroll’ their character. As such, the title’s accessibility welcomes repeat playthroughs. Despite my intention to focus on The Dragon Knight’s Saga new material, I found myself lured once more into Dragonis’ depths.   

For adventurers eager to head into the sequel, Flames of Vengeance allows players to jump right into the expansion from The Dragon Knight Saga‘s title screen. Players can either import their character from the first expedition, or alternatively craft a level 35 avatar equipped with ample skill points and enough gold to purchase a hearty loadout. Either way, Vengeance picks up immediately after the first game’s dangling conclusion, amplifying Dragonis‘ playful sense of humor. At least part of Divinity‘s charm is determining if your main character is an altruistic sap, passive-aggressive snob, or complete misanthrope through each game’s extensive and well-written dialog selections.

While the protagonist remains exasperatingly mute, his/her responses have a potent effect on the world. Infuriating a NPC may terminate entire branch of quests, while beguiling the local shopkeep can reward the player with a compassionate savings on sundries. Smartly, Divinity II abides by the principal of moral relativism- neither damning or elevating a character to instill some reductionist lesson. One notable perk- by sacrificing a variable amount of XP, players have the ability to read almost any NPC minds, which in invaluable when confronted with the occasional obtuse puzzle. Likewise, the game grant players with a refreshing measure of freedom, signaling an area’s outskirts with increasingly formidable monsters; venture too far off the game’s preferred pathway, and foes are happy to discourage your trespasses with lethal force.

Forgoing the often monotonous menu selection of some RPGs, the title requires players to continually evade enemy strikes, while managing the cool-down periods of their powers. Given the game’s pleasing selection of preliminary vocations- covering ranged, melee, magic and summon-oriented offenses, combat remains absorbing throughout Dragon Knight Saga‘s extended journey. With a myriad of aptitudes augmented by engaging buffs and debuffs, the title’s combat accommodates a wide variety of play styles.

Despite The Dragon Knight Saga‘s good graces, several niggling blemishes are bound to vex gamers. Extended load times divulge the title’s PC origins, pausing the proceeds as players jump to new section of the overworld. Unlike Eco Dragonis expansive realms, Vengeance confines players to a single town. Although it’s teaming with nooks and subterranean chambers, the hamlet of Aleroth can feel confined, as players bound along, performing a succession of fetch quests. For better or worse, Divinity II is curiously restrained in its core payoff- which transforms the protagonist into a fireball-hurling (yet remarkable vulnerable) dragon. When the reward is eventually bequeathed, it certainly feels awe-inspiring. Undoubtedly, some players will feel the ability should have been used with greater frequency.

For players who haven’t ventured through Divinity II‘s ambitious realms, The Dragon Knight Saga poses an irresistible economical impetus. Although Flames of Vengeance doesn’t outshine the scale (pun intended) of its predecessor, the expansion contributes to the disk’s lofty 75 hour+ playtime, making the package a requisite purchase for role-playing enthusiasts. 

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

34 comments

  1. With a ‘B’ grade Deagle is saying JRPGs>WRPGs, and I can’t argue with that.

  2. Thanks Deagle. I was thinking about picking it up but not quite sure, since a lot of the sites have been mum on it.

    Now I’ll be getting that art book and CD? How are they BTW? (If you got them)

  3. Ok, thats where that screenshot was from. (The big green dude)

  4. Any perks on picking this up for PC? I heard the framerate is capped at 30, so I’m thinking about getting the 360 version.

  5. Waffles For Supper

    “…neither damning or elevating a character to instill some reductionist lesson.”

    Damn, Fable III bashing going on!

  6. Shit. Now I’m thinking I should have got this instead of MK today. 75 hours is pretty damn epic.

  7. Intelligent Zombie

    stopgap game until Skyrim comes out for sure.

    That doesn’t mean I won’t be buying it, though.

  8. I saw the dragon shot, and realized that Sega need to make another Panzer Dragoon game instead of rehashing Crazy Tazi and Sonic.

  9. Bought it last week. So far I love it. There’s a ton of side quests, great UK VO, and a pretty good plot.

    Thanks for no story spoilers, Deagle. U da man!

  10. Shit, I didn’t even know the first game was Divinity II. Not that I played that one for too long.

    75 hours for $40 is like 50 cents an hour to play. Freaking cool!

  11. After just completing Portal 2 in 7 hours, I’m think maybe I should have got this.

    Facepalm.

  12. Hey, charging $40 for a 75 hour game with no wallet-grubbing DLC in sight is fine with me. Viva Atlus for bringing this stateside.

  13. Hmm call me skeptical, but Deagle always loves Atlus and NIS games. Maybe NOLA should have had a look at it.

  14. I remember you and shipwreck were the only two reviewers who seemed to live D2. I bought it on a whim, and thought it was really fun and just a little unpolished. If they fixed some things and balanced like you said this should be a great game.

  15. eternal nightmare

    I thought only Sage bashed Fable 3 (for very good reasons though)

  16. infinite horizon

    great review, Deagle. I’ll be putting this on my hitlist- the only thing is that Atlus games are a little harder to find. I have to go to GS to get one.

  17. whats up with the glowing eyes everyone has in the game?

  18. Yep- he does seem to favorite japanese rpgs. Still this sound cool and you get to set people on fire as a dragon which is hella cool.

  19. pretty good review. First time here.

  20. You might want to tell people there’s a demo on XBLA. Its actually pretty good.

  21. I’m not usually a graphics tart, but those look pretty nice!

  22. hell yes.

  23. thank you good sir for the fair review!

  24. sounds pretty divine.

  25. $40 isn’t bad. How long are the CD and book coming with the game? Just preorders or what?

  26. tried out the demo last night. That and your review are enough to send me to GS today.

  27. thanks! Downloading now. I put 60+ hours into Oblivion and love these kinds of games.

  28. Kind of sucks they don’t deliver the Dragon goods more often. But I heard you are pretty weak as one anyway.

  29. Most of the reviews for Flames said it was worse than the Ego. Hmm.

    Thanks for the info on the remastering. I was looking all over the net to see if it was just smoke out peoples asses.

  30. thank for taking the time to review the game. Unlike a certain site which cut and pastes a Flames review, adding an into and 7.5ed it.

  31. I like the way IGN forgot to mention how they overhauled Ego Dragonis.

    man they suck so hard these days.

  32. Twin Alien Penises

    I played Divinity 2, and even if they fixed the graphics and balancing, the game would not be fun.

  33. Best or worst username, I haven’t decided.