previews\ Dec 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Divinity II: Ego Draconis - PC - Preview 2

Divinity II is the sequel to Larian Studios’ original fantasy game, “Divine Divinity,” complete with all the bells and whistles of a modern role-playing experience. Much of the core design has changed from its predecessor, though largely for the better. Taking cues from many recent RPGs, Ego Draconis emphasizes the role of player choice within the game. The result appears to be a slicker, more accessible adventure through an impressively rich fantasy realm.

DII is distanced from the original title largely thanks to the passage of time, as well as the introduction of an entirely new player character. The character customization recalls the system used in Oblivion, while the skill progression is slightly more fluid. This means that rather than being forced to commit to a “class” or “specialization” at the start, players are free to test out and hone their abilities as they make their way through the game. Such forgiveness will likely assuage fears of the noncommittal player, who may spend hours agonizing over their initial character creation process, or perhaps regret their choices later in the game and wish to start anew.

At the heart of this liberating mechanic is the Battle Tower, teaming with all manner of vital subjects from necromancers to combat trainers. Being in possession of this tower allows you to truly feel in control of your experience, and this lends itself very nicely to serve as a secure base of operations. As you develop your abilities as a dragon slayer, you acquire the ironic ability to transform into a dragon, wreaking untold devastation on your foes. Of course, there are contrivances such as anti-dragon turrets and narrow passageways to ensure the player can’t remain in dragon form indefinitely.

Luckily, Divinity II offers a great scope for the little human, with very open-ended quests and a great deal of rewards to be found. One interesting mechanic to spruce up the quests can be found in the form of telepathy, which consumes more experience points depending upon the brain power of the target. If you learn that someone offering you a quest is really trying to trick you, this information can be used to your advantage, and you might be able to deceive him return. Many of these quests will have several possible outcomes - a great incentive to mess around and revisit familiar places on multiple play sessions.

With this nearly-complete build, it’s clear that RPG fans have something wonderful to look forward to. Ego Draconis nails the foundation of a great role-playing title, while successfully integrating original gameplay elements. If your friend fails to show even a glimmer of interest in Divinity II, tell them it contains swords, magic, telepathy, and dragons. Chances are, they won’t be able to resist smirking.

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