Divinity 2 – First Impressions

Sprite StuYo.

Steam had quite the sale a few weeks — no, nearly two months ago, and we couldn’t resist buying one or two (or three or five) games on the cheap. I haven’t got around to playing any of these until now because of computer trouble, but since that’s all fixed I can really dive into some new gaming experiences.

Out of the half-dozen games we bought, the one drawing the most of my attention is Divinity 2: Ego Draconis. I’m here to share my impression of the first few hours.

I’ve never played Divinity 1 nor seen it played, and as far as I can tell the player isn’t really required to know it before starting a D2 game. Perhaps knowledge of the first installment helps make sense of the world-building, but I’ve gotten along well enough so far.

Click for biggy.
Like most current-generation games, Divinity 2 is awfully pretty.

I’m only two or so hours in, but the game reminds me of other fantasy RPGs I’ve played and enjoyed.

(And also some I haven’t.)

Adhering pretty closely to standard RPG formulas, it lets you craft a character and personalize him or her with armor and weapons, offers skills and levels and interactive dialogue, all the usual. Even at such an early look, though, I’ve found one or two things that pique my interest.

Things That Stand Out

The developers’ don’t take themselves or their art too seriously. Divinity 2 has a refreshing lack of pomp and, better still, a strong sense of humor. I’ve completed a few side-quests since I began, and my favorite so far involves my character rescuing a group of pigs by locating their leader (a pig named Kevin) and whispering the word “rosebud” into his ear. (Which somehow gives the pigs the verve necessary to escape their prison and return home. I don’t even break the pigs out — all I do is deliver famous movie quotes.)

Even the inventory screen is packed with snark, and the player character is easily customized into an irreverent master of wit.

I really like the music too. In recent years (say, since 2005) developers have relied on ambient tracks and mood music to bring their games to life. I’ve got nothing against the games that do so — sometimes ambiance trumps melody.

But Divinity 2 goes for a more old-school approach and I love it a little more for doing so. The music reminds me of Zelda, in some ways. When you’re in danger the music is fast and heavy on drums, while the music playing in a town is catchy and memorable, instead of merely being a big blend of strings like in so many other RPGs.

Also, a couple of little details that I wish more RPGs offered: the player character can jump at any time, move quickly, and can even excel in hand-to-hand combat. I needed to download a mod to make martial arts a viable technique in Skyrim, and another of my favorite RPGs, Dragon Age, doesn’t even offer fisticuffs.

Things That Disappoint Me

I’ve been spoiled by Dragon’s Dogma, but Divinity 2 might have the weakest character creation I’ve ever seen. Your choices are:

  • White guy with brown hair.
  • White guy with blond hair.
  • White girl with brown hair.
  • White girl with blond hair.

You can customize the character’s voice, but since the hero is silent in dialogue and only shouts inanity when looting corpses this feels like a pointless feature.

On a similar note, it’s weird, but every character kind of looks the same. I mean, you get discrepancies in hair color/length, clothing and acne scarring, but that’s about it. Every man has the same build, every woman the same face. Worse, they all look like me.

You get used to it after the first hour, but it’s a blemish, to be sure.

And that’s about all I’ve got. It certainly has my attention, and I’ve heard it called an underrated gem, so I expect it to impress me further in the future.

Thanks for reading.

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