So, I just finished Drakensang: The Dark Eye, and the first thought that came to my mind was that Dragon Age: Origins seems to have borrowed quite a lot of things from this game, or so it felt like anyhow. And that Drakensang in it’s turn borrowed some from Neverwinter Nights 2.
This game lacks the great features that many great RPGs have, like character interaction, heavy story and romance among other things. What it does not lack is battles, which it uses to cover up the really thin and short story it really has. It makes some use of a few of the social aspects that it has, but not all of them so I do not really understand the need to separate them as much it does. For example the game has: Seduce, Etiquette, Haggle, Human Nature and Fast Talk, but it only really uses Haggle thanks to the character’s need to buy all the equipment throughout the game. Human Nature is the second thing to be used and the others may come a few times if you are lucky.
Haggle is a really nice thing to have as gold is really needed in this game for both quests, potions (need lots of those), items for different conditions and armor alike. I ended my game with around 2000 gold, I didn’t upgrade my companions as I maybe should have due to the lack of interest in the last part of the game.
Companions do however speak during your quests but it is easily missed and they do not say much. They might even talk to each other at certain points but it is nothing worth reading really. They are rather generic otherwise. The dwarfs are a drunken, fight loving and proud race that of course sounds scottish, the elven people speaks about nature and animals or their people, the humans are well humans, greedy and just down right needy in my opinion.
The leveling system in this game is based on distributing experience points into stats more than “leveling up”, but you do level as well, it mostly just opens up the next “phase” for you to distribute more points into what you want as it gets maxed at certain numbers based on your level. You put your points in what you want to “level up” and the more points you put in, the better it becomes.
One thing that I realized much to late is the fact that the elven characters can not use all spells the game has to offer. They have a few that are mostly based on buffs for the fighters and the like. Though the pet companion is a really nice addition to your party.
Elven characters in this game seem to have access to less interesting spells than the humans do in the game, and even worse, the game’s main story just assumes that you play as a fighter. Through the course of the game, you’ll find armor pieces, which will enhance mostly everything that is needed for combat besides for example Intuition, which is the main stat for a mage, yay. In the end, that armor will be forced upon you, as the champion that you are but will however take in to account that you might have chosen a mage as the armor does not restrict your magic abilities as other metal parts does.
My party was made up of two fighters who could hit the hardest, one mage and one archer at the end. The fighters could hold their own mostly, but something I noticed rather early was that the main character draws attention like crazy. Most enemies just tries to run straight past the fighters to kill the main first, no matter what. You can get lucky but often your character is the first to die if you aren’t careful, since mages often have really low life and high mana or astral energy as this game calls it.
The path to the last battle I must say was the most infuriating thing I have ever encountered, with battle after battle after battle. They keep respawning and respawning if you weren’t quick enough. Barely giving you time to heal and rebuff and that made me curse out loud at times. Though respawning is something that I notice the game did a lot. You could fight your way through an entire dungeon and when you needed to head back, most of the dungeon’s enemies were back sometimes, which really made the dungeons a pain in the butt but the experience points was needed. At least for me. Especially when the enemies kept regenerate life faster than you could kill them at times if you didn’t keep strict track of your companions at the frontlines.
This game is relying heavily on the pause system and tactics. Running headfirst into a room full of enemies often result in the entire party getting killed if your fighters can’t really hold their own. Not only can the lack of life kill you, so can wounds. This is one thing that can be seen in Dragon Age as well. The wound system is annoying at times, you’ll get it from heavy blows and deaths. If you get 4+ wounds, you’ll die, no matter how much life you have left. You will die. Always heal the wounds as soon as you can or it’ll decide the battle’s outcome for you.
All in all this game was really fun at times but it felt more like a mockery to “real” RPGs more than an actual RPG itself most of the times as moments were just comical instead of epic and interesting. For example, there was Gollum-like creatures that mentioned “his preciiiouuus soulstone” and other such silly things. The voice acting is terrible and just made laugh at times when I maybe shouldn’t have. The game doesn’t have any deep moments and is just a dungeon crawler more than anything else, sadly.
I would have liked it to be more, thicker with story or at least character interaction. I could at least own a house, that was fun, with chickens and my very own rock goblin. He’ll do some fun stuff in your basement if you give him time.
The graphics are nice, though. I’d recommend this anyhow to people that likes dungeon crawlers with some story.