Divinity II has a lot going for it. The two precursors to this game, Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity, were lauded for their sophisticated stories, deep gameplay, creative design, and length addictive gameplay. Does the game live up to the hype, or will it be lost among the many other great fantasy RPGs that have come out lately (Hint: yes to that second one)? Let's find out!
The story begins in the magical world of Rivellon, filled with large grasslands, deep forests, bubbling brooks, rocky terrain, frolicking wildlife, blah blah blah you get the point that this is a fantasy game. After one of the fabled Dragon Knights cowardly killed the chosen one from the first game, their order was almost completely exterminated by the newly formed order of the elite Dragon Slayers. You are a member of this group, and the goal of the game early on is to find one of the last of these traitors and bring them to justice.
Players will get a first taste of what Divinity II has to offer with its Create-A-Character feature. Unfortunately, it isn't a good first impression, and brings about its first real fault. The game offers very little in terms of customization for your character. You can select your gender, face, hair, and voice, with four choices for each of them. That. is. it. From a game that is nearly a decade newer than its predecessors, I was expecting a lot more from it.
You start off talking to a woman named Commander Rhode, who says that there isn't much time to waste. The Dragon Knight has been spotted, and they need to find her before she escapes. Rhode instructs you to talk with the different villagers around the nearby town in order to become a Dragon Slayer yourself.
After arrival and becoming a Dragon Slayer (and finding out that you now have glowing white eyes and can see dead people), I quickly discovered that the game doesn't force you onto one path. You can decide to become a warrior, a ranger, or a wizard, and can switch amongst any of them before youet off outside of a town without penalty.
If the goal of Divinity II was to try and compete with the big boys of the genre like Elder Scrolls (it even uses Gamebryo, the same engine that powers Oblivion and Fallout 3), don't start by taking everything that was fun with those titles and throwing it all out the window. Although I enjoyed flying around as a dragon and torching the place up, that is something anyone can enjoy.
It has been 6 long years since Beyond Divinity, but we are looking at the "Matrix Revolutions" of the series. Divinity II's pacing is horrible, the visuals are poor, the story very much forgettable, the gameplay mechanics downright dreadful, and the lack of any real sort of replayability - something you wouldn't actually expect from an RPG trying to be this epic in scope - makes this game a privileged member of your local game retailer's bargain bin. This is the kind of title you will only enjoy if you decide to turn your brain off for 40 hours whilst in the comfort of your chair. Do yourself a favor and pass this one up for much more fantastic games like Dragon Age or The Witcher. I just do not seeing this title becoming a true contender.