Divine Divinity Reader Review
The hack and slash RPG section of your local game store will be getting quite cramped as of late, as more and more games of the genre are released, some not so good, some worth playing. Divine Divinity fits into the later and is definitely worth picking up if you do enjoy the genre.
As you would have guessed by now, Divine Divinity is of the RPG genre but you could narrow it down to a hack Ďní slash if youíre that way inclined. Itís developed by Larian Studios who have done a really good effort on the game and while it does lack in some quarters it still has plenty more going for it making it a solid all round performance.
It turns out a sect known as the Black Ring are up to no good and are trying desperately to summon the Lord of Chaos, which would subsequently, at best, bring about the end of the world. Itís your task to stop the Black Ring from summoning their lord and by doing so you will become the Divine One.
The story begins as you awake in a small village being cared for by one of the local healers. It turns out you donít remember what happened or who you are or how you got there but you waste little time in pillaging your new friends house for anything useful, such as small dagger and perhaps a pair of torn leggings, so your journey begins.
The first few quests begin by mainly getting you used to the area, showing you where the local merchant is housed, that sort of thing. Things soon pick up when the main healer of the town goes a bit crazy and freezes his colleague in a block of ice, itís then up to you rescue him from his icy prison. This quest gives you the first glimpse of dungeons within the game and before you know it your navigating your way through a dried up well and up the secret stairs into the back room of the crazy healers house. After youíve released the poor soul from his frozen tomb you then begin your quest to restore the crazy mans sanity and subsequently begin your adventure until you become the Divine One and save the world.
As with many games of this genre the majority of control is done via the mouse. Point and click to move, attack, talk, investigate. Thatís not to say the control system is bad, because its not. The point and click method is tried and tested and it does work for the game. The controls did sometimes feel a little sluggish and unresponsive, something that can get quite annoying while in battle, but this only happened on rare occasions so wasnít enough to warrant me turning off the game in favour of something else. Combat skills can be performed by clicking the right mouse button which would grant you complete control at your finger tips, if you didnít have to use your other hand to switch attacks. The numbers on your keyboard are what controls items and skills and by simply assigning the desired item / skill to the number you want it only takes a press of the button to use the item or swap to that skill. Over all the control system is good and does fit the game well. Itís simple enough for you to slouch down in your chair and play one handed while you go off exploring all the fog of war areas youíve not yet uncovered, but also easy to use in combat situations where you need to be downing pots and swapping skills very quickly.
Quests are one of the plus points about the game as there are hundreds of them. They range from the basic fetch quests to the more in depth chain quests that last over five levels. Thereís definitely enough quests to keep everyone interested and youíll find yourself wanting to play through the game again trying to do the quests you missed or didnít complete. Experience is the main reward for completing a quest, and while you will get cash and items from some of them, the more desired reward comes in the form of reputation. The higher your characters reputation the better reaction youíll receive from NPCís, which in turn will give you better prices on their goods or open up new quests.
The levelling system is pretty much default of the genre and a level up can be accomplished by reaching 100% on your experience gauge. Towards the start defeating monsters is the quickest way to gain the valuable experience, where as later on in the game you will find quests are also now giving you their fare share of experience. Upon levelling you will be granted five attribute points, which you can use to increase your characters stats. Strength, Agility, Vitality and Intelligence can all be increased, but the choice is fully yours allowing you to increase the stats as you see fit. Also upon levelling you will be granted one skill point, or two skill points if itís a fifth level (5,10,15,20,25Ö) These skill points can then be spent on any skill you wish, providing its available to you.
There are forty eight skills to choose from in total and these are spread across three sections, warrior, survivor and mage. The skill system is probably one of the best features about the game, unlike other games that confine you to one class the character you pick at the start of the game only really affects your starting stats. Should you decide youíre up for a bit of robe and wizard hat and opt for the Mage character there is nothing to stop you putting half your skill points into the warrior section and the other half into the mage section.
The locations within the game are very nice and while some of it looks much the same as the last part there is enough variance to keep you interested. There are loads of dungeons and caves within the game but sadly their effect is lost along the way as they all look exactly the same as the last one you ventured into. There are some nice effects to be found, such as ruined houses, trees lining a river and so forth and its these that do make the majority of the games graphics appeasing on the eye. Another portion of the graphics that work well are the towns and cities. Each one has their own unique look and this creates a really good atmosphere as even when you leave the area youíll still have the image of what its like lodged in the back of your head. Despite some let downs such as the repeated use of skins, and looking a bit dated in places due to the games age. Over all the graphics work well, they create a good enough atmosphere, are easy on the eye and fit the game well.
Sadly there are only a small handful of audio tracks on offer which can get a bit frustrating at times as you may get the same track repeating over and over again, in which case you may find yourself hitting the mute button on your speakers. The audio tracks that are available are really nice and there are times where your foot will just keep tapping to the beat. One track in particular sticks out in my mind as it reminds me of the scene in Starship Troopers where all the drop ships are falling to the bug planet. On paper it doesnít look like the audio track will fit into the game, but it does and itís probably one of the best tracks within the game. The music changes as scenarios do in game which really adds to the atmosphere as one minute you may have some peaceful music being played but the next youíll find yourself down a dungeon and the music will be changed from harmonic to dark, something that works really well within the game. Despite the fact the audio could have been better it does give a solid all round performance.
Sadly the game does lack a multiplayer option, something that would have added a lot of replay value to the game. Thatís not to say there isnít any replay value though, as you will find yourself wanting to play through the game again as you try to complete unfinished quests and locate items that you missed the first time around. You will also want to try different skill combinations and if you do fall into this category expect a lot of replay value as with forty eight skills to choose from there are plenty of different combinations for you to try out.
Overall I would definitely say that Divine Divinity is worth playing if you are into the hack Ďní slash genre and due to the reason that its now on many of the budget lines you will be able to find the game dead cheap in some places. Itís well worth checking out, and despite some of its downfalls it still has a lot going for it.