Review by CyhortI82
"Divinity 2: Oh yes, there will be glitches."
Introduction: I don't even know where to begin. Usually when I do reviews I have some idea of where I'm gonna go before I start writing, what points I'm gonna make, maybe even a joke or two. But not this time. I can't even start to think about how to express the complete and utter loathing I have for this game in mere words. Divinity 2 literally sucked the soul out of my body and did unspeakable things to it before returning it and I have to deal with that before I can properly express the amount of hatred that is filling my body at this moment. Despite all that, I will still attempt to be as fair to this.......game as possible. So I'll just conclude this introduction by asking you to please excuse any lapses in the professionalism of this review. I seriously can't help it.
Graphics don't make a game good. You can have a great game with out of date or even bad graphics. Just look at Final Fantasy 7. The graphics of everything but the backgrounds are atrocious and yet people still consider it the greatest game ever. However, graphics can make a game bad. Luckily that isn't the case with Divinity 2, but it's a close thing. The graphics, while not quite next gen, are certainly not "PSOne era" like some people have claimed. In fact, on their own, the graphics wouldn't have bothered me at all. Sadly though the amount of graphical glitches in this game are staggering. First of all every time, every SINGLE time you move the camera you see very noticeable screen tearing. Some people have even reported becoming physically ill from the screen tearing, something which I can easily see happening, especially on bigger TV's. This is something that should have been caught and fixed immediately during play testing. In fact most of the problems that I have with this game could have been fixed with a two month delay and a lot of additional play testing. (Assuming of course that there was actually any to begin with. Which I seriously doubt). Aside from the constant screen tearing and sub-par textures you have to deal with enemies randomly disappearing while still being able to attack you, turning from dragon form to human and not showing up on screen from anywhere between 2 and 10 seconds and lip syncing that is just off enough so that you notice something is wrong. All in all this is not a pretty game by any means.
Graphics Rating: 5/10
I'm going to separate this into two sections, one for the dragon and one for the human.
Dragon: The dragon part of this game was very well designed. The dragon is easy to control, responsive and there are, shockingly enough, really no glitches involved with it. It basically works like most aerial games except you don't have to be constantly moving. You can hover, dash away, dive straight down or go up high. Dragon combat is also very well done. You have the generic fire breath attack as your default attack and a few other powers. Most of them are useless except for the Dragon Spirit (healing) and the Fire Sphere (fire missiles). There are downsides though, such as your dragon form ALWAYS being much weaker than your human form, the repetitiveness of the dragon levels (they're basically all the exact same thing in a different setting) and toward the end of the game it's possible to die during a pointless "cutscene" because you keep getting damaged during it. Still, it's incredibly fun to fly circles around other dragons while destroying nests and wizard towers. It's the closest this game comes to being good.
Dragon Gameplay Rating: 9/10
Human: Which is why it's such a crime how bad the human parts of this game are. Don't get me wrong, the game starts out well enough if you can get past the screen tearing, messed up lips and the constant flailing that goes on during conversations. Hell, even the combat system is decent, if boring at later levels. Until you get to the glitches. At first they only happen every once in a while. The game might freeze or you might notice that you load a save and you're character is a few feet away from the spot he was when you saved. Then as you get farther and farther into the game you'll find yourself screaming in frustration at the sheer amount of glitches that are being thrown at you. I'm getting ahead of myself though, let's first take a look at the combat in human form. Do you like pressing the X button? Larian Studios sure as hell does, that's the only reason I can think of for the combat system. Sure you can customize the button layout for the face buttons and the D-Pad, which I'll admit is a very welcome addition, so you can really choose which button you like pressing but in the end the combat comes down to you pressing one button over and over and over and over again. This is especially more noticeable towards the end of the game when you're so overleveled that enemies are literally doing zero damage to you and you're just hacking through wave after wave of them. It gets incredibly boring. And before you blame that on me being overleveled let me remind you that the game is designed so that you HAVE to be over leveled to get through it. If you encounter enemies even two levels above you you will be slaughtered unless they're alone. Which they never are. Even boss fights are crammed with regular enemies. So you can't even get to the last impossible and unfair boss fight unless you're at least 3 levels above your enemies. The abilities and powers you have are pretty useful. Until they're not. Contrary to every other game out there the warrior skill tree is actually pretty weak, with only a few useful powers. If you play through the game as a warrior you'll find yourself screwed at the last boss fight (which is just you in a tiny room with 15+ enemies that do MASSIVE amounts of damage. And even being overleveled doesn't help because the guy who is supposed to be the final boss does so much damage to you that unless you can kill everyone in the room before he touches you you're dead. Of course this wouldn't be such a problem if you could use more than one health potion at a time but of course that would make the game too easy and we wouldn't want the goddamn game to hold our hands would we?!)
Now let's move onto the combat and running animations. You don't just swing your sword in Divinity 2, oh no, you do impossible flips, jumps and twists that have no place in real combat and only serve to delay your actual attack for a second or two while your character performs his ridiculous flippy move. It's a very stupid addition to the game and adds nothing other than maybe 10 minutes of "Wow that looks cool!" moments in the beginning of the game. The running animations in this game are terrible. You look like a little kid with a mess in his diaper running to get cleaned up, that is the only way I can describe the awkward "run" that your character does. In fact all the motion capture in Divinity 2 is terrible. The conversation animations are exaggerated. You'll often see characters gesturing wildly while they calmly tell you about the goblins they want you to kill. The walking animations are stiff and forced. In fact the only thing I can't blame on the terrible motion capture are the actual combat animations and that's only because no one could actually do all those flips and jumps in real life. Unless they spent their beta testing budget on getting Ray Park to do mocap for them which I'm discounting only because I doubt even Darth freaking Maul could do the impossible flips that your character does.
Human Gameplay Rating: 4/10
Overall Gameplay Rating: 6/10
Finally something I can praise about this game. I like the soundtrack to Divinity 2. It's nothing as epic as a Metal Gear Solid soundtrack or as memorable as something composed by Nobuo Uematsu but it fits the game very well. Or at least as well as it can without the entire soundtrack being a toilet flushing. I especially love the level music for Sentinel Island. The voice acting is also pretty good for most of the game. Even if I did have to chuckle at things like pronouncing "wrath" as "rawth". All the voices fit the characters, even if the animations don't, and it really does make you feel like you're playing a professional game. My only complaint is that the triggers for the music are a little off, especially during the second half of the game, so you sometimes are stuck with 8 or 9 seconds of complete silence before the music starts up. But compared to the rest of the game that's a very minor problem and one that's easier to overlook.
Sound Rating: 9/10
Story is in my opinion the most important part of any RPG. (besides playtesting) An RPG with a great story can be forgiven for lackluster gameplay. Sadly Divinity 2's story is anything but great. Like the rest of the game it starts off well enough and even has you believing that you're in for an epic RPG story. That isn't the case. After the second half of the game the story is more or less forgotten while you scurry from side quest to side quest in a desperate attempt to level up. Very few of the side quests have anything at all to do with the main story and they're hindered by not having any icons for them on the map. Sure they give you a write up telling you where to go (At least most of them do. Some only tell you what you need to do and you have to hope you run across your objective) but it would be nice to be able to set a side quest as an active quest and be told where the hell to go. But if it did that then the game time would be cut in half so I guess there was a reason for that after all. Let's get back to the main story. The story is a continuation of the story from Divine Divinity. The demon son of the Divine, Damien the Damned One, is out to destroy the world. You are a Dragon Slayer, a knight charged with killing off all the dragon knights because dragons supposedly betrayed the Divine during the great war. Since the back of the box mentions this I'm not spoiling anything by saying that you eventually get turned into a dragon knight and find out that they were loyal all along and were framed by Damien so that humans would hunt down his strongest enemies, dragons. The story itself is interesting enough but the presentation isn't. The story is told mostly through conversations and what cutscenes there are are pretty unimpressive. The game tries very hard to be like other WRPG's by giving you "good" and "evil" dialogue but nothing you say has any effect on the plot at all. The story is linear and there's no way to effect the ending at all. You can, however, effect a few side quests with your dialogue choices but usually that means you end up failing your mission because you pissed someone off. Oh and speaking of the ending.......without spoiling it I'll just say that it's one of those endings that makes everything you did during the game completely and utterly useless and was obviously only there to set up a possible sequel which I seriously doubt will ever be made.
Story Rating: 5/10
And now we finally come to it, in this section I will detail all the glitches I've encountered in this game. There won't be a rating but this will assuredly effect the final rating of the game.
1. The game freezes. It doesn't happen much compared to the other glitches but I have had the game randomly freeze on me three times.
2. Sometimes when you're fighting a large group of enemies and kill a lot of them at once one of the still living enemies will disappear with the dead ones but it will still be able to attack you. You of course cannot attack it. I only ran into this twice and it was in the same area so it may not happen all the time.
3. Sometimes the running animation stops and you just float along the ground. There's no way to fix this except for reloading a save or turning into a dragon then back again if you can.
4. If you do a rush attack up a steep incline or stairs you'll clip through the map and fall forever. This has happened to me several times and it's especially frustrating because ranged enemies always run away from you so you end up using the rush attack a LOT.
5. In Kraeas Flying Fortress there's a puzzle where you have to talk to statues, get clues and from those clues find out the names of the statues. Well, the statues have no dialogue so you can't even read their clue. You either have to guess and hope you get the right answer or go online and find a solution but unless you don't have this glitch the puzzle is unsolvable. Some people have claimed that the glitch can be fixed by reloading an earlier save but I tried that three times with different saves and the glitch still occurred.
6. Sometimes when you overwrite a save and then load it, that save will load with you still where you were in the original save but with the progress you had in the latest save. This is very frequent when you save in a dungeon and it's gamebreaking when you get locked in a room that can't get unlocked until you beat a boss or solve a puzzle, overwrite a save, load and then are trapped outside the room. The only way to get around this is to always use a new save slot, of which there are a limited amount, so you'll be deleting saves and saving the game constantly.
7. Sometimes when you die and then reload a save it loads the save with you still dead. This happens a lot with autosaves. You'll have to go to the dashboard and restart the game to be able to reload the game alive.
Those are the major glitches that I've encountered, some people have reported other ones but since I didn't experience them for myself I can't say whether or not they actually exist. Judging from the game though I'm pretty sure they're legit and I'll mention some of them here.
8. You get hit by a magic spell or ranged attack while running away or moving away from a warrior and you start walking up the air like there are invisible stairs for about 5 seconds than fall.
9. You try and jump on something and it slings you off or teleports you.
10. If you morph back to human while dragon dashing you will keep dragon dashing forward for about 3 seconds until you morph back flying you across the map.
All of these glitches are inexcusable and would have easily been caught with thorough playtesting done by professionals.
I tried to be fair, but Divinity 2 is a broken mess of a game. It drove me to frustration countless times and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I would have started playing Two Worlds after playing this game just so I could experience a game that is put together better. The most frustrating thing about this game though is that under all the glitches and bugs and bad gameplay choices is a really, really good game just BEGGING to be allowed to see the light of day. I feel like I'm on a life raft reaching through icy water to rescue a drowning Divinity 2 but I am just the slightest bit too far away to reach it. Instead I'm stuck with this buggy, barely finished piece of crap that should be held up as an example for all aspiring game developers of what not to do. Or what to do in the case of the beta testing. Divinity 2 could have been a great under the radar WRPG. Instead it leaves me wanting to take a crap on the game, put it in a box and ship it back to Larian with a note that says "My version is better than yours!" Divinity 2, I wish I could say I hardly knew ye.
Final Rating: 5/10
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/10
Game Release: Divinity II: Ego Draconis (US, 01/06/10)
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