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Friday, August 9, 2013

Divinity: Dragon Commander PC Review - 8.8/10

This game is... unique... I mean as far as I know. An RTS (real time strategy) with some almost helicopter fighting mixed in. If you have no idea what I mean by that, it means you can become a dragon and rain fire down on your enemies while they pummel them should you so please. I've only played one other Divinity game and never thought too highly of it nor any lower. More or less it was very much in the middle of the good or bad spectrum.
I'm going to come off the bat early and say I'm not a big RTS guy. Civilization is a really good game but in terms of actual addictiveness, RTSs never really do make an immense impression on me. That being said, this is a pretty decent game.

The Good:
The visuals are pretty nice. Not too shabby.
This handles like a different than normal RTS. To say you can be a dragon and pummel enemies like I said. You can do standard things in the genre like building up troops and attacking specific points. The dragon portion just adds a new flavor to the mix. A welcome flavor indeed. On easier missions, the dragon can just about finish the entire battle itself with you at the helm, provided you use it competently. Its not invincible, however. Nor can you just take it out at anytime in the battle. First you need 20 civilians for some reason. What do you like eat them for power or something? Anyway. You also need to wait for about forty seconds as well before you can actually summon said dragon. You have a variety of moves at your disposal. Gaining research points each turn which you can then trade for dragon skills or better troops, which is a nice compromise. But that's not really where this game shines.
This is the only RTS I've played with RPG (role playing game) elements to it. You are a commander. As such you have generals below you, each with their own morals, views and beliefs. Over time you'll make decisions they bring to you about your new empire. The even better side of this is there is no right answer. Make any decision and you'll offend someone. People may like to strategize their play through. Regardless of their feelings, side with a particular race to get bonuses when fighting on their lands. I, however, decided to do things my way and suffer the consequences of my actions. I really do like this. Each diplomat (diplomats govern areas while your generals have a slightly lesser role to play) has their own thoughts and no answer will satisfy all of them. The closest I got was all but one (four out of five) and it just so happened the one I offended was a dwarf, who's lands I was currently fighting in. Being conscious of this is crucial to the overall play of the game and is a definite plus for this game. Apart from that your diplomats also have little things to discuss with you via the command center or the bar on board. Oh yeah. This is all happening from a giant magical blimp which is kind of cool to say the least.

The Bad:
Most seasoned RTS players will notice this game is seriously watered down. Capturing small country tiles will give you access to whatever buidling is on that land, giving you bonuses or cards that can be generated. The problem is you only get on of these buildings. So you have to decide whether to have a Wizard Tower or a Gold Mine (etc). You can of course sell them later, but the fact still remains you can either generate gold or anything else. What else is also watered down is just combat in general. You start at one side of the map, send a squad to either attack the enemy directly or just capture certain points to drill out more troops and placing turrets to defend said points. You'll also get a certain thing that makes it so you can't have too many troops on the field. I think its set by the standing you have with the race that inhabits the area. I don't find this bad, but others may.
The way troops move is also weird. Sometimes when I'm trying to take over a neighboring country instead of the capital, my unit gets plopped right into the capital, causing the next turn to involve taking over that place. Its a minor misstep for me, as you can easily redo any move before a battle phase can be instigated by you.

Honestly, I do like this game. Its different from what I'm used to playing and becomes a great joy at times. Good for the guy/gal who things RTSs are a bit too boring and wants to be more involved in every aspect of gameplay.

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