Level design is solid - despite a slight over reliance on the traditional fantasy crypts, caves and crags - with pleasingly physical puzzles and key hunts. There are a few smatterings of platforming thrown in, too, although these additions feel a bit misjudged given the floaty nature of the jumping - frustration kicks in pretty quickly when movement feels as inaccurate as Divinity's can.
Once your dragon skills become fully realised a new perspective on everything opens up. Free of gravity's shackles, areas can now be traversed very quickly, with controls feeling instinctual and tactile. Morphing into your dragon means that ground targets disappear to be replaced by flying enemies, so don't get too many ideas about offing troublesome mobs with swathes of cleansing fire.
By the time all of this happens, depending on how anal you are about side-quests, anticipation of power is burning pretty brightly, and the freedom and new abilities you unlock do not disappoint. However, by introducing a new class of enemies for each form Larian Studios also keep the empowerment balance in check. Your Dragon is certainly not invincible.
People reaching for wallets should be warned, however. This burning sword of positivity is about to be tempered in the cold waters of disappointment. That's because Divinity II, for all it's effort, is not a polished game. Targeting is essentially quite broken, skills sometimes refuse to work for no apparent reason, three or four times (playing on 360) I fell through the floor entirely and ended up floating around in a sub-terrestrial netherworld, trapped in graphical resin like a prehistoric bug.
Certain cut-scenes, all rendered in the in-game engine, stuttered and jumped around bizarrely, with actors wandering aimlessly and voices diembodying themselves from the action. Exiting menus with the B button inevitably activated whichever skill was mapped to it, especially annoying given the long cooldown period associated with some of them. Inventory management is extremely poor, there's no mechanic for sneaking up on enemies - once you're in range they'll see you automatically, no matter if you're hidden or not.
Whilst I encountered nothing game-breaking I did lose count of the number of minor irritations the engine threw at me, and more than a few expirations were the result of the skills simply refusing to trigger. A little polish could have gone a long way here. I can't help but feel that an extra couple of weeks in Q&A would have nudged Divinity II from an almost-ran into the winner's enclosure. As it is, this is a good game which suffers a death of a thousand cuts - a viable alternative to Dragon Age for the less statistically minded, but sadly prevented by becoming a winner in its own right by any number of minor faults.
The story is compelling and well told, and there's certainly enough flow to put it in the category of "just ten more minutes" games - but you'll need a lot of patience to get the most out of Ego Draconis.
6 / 10
Divinty II: Ego Draconis was reviewed primarily on Xbox 360, although the PC version was played in order to contrast. The differences were not considered enough to justify a separate review.