But It Comes With The Same Old Flaws
Off and on over the years I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons. Mostly I became too busy to keep playing or I moved away from the group of friends who played. The reason I’m bringing up this completely irrelevant set of details is because Dungeons and Dragons was the first impression I got when I started playing Drakensang. That was until I got to the character creation screen.
In the normal game you pick one of three classes and they give you a character without options. The expansion fixed this by allowing you a few appearance choices. So I chose a solider because I thought it gave me the best chance to use pole arms (I love my halberds). I was mistaken however, but I’ll get to that later.
The new pack includes Drakensang: The Dark Eye, Drakensang: The River of Time, and Drakensang: Philleason’s Secret, so that’s quite a good value for the price.
After setting up my character I began my quest. Starting out with a basic set of leather armor and a bastard sword (known in the game as a hand and a halfer, which struck me as a little silly.)
I had my first quest to get two letters of recommendation to proceed. Deciding to choose the quest closest to me, I talked to a woman who was wearing extremely revealing cloths. She told me that her "lover" stole her family heirloom and that if I tracked it down she’d give me a recommendation to help me get past the guard.
So I wandered this little village and found an Amazon of a woman who said she’d help me on my quests. With my new found ally in tow I headed towards the dark woods to the northwest. En route to my destination I encountered my first enemy, a wild boar. The game paused and allowed me to issue commands and get oriented, which I liked, but it only got worse from here on out.
My character charged in with sword at the ready, took a giant swing and missed. After about six missed swings I walked into the kitchen and made a cup a coffee and came back to witness that neither the boar nor my character has dealt a single point of damage. Granted, my comrade then hit for a very small amount of damage. Finally I killed the boar only to find out that I couldn’t get anything off the corpse because I didn’t have a talent called animal lore.
This was the beginning of my woes, next came my pole arm issues. Despite the fact I chose to be a soldier, I wasn’t allowed to use spears. Only after I finished a certain quest and paid the some guy almost all my money could I use my favorite weapon.
Since I was almost broke, I bought the recipe to make spears off of a trader in an attempt to save money. I figure built it yourself to save some coin, right? Not long after I had collected all the components I found a workbench and prepared to make my new spear. When I clicked on the workbench all I got was a blank screen saying I had no recipes. Confused, I opened the instructions and still couldn’t figure it out. Then it hit me, I had to right click on the instructions and select use. Any tutorial on Drakensang is non existent. So expect to do a lot of trial and error.
Drakensang uses a dice system like in a pen and paper RPG which is kind of cool, until you realize that no matter how much you upgrade your character you can’t hit the broad side of a barn. I’m a firm believer in building a character who hits based off of skill, not a lucky dice roll.
Overall, this game might have been great when it was originally released. However with all the advancements in RPG games in recent years it’s almost painful to mess with this old school system these days.
While the graphics were good and even the battle was cut and dry, it was the poor character development and bad mechanics that shot this game in the foot. This may be a classic reborn, but it comes with the same old flaws that plagued it originally.
On a good note, it got me in the mood to play other role playing games as well as get together with reviewer Billy and see if we can’t wallpaper Hardcore Todd’s office in Final Fantasy memorabilia.
Back on topic, I felt that the primeval mechanics caused this game to slide downhill to 2.5 Gin Gems. If you really loved the game before, then by all means dive into this classic, but if not, there are many better RPGs to spend your time with.