Divinity: Dragon Commander, developed by Larian Studios, a game about a bastard son of the late king who was sired by a Dragon in the guise of a woman. Following in the footsteps of previous Divinity games, Dragon commander continues with its epic fantasy world and setting whilst combining it with Army and War aspects similar to the Command and Conquer Series. Will the game live up to its Divinity name, or will it fail to soar on the wings of its predecessors? There is only one way to find out, to live as the Dragon Commander…
The main story campaign starts off with a cut scene detailing the lore of the world and the events leading up to the game. The late king, being killed by his children, sired a son with an incognito Dragon; you are that son, the Dragon Commander, wielding the ability to transform into a deadly and powerful Dragon at will. Being saved by Maxos, the count wizard, he takes you away from the evil siblings and tells you of your main goal to stop the warring sons and daughters of the late king and bring peace to the world.
The main character is nameless, with you being able to choose your name, race of dragon from 3 types which are the Zephyr the Mage class, the Mountain head as the tank and the all-rounder dragon Sabre which I chose. The game thrusts you into command of the Raven, the capital warship powered by a chained up demon, along with all its facilities and experts to help you in your conquest.
Upon conquering the first set of land you are treated to another cut scene, telling you of the wicked sibling’s sudden interest in your rise to power, from the mute sister to the masochistic brother who tore off his own skin to become undead. The lands open up after this, as does the variety of enemies set to beseech you and the difficult that comes with facing multiple adversaries. Half-Siblings are the worst.
At some point within the story, and other modes of play, you get the chance to choose between 4 different princesses to be your wife from either an Undead boney wife, a busty Dwarf wife, an exceptionally tall Lizard wife or an Elven beauty. Depending on who you choose to be your other half you will be given different boosts, to the amount of influence you have other the specific race to unique choices with the spouse in question, either changing their physical appearance with the Undead to a Frankenbabe or coercing your Elf wife to attend imp gatherings and garner respect with their race.
The main story is more of a backdrop for the gameplay and side stories within the game, as the main story of the siblings and the Demon within the Raven are only touched upon every so often. Siblings are referred to only after their defeat it seems, making any progression feel drawn out at times. The demon is only mentioned in the beginning then someway through the campaign, giving you several choices to allow the Demon and yourself more power in the way of sacrifices, be they the life of your wife or the minds of your crew.
The characters within the story are so well made and designed that they can really irritate you or make them the type of person you will love. From the Sexist Catherine who believes women are the stronger sex and treats men like slaves to the Lesbian Scarlet who has to deal with her sexuality aboard the ship and around other crew members as to not be looked down upon. You will either feel like me or want to push some off the widow’s balcony or love them for their persistent ideals.
The length of the story mode is hard to determine as there are several ways you can play this game, either as a head strong warlord who sends all his units at once or a defensive general who grows his armies to their peak before attacking. The story mode can easily last longer than 30 hours, from both prolonged battles in the field or going through all the side quests aboard the Raven.
This mode starts off the same, choosing your name and dragon type but also skipping ahead of time by allowing you to choose your Princess ahead of time from the four available in the story mode. Once you have set your personal settings you may also choose a map from 9 different maps ranging from huge landmasses, several islands or warped continents that look like symbolic shapes.
This campaign plays almost the same as within Story mode, the same storylines, general’s side stories and councillor requests happen in what seems to be the same order. This is a “quick” campaign mode to test your skills and to try out new strategies, as well as play out the requests differently as you have all the same options as before. The only difference is the overarching storyline of the demon of the ship and the siblings, though the siblings still play a part of the enemy, they aren’t as pronounced.
In skirmish mode you have the option for multiplayer mode on the campaign map or a skirmish map within a field map, both of your choosing. This mode allows you to set up your AI opponents as well as inviting your friends for some friendly competition or unofficial co-op, since you can’t be on the same side you can still attack the same enemy.
Multiplayer is set up as you would expect, upon starting it up it searches for available matches and details them from the amount of players to the type of match they are. The searching feature takes little to no time at all and is set out so that everything is clear and precise, allowing for quick understanding of the layout. You can set up your own lobby with a design almost exactly the same as Skirmish mode.
The gameplay in this game is split into three, the RPG and planning aspect on-board the Raven, the Troop and influence strategizing on the map and the RTS and shooter aspect on the field. Though the game puts more emphasis on the Raven and Field parts of the game, all sections feel full of choices and mechanics for you to utilize. The separate fields aren’t as deep as they would be if they were in separate game, but within this game they flow together seamlessly and add a certain appeal to every minute you spend on each other the different screens.
Whilst aboard the raven you can explore different parts of the ship, talking with officers, engineers and the politicians. In the throne room you talk with the politicians and decide how you wish you run your empire, with choices such as health care or deportation of immigrants, all choices affecting your influence with the different races and the perks you can choose when entering the map and field parts of the game.
In the bar you may talk with your officers and sometimes politicians to see how well you are doing in the war effort or for simple chat and banter which can lead to other choices like siding with the choice to legalize gay marriage. This part of the ship is mostly for story and boning between the characters but seems rather lively with its background patrons going about their business.
Within the engineering bay you may purchase upgrades to your troops, unlocking new types of vehicles and enhancing the abilities of the ones you already possess, like increasing the damage of your grenadiers or the speed of your hunters. Within the Royal Chamber you can upgrade your dragon powers, from allowing you to heal your units to being able to change your fire breath into acid for added damage.
The map takes on a strategic view, showing you the current view of the world and what parts of the world is controlled by you or the enemy. You create building s and troops and decide where you wish to send your armies, either defending or attacking the separate countries on the lands. This is a rather short part of the game, spending only 5 minutes or so deciding what plot of land is worth your time. Depending on your choices and that of the AI you can contest pieces of land and do battle, choosing between letting your generals command the battle automatically or to go head first as your dragon counterpart.
If you choose to battle amongst your army you are put into a RTS type game mode similar to the Command and Conquer series. You place buildings are pre-set plots of land, from resource gathering buildings, ones that create units to turrets that defend your bases. The currency you need within this game type is supply and population, once the population runs out you can no longer create any new structures or units. Once you have enough units you can send them off to attack or capture other parts of the map. To win in this mode you can either destroy all units and buildings on the enemies’ side or simple overpower their army with hundreds of units to lower their army power and outlast their population.
Once 90 seconds has passed on the map you unlock the ability to transform into your dragon form and wreak havoc on the world, shooting fireballs from your mouth and casting spells on either side of the battlefield. This form can feel rather powerful, but it can be very misleading, your dragon can go down in a matter of seconds if there is any anti-air resistance, but without it you are a fiery beacon of death for enemies.
The percentages within the map can tell a lot about how the battle will progress, from the 70+ percentage being easy, the 40-60 range being moderate difficulty to the drastic 30 and below percentages that can feel overwhelming and long fought, battles ranging from 2 minutes up to an hour depending on how well you fare in numbers against the enemy. Battles can become very unnerving when several factions compete for the same land, though these are rare and come within a three battle most of the time they happen, thank god you’re a dragon or else these battles would be insanity.
Most of the game is played with the mouse, choosing options within speech, moving between areas and choosing where to place your units both in the map and field. The field is where most of the fast action is, using the WASD to fly around in dragon form and to move the camera in commander view, as well as hot keys to several letters like “G H T” for quick construction of units within both views.
The music keeps a consistent style of Army and War music, keeping trumpets and drums to symbolise marching within battle and professional tones aboard your flagship. Whilst stationary in combat the music is slow yet energetic, setting the mood like the calm before the storm, but when battle starts the music turns somewhat into Rock music as it amps up its volume and power to infuse you with the urge to win. All the music within the game combines beautifully with the setting and background, adding a fantasy touch to modern music in such a way that makes the music all the better than the singular genres.
Throughout all the different modes of gameplay you are never bored with either as time within each is split up nicely and the actions to take are varied. You will find yourself within combat just aching to see how the politics are holding up only to want to see how well you will fare on the map again. The modes blend beautifully together and fans of RTS games will love this adaptation to the genre.
I give Divinity: Dragon Commander a 4/5, a breath-taking combination of genres, with high-octane action mixed together with slow-paced RPG stories and decisions. The only faults within the game are that the difficulty can take complete turns at a moment’s notice in the form of overpowering units being sent against you. If you love RTS or RPG games or love jetpack wearing dragons then this is the game for you.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.