Review by C.LE
"I can't believe I wasted my time on this."
Story (n/a): I'll confess - I couldn't bare to spend more than a few hours on Divine Divinity, so I can't judge on the story. I'll keep it out of the rating.
Sound (3): For the most part, adequate, and I was actually surprised by the quality of the music. But what brings the score down is the horrendous voice-acting. At times it's adequate, but I found that, more often than not, I was wishing that I could jam a screwdriver into my soundcard, just so it wouldn't have to process such misery.
Graphics (2): Now, I normally don't judge a game by it's graphics, but Divine Divinity was just so painful to sight that graphics deserves its own category just to bring down its score. First off, it seems that Divine Divinity punishes you for making a certain graphic adjustment. There was an option for 3D Fog. Sounded good, so I enabled it. The fog did indeed look beautiful, but that was until I entered a dungeon. OH MY GOD. I literally could not see anything until I was right next to it. Only by disabling fog could I then see things outside of a 100 pixel radius of my character. The graphics in general are horrible. Now, I've played games where graphics are basically nonexistent or comparitively bad (Stars!, System Shock), but they didn't hinder with gameplay. In Divine Divinity, however, not only did the sensation of Diablo 2 hang over my head (the toolbar at the bottom is almost identical in format, except less streamlined; fonts are identical), but the graphics were so terrible that it made things difficult to do. It took me ages to find a lever because the lever was actually a skeleton hanging from the wall that was identical in every fashion to other skeletons hanging on the wall, and the only way I found it was that my cursor accidentally found a sweet spot that said ''Lever.'' And this happened several times. Folks, this is just not a way to design a game. It also didn't help that the automap was useless; it incorrectly reports your location, so it seems like you're in one room according to the automap, when you're in the adjacent one. There were a few wonderful moments, like the first time I stepped near a pond, seeing a beautiful reflection, or the fade/wipe transition between levels, but these just serve to puzzle me how the rest of the game can look so badly.
Replayability (2): I wouldn't dare play this game again, although it does offer multiple character classes to choose from with a slightly interesting development system.
Gameplay (2): Alright, this is where things REALLY start to fall apart. The interface is the clunkiest I've seen in a while. First, the inventory system harkens back to the days of Ultima VII and Ultima VIII; that is, instead of the Diablo tetris mania, you have a bag and you place objects freely, drag and drop style. Only problem is, this system was TERRIBLE. Atleast the game automatically sorts new objects, but it occasionally does so even if you intentionally placed objects in certain formations. Opening up your bag and having to find that poison potion (which may even be camouflaged by other potions) is terribly annoying. Combat is annoyingly terrible. Apparently, the designers decided to be unique: clicking on a monster does NOT necessitate attacking them. Nope. You have to actually click a ''sweet spot'' before your character attacks. While this proved to be a significant annoyance against swarms of skeletons, since a misclick sends your character walking to that point, meaning you have to try and find the sweet spot again, this became fatal when I fought a VERY simple creature: a bat. Why? No matter how hard and furiously I clicked, I could not get a bead on the bat. I would believe I clicked on the creature (the name ''Bat'' in Diablo 2-esque fashion would even appear for a split second), but instead I missed (despite my mouse being clearly over the bat) and walked a bit, forcing me to try again and aim. Fumbling for some healing potions, and then in a desperate attempt to toss poison potions at it, ultimately I died repeatedly because it's freaking impossible to hit the bat for design reasons. People, there has never been a successful game in which the player fails because the game has a design flaw. It also doesn't help that sounds, while prominent, seemed to only play every five events, and since there appears to be no other visual signal that you've been hit, I notice eventually that my health has been dropping. This is poor game design.
Final assessment: This is a BAD game. No, scratch that. This is HELL-SPAWN. I can't believe I wasted so much hard drive space for so long a time.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 01/01/03, Updated 01/01/03
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