Written by: Synchronous Failure
Edited by: Jacob VanDerWerf
Earlier this year, Dragon Age II
was released to the cries and lamentations of many an RPG fan. Though it is certainly not a bad game
, it pales in nearly every respect to its predecessor, Dragon Age: Origins
. Gamers are rightfully worried at the direction the genre is suddenly taking, from news that Mass Effect 3
and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
will be further dumbed-down to the level of titles that could barely be called RPGs, like Fable 3
and Final Fantasy XIII
However, the RPG genre isnít dying. Many gamers are apt to ignore releases without massive marketing budgets and a sea of hype to carry it. Too many games that are every bit as polished and high in production value simply go unheard of. One of these games, Divinity II
, is the king of the sleeper titles. It quite frankly baffles my mind as to how this game failed to receive a fraction of the attention other sleeper titles like The Witcher
is the sequel to 2002ís Divine Divinity
, whose only legacy was having one of the worst names ever conceived. That game was a straight-up Diablo
clone with an interesting story and technically perfect gameplay and graphics. However, there was really nothing special about it, nothing to remember it by; it was immensely by-the-book. Its sequel would be no different, were it not for the fact that cRPGs are becoming rarer with every passing year.
So how does this tie into Dragon Age
? Besides the fact that Divinity II
was released the same month as DA:O (the chief reason for its obscurity), it carries essentially the same gameplay, interface, and general plot. Indeed, the graphics and art style carry uncanny similarities and yet both games couldnít be more different. There are so many minor divergences, variations, and design decisions that add up to a completely unique experience.
If there was only one thing that could be said about this game, it would be about its narrative. Very few games successfully pull off plot twists that the player doesnít see coming (Bioshock
is another example), nor are there very many games that keep to a near perfect pacing. Divinity II
easily reaches the limited pantheon of games where the quality of its writing propels the game forward more than any of its other features.
Unfortunately, this means that explicitly discussing the gameís story and a few of its gameplay features cannot be done without revealing several massive spoilers. However, there will be none of that in this review, so you may proceed without fear!