August 7, 2013

Divinity: Dragon Commander

Lasting First Impressions

Larian Studios has returned with another Divinity title but have turned the tables on their typical RPG and created an amazing amalgamation of several different genres into one cohesive project: Divinity: Dragon Commander.  Imagine fusing Warcraft with Civilization and you have an idea of what Dragon Commander brings to gamers. The game seamlessly transitions from an RPG, to a turn-based strategy, to a full-scale RTS in ways that feel natural, creating a unique genre in itself.  There is so much detail inherent in this game, from the amazing cast of voice talent, to the detailed history told throughout the story, that my one hour Lasting First Impressions quickly became a two hour play session.

Divinity: Dragon Commander lives in the same world as the previous Divinity RPGs, in which races of Undead, Elves, Dwarves, Lizards, Imps, and Humans co-exist peacefully. Until the Emperor is murdered by his children, plummeting the world into an all out war for the throne.  Players take on the role of the late Emperor’s  bastard son, who can, at will, transform into a dragon, as he tries to unite the world under his banner and restore peace.  The game starts with the player speaking to several of his counsellors found on his flying ship, which acts as the base of operations. Here, the backstory of the game is learned and the objectives are put forth.  It is also here that players will be able to upgrade their character with new Dragon Abilities or outfit their military with new units and upgrades.

DDC Screen 04

Then, at any time, players can open the world map where the game becomes a turn-based strategy in which the player builds and moves units within his own territories or into enemy territory to begin a battle.  Territories owned provide money and resources that will be used to build the armies and upgrades required to complete a successful campaign.  Fans of games like Sid Meier’s Civilization will find themselves at home during this phase of Divinity: Dragon Commander.  Once the tactics have been completed and the turn has ended, any battles that have been initiated, will need to be resolved.  During this battle phase, players can choose to have the battles played out automatically by choosing one of their generals who each have their own unique abilities.

Alternatively, players may opt to play out the battles as themselves. This is where the game turns into yet another genre of game: the RTS.  Seemlessly, players are transported to the battlefield ready to build and command units to battling the enemy forces.  Only the annihilation of the enemy strongholds will yield victory.  Add to this the fact that the player is, himself, a dragon, and the game gets even more fun.  Once the armies have been given their orders, the player can transform into a dragon and join the battle in a third person style shooter. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be a dragon, right?  Flying through the battlefield assisting your army, shooting fireballs at the enemies, its all very satisfying and incredibly exhilarating.

Divinity: Dragon Commander has a great deal of detail that will certainly take many hours of gameplay to truly understand and master.  Larian Studios has crafted an amazing combination of several genres of game into a seamless experience that just feels solid.  Mix into this an incredibly epic and sweeping orchestral soundtrack and you have one experience that you will never feel like you’ve had enough of.  It is hard these days to create something unique in any single genre of game, but Divinity: Dragon Commander has successfully fused multiple genres into one solitary game that will satisfy any strategy gamer and even make new fans of the genre.  Political intrigue, battle tactics, and action adventure await all who dare take on this game.  And all should take on this game. No, really, you should.

Larian Studios, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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