Divinity: Dragon Commander
Dragon Commander Multiplayer Review
DArtagnan is our second reviewer for Dragon Commander and in his review he focused on the multiplayer part of the game.
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Divinity: Dragon Commander
Dragons with Jetpacks
Kalniel reviews Dragon Commander to find out how the different styles mix and blend while strapping on his dragon's jetpack.
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Recent info pages and articles
Poll WatchDo you play Original Sin - Early Access?
Yes, I am
Thinking about it
No. Only on release
Never. Early access sucks
Not now, not on release
What's Original Sin?
Forum WatchTop 10 CRPGs of all time by Thrasher
What do you think of Original Sin on Early Access? by Strafe
Pricewatch! by Thrasher
Released kickstarter games by gandalf.nho
Planescape: Torment - The Power of Narrative
Medium.com has an interesting editorial about the narrative of Planescape: Torment.
The thematic symbolism in the original Torment revolves around the question of predestination, consequences and redemption. It communicates its take on the archetype in a variety of different ways: through quests, allegories, myths, legends, truths and lies.
What makes it unique in its presentation, and serves as a good example of juvenile bravado of the designers, is that it cuts to the chase quickly, dialing down the pathos so prevalent in other RPGs. There is no world to save, no princess to rescue. There is only a character, and his introspective quest to answer a specific, explict question. The game reiterates the phrase many times over, nagging you, with an ever increasing frequency. It reaches a fever pitch in the grand finale:
"What can change the nature of man?"
For me it’s an easy one: a game of Torment.
Information aboutPlanescape: Torment
Dragon Commander - Review Roundup #5
Here is the next roundup of reviews for Dragon Commander.
Incgamers - 8/10
Despite the difficulties associated with embarking on such a genre-hopping title, Larian has created a unique, engrossing combination of strategy, political choice and rapid battlefield command. That they’ve managed to produce something able to compete with the Civilizations and Total Wars of this world on the budget of a much smaller studio makes this game something of a minor miracle. Amidst the wealth of strategic options available to PC players this year, Dragon Commander should not be overlooked.
Edge - 7/10
It’s very silly, Dragon Commander. It’s a game in which you legislate on universal healthcare and fair trade before beating your scaled, leathery wings across a battlefield. But it hangs together because its distinct strands feed into one another just enough, even if that relationship is as crude as a dialogue tree leading to you gaining a stat-altering card that you can play during the campaign phase. Decisions have consequences in Dragon Commander, and that’s something any budding leader, dragon or not, needs to know.
ZTGD - 8/10
Divinity: Dragon Commander is a classic example of the sum of the whole being greater than its individual parts. Separating each part to itself, it feels as though it’s been done better elsewhere. The turn based strategy was a lot more compelling in Civ 5 and the real time strategy was a lot more interesting in Starcraft 2. However, put everything together into one single package and I can safely say that there is no other game quite like it out there. It’s the foundation of something that could be a classic. Like the first person to ever put together peanut butter and jelly, now they just gotta put it on some bread.
Dragon Commander - Review @ Game Informer
Game Informer has posted their review of Dragon Commander and gave it a 7.5/10.
Divinity: Dragon Commander has a lot of layers. I enjoyed the Risk-like strategy of spreading my army across a world map as I sabotaged my opponent’s units using different battle cards, but I dreaded the slog of each RTS battle. If Larian Studios can refine their battle system then it might have a strategy series that appeals to a wider audience, but right now only hardcore strategy fans feel safe under this commander’s wings.
Dragon Commander - Review @ IGN
IGN has posted their review of Dragon Commander and gave it a score of 7.8/10.
As I floated high in the sky, surveying the land while my vast hordes of soldiers marched uncontested towards my foe's final citadel, the occasional control woes and frayed edges I encountered along the way didn't seem quite as glaring as they initially had. For whatever else Dragon Commander is, it's also a game that puts big issues on the main stage, then lets us reap the rewards and shoulder the consequences of their decisions without moral judgment. For that reason alone, it's worth a look.
Original Sin - Post-Funding Update #44
Divinity: Original Sin has a new post-funding update about the Phantom Forest.
It's been a while since our last update, but as you can imagine we've been frightfully busy with communicating about Dragon Commander. That doesn't mean that in the meantime Original Sin hasn't been receiving any love, but our understaffed part-time communication department just couldn't handle talking about two games at the same time.
Some of you were mad about this and rightfully so, but there's only that many hours in a day. Still, Dragon Commander is out of the door now, and that means that we'll start shifting our online activities to Divinity: Original Sin again.
Work in Progress: The lair beneath Phantom Forest
Our very own Axel has been working very diligently with his team on several areas in the game and especially the fabled lair beneath Phantom Forest! Have a look at the video in which he gives you an inside look, deftly manoeuvres around spoilers and explains what exactly 'dummies' are.
Information aboutOriginal Sin
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Dragon Commander - Review Roundup #4
Well another day goes by and more reviews have been released on sites I have never heard of for Dragon Commander. So without stalling I give you round number four.
PCGMedia - 93/100
A large amount of well voiced, well acted and well written dialogue. Political decisions directly affect your battle situation. Units are very balanced, themed well. Dragon skills are varied and offer a new layer of strategy. Politics sometimes hilarious, always insightful.
The campaign can be too unforgiving at the early stages, and you're done for without knowing it for up to 20 turns. It takes a while to spot some of the trickier unit abilities which can completely turn a battle round.
PCGamesN - 8/10
Dragon Commander could have benefited from a greater level of fleshing out, but the whole experience remains highly entertaining from start to finish. Rather than merely being a silly break from Larian’s action RPGs, this is one of the studio’s strongest titles. And let us not forget, it features dragons with jetpacks, and that’s just wonderful.
CramGaming - 8.5/10
There’s a neat balance of gameplay styles which makes Divinity Dragon Commander stand out. If you are an RTS fan, then this is well worth checking out as there’s lots to do and a cool game on offer here that will keep you entertained to the end of days.
Gameranx - 7.5/10
Larian Studios has done some wonderful, charming work on Divinity: Dragon Commander. The political and personal decisions made between generals, diplomats and queens create a web of reactions that are fun to follow. It wasn't difficult to become invested with the personalities and stories of those characters.
It's almost worth recommending the game on that content alone. But that's only one portion of the experience, the other two of which aren't nearly as rewarding. Despite its flaws, this is a direction for the franchise I want to see more of, and I can't wait to get back to championing the rights of naked dwarves and undead artists across Rivellon.
Dragon Commander - Review Roundup #3
Here is another round of Dragon Commander reviews.
Indiestatik (single player)
There’s no doubt that there’s room for growth and improvement here, and perhaps even an expansion pack or two, but Dragon Commander pulls off the seemingly impossible anyway. While the gameplay in the final product is a little more pedestrian and down-to-earth than the high-flying concepts put forward in the earliest preview trailers, all the core elements are enjoyable by themselves, but are interwoven well enough as to result in a truly coherent whole.
If you are already interested in turn-based games like the Civilization series then Divinity: Dragon Commander brings a faster-paced military-oriented game that offers more variety in achieving a combat victory as well as narrative that has humorous characters and, while not spectacular, gives something for the player to think about.
The Good: Beautiful visuals, great voice acting lend to the brilliant game-play. A decent learning curve. Few games in the genre really make you think carefully before hitting the “End Turn” button.
The Bad: Some battles can be very easy or very difficult, depending on placement on the battle map. Maps sometimes seem recycled and don’t always fit with the way a province looks on the campaign map. Though the learning curve is decent, the first few battles will be a strain as you learn to control in both traditional RTS fashion and Dragon mode.
Some aspects of Divinity: Dragon Commander suffer from Larian’s over-ambition. Any of the elements would do well in a combination of two or three, sacrificing just a bit of content for polish in other areas of presentation. Dragon Commander tries to be more than a little bit of everything, and in the end dulls some of the gleaming potential the game’s many layers have on their own. However, the multi-tiered assault on the senses and brain meats of the player make for an experience that’s more immersive than a lot of other modern game offerings and really makes you feel like you’re in the thick of things. Check out Divinity: Dragon Commander if you’re willing to lose yourself in an off-beat fantasy world for a bit and can forgive a game that ends up being okay at a lot of things rather than polishing a small handful of features.
Most notably, you'll have the ability to directly intervene in any real-time battle you're overseeing by transforming into a jet-pack wearing dragon. This turns the game into a kind of third-person arcade-style shooter, letting you spit fiery doom upon enemy forces and cast spells to heal your own troops. While flying your dragon self around is easy and it is an amusing experience to strafe hostile forces with your flame breath, the novelty of transforming into a dragon wears off quickly. The controls to order your troops around in dragon form are clunky to use, and until you research more powerful spells and abilities, you're highly vulnerable to anti-air units. If anything, you'll often resort to transforming into a dragon just to tip the scales slightly in your favor in a fight before retreating to safety, and even then you'll probably find it just as easy to send mass waves of units into combat to win the day.
Rage3D, a tech review
Larian's latest release is consistent with its catalogue to date, which is to say it's finely optimized for PC. Though not perfect, it comes close with respectably good visuals, a strong list of graphics and control options, and excellent performance across the board.
I can almost certainly say that you will never get bored of this if you’re a fan of strategy. Even as a strategy at core this as a lot to offer both to newcomers and long-term fans of the genre. From the great take on politics to the character development of your generals and wife. The turn based strategy of the map, with the use of cards, to the real time strategy of the battles. Everything has combined to make an exquisite package and I unashamedly say that I’m now a fan.
Divinity: Dragon Commander is enjoyable to say the least. The few minor quirks and issues could be easily overlooked by some, while others may find them to be major problems. A dry story line is saved by brilliant characters and gameplay that will no doubt have a dedicated following surrounding it. If you are looking for something different that will last you for some time, I would give Divinity: Dragon Commander a chance.
Some non-English language reviews
And here are some video reviews:
Dragon Commander - Review Roundup #2
It's time for round number two of reviews for Dragon Commander, and most are positive with only one negative one.
Games Radar - 4/5
- Impactful decision-making in almost everything you do
- Fun RTS battles and dragon combat
- Charming characters, visuals, and in-game loreYOU'LL HATE
- Aerial controls make multitasking difficult
- Not enough RPG elements
- High learning curve
Hardcoregamer - 4/5
It’s a shame that so many people are opposed to the idea of a new-direction for the Divinity series. Even if its main story leaves much to be desired and some of its rules aren’t presented particularly well, Dragon Commander is a whole lot of fun. I urge everyone, even skeptical Divinity fans, to give Dragon Commander a shot — especially if they’re amused by the notion of a dragon wearing a jet pack.
Softpedia - 9/10
Divinity: Dragon Commander is a great title in what seems to become a good year for strategy games.
Every piece of the experience works as intended and the mix of grand strategy, tactical battles, card use and resource management creates a huge number of potential paths to success and almost infinite replayability.
The only real problem with Divinity: Dragon Commander is that it requires a bit of time to learn the most interesting and effective strategies and will then tie up even more of a gamer’s time with its obvious quality.
The version of Divinity: Dragon Commander I have played might differ slightly from the one that gamers get on launch, as the team at Larian Studios continue to improve the game experience.
And for last here is the negative one.
Only SP - 6/10
Overall I’m left rather disappointed by my experiences with this game. I really wanted to like it, as it’s one of the only RTS games I’ve seen recently, but the RTS element was so fundamentally flawed that I ended up just auto calculating almost the entire campaign. It was good for a single play through, but for the little amount of entertainment time that offers, the $40 price tag is rather steep. Dragon Commander definitely isn’t the genre reviving game I was hoping for.
Dragon Commander - Launch Trailer Released
Larian has released a new launch trailer to announce that Dragon Commander will be released tomorrow August 6th.
Larian Studios is proud to announce that the next game in the acclaimed Divinity series, Dragon Commander, will be available in digital stores tomorrow, August 6 th, including Steam, Gog.com and its own digital store, www.larianvault.com
To celebrate the occasion, we released a brand new launch trailer that gives a comprehensive overview of this unique strategy game.
Dragon Commander - Review Roundup #1
Entertainment Buddha - 8.5/10
The Awesome: Political choices echo real-world issues, Three different gameplay elements tied together perfectly, Beautiful character models.
The Not So Awesome: The game can be a lot to handle for newcomers, Long loading times, RTS segment's textures are lacking.
The Controller Online - 8/10
Divinity: Dragon Commander does a great job of mixing styles to create a fresh new take on the strategy game. Purists may feel it doesn’t go deep enough in any one area, but its different layers come together to make for an ultimately fun and complete game. If you’re looking for a truly different strategy game, be sure to grab Dragon Commander.
Games.On.Net - No Score
Dragon Commander is a hearty strategy title that’s both entertaining and challenging. The RPG elements could be a tad better, but ultimately they serve their purpose well by engaging you in the ‘why’ of your bid for world domination, although the single-player doesn’t have much replay value to it. The tactical battles are quick and intense, and they allow you to beat the odds if you’re caught out. The only problem is, you can only fight one battle yourself so choose wisely.
Dragon Commander - Beta MP Video and Contest
Today we have a new video showcasing the MP for the beta version from Beef Jack.
Sean was able to get a build that Larian Studios would allow us to show to you so if you haven’t been participating in the beta, this would be a great chance to check the game out. Judging by the looks of it, it certainly seems intriguing.
Rank top 3 on the Skirmish ladder by Monday August 5th 12:00 GMT and you'll win the prizes as seen in the video. Good luck!
Dragon Commander - Beta Keys Give Away
I'm handing out 5 beta keys for Dragon Commander for those who would like to have a go at it before it is being released.
The only requirement is a reply to this post, stating that you want one. I will randomly select 5 winners today (which for me is in less than 11 hours and 40 minutes).
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Gamegrin
Gamegrin has the latest preview based on the Dragon Commander beta.
I'm very much in love with the dragon inclusion to the RTS format, and can't wait to see it used to its full potential come release day on the 6th August. And this is just one side to the full game – with so many different modes of play all rolled into one, the appeal of DDC is widespread, and by the looks of it, the balance between RTS, RPG, board game and trading card game is spot on.
Imagine the best bits from Mass Effect, Command & Conquer, Risk and Magic: The Gathering all mashed seamlessly together, then throw a dragon into the mix and you're looking at something much greater than the sum of its parts, and a suitable contender for game of the year (even though it will most certainly be GTA V).
Despite some teething problems with a fair few bugs, the developers are working hard with the beta testers to iron out the game-breakers and provide you with a perfect version of a great gaming experience come the 6th August. Watch this space for a full review soon.
Dragon Commander - Reviewing my Own Game
Swen Vincke is reviewing Dragon Commander on Twitch.tv to see if it is ready to be sent out to the press and expressing his opinion on the features of the game. At the very end of the video it turns out that it is not completely ready yet.
The total video is just under 1 hour and 40 minutes and as should be obvious, is filled with spoilers.
Dragon Commander - News Roundup
Here are some previews based on the beta version of Dragon Commander.
First there is this preview on multiplayer from Gametactics.
When the match starts, like most RTS games, you have to build structures to research and create new and more powerful units, each with a its own wait time. You can use the mouse to free look from an overhead perspective or click on a section of the mini-map to zip to that location. The twist here in this game though is that you are a commander who can become a dragon that can fly overhead and shoot down enemy units and structures. This gives the player a more active and exciting role in their bids for conquering the opposition. The Dragon is powerful so they can only be out for a limited time, or until their health drains. When the dragon dies, you can re-summon it again, but it will take time and consume a lot of resources to do so. Judicious and effective use of the Dragon will be essential to winning many battles. And it should be noted that the Dragon has a jet-pack Yes, a jet-pack…truly goofy, but if it helps the dragon fight, why not?
Then there is this review at Rage3D covering some of the technical aspects of the game.
Performance is very consistent, although limited: excepting one instance where I dropped to 30 and experienced major stuttering while talking to a crew member, the game stays at a constant 60 (unfortunately the maximum, at least for now).
PC enthusiasts should find themselves pretty satisfied with the technical aspects of Larian's latest come release time; the framerate cap is my only major complaint as of now.
And this video of a play session from Corsual at Twitch.tv.
Dragon Commander - Last Minute Changes and Media
Swen has created a new blog on enduring pain, Dragon Commander boxes, the changes they are still making to Dragon Commander and what a good moment in time is to send out review code.
All of the changes that we agreed on were implemented or being implemented, and a number of new crashes had been found and solved. If you’re wondering why we are still changing things, well, you needn’t look further than our forums, youtube, the steam community hub, facebook , twitter and what have you. There’s a continuous feedback loop going on there and we’re seeing some very well formed opinions appearing.
Our code of conduct is that whenever somebody posts a bright idea it gets on our list, and then put it in, as long as it remains feasible for us.
I can guarantee you that there’s a lot of people in the development trade (that actually includes guys in my office ) that will tell you that this is the way to ruin, but my experience has been such that you’re better of with a game that’s fun and maybe not polished than you are with a game that’s polished but not fun. Fixing the polish is an easy enough thing and almost always a matter of money. Fixing the fun otoh is still somewhat of an arcane art coveted by many but mastered by few and money will not necessarily make the difference. Because my interest and joy in making games comes from stumbling upon ways of making them fun, I tend to sin more than often against the rules of maintaining the outwards production values that are so important these days, preferring a message box if need be over not putting something in that clearly improves the game mechanics
I joke, but I really do believe that whenever you realize a certain change will make your game more fun, you should do it, no matter how late in the development process you are. You should actually count yourself lucky that you had the insight prior to release. The only reason I can see why you shouldn’t embark on making the change is when you can’t implement the change properly for whatever reason. But you shouldn’t let that be an excuse for not making the change.
Dragon Commander - Beta Update
The beta for Dragon Commander has been updated to version 220.127.116.1127 and brings you the following, both changed and new:
- UI tooltip crash fix
- Added filters to lobby
- A lot of stability fixes in the lobby
- Fixed problem where internet lobbies were visible in LAN tab
- Desync fix when loading a savegame
- Key hints are shown during loadingscreens
- Crash fix during shutdown of AI
- Removed unused levels from level list again
- Fix crash when AI is targetting units outside of AI grid
- Strategy AI more aggressive
- Added tutorial videos to main menu
- Priests heal ally units again
Dragon Commander - Preview @ PCGMedia
PCGMedia editor Michael Cromwell has posted the latest preview among hundreds this week titled, "Why Dragon Commander Isn’t All About Blobs – All the Units, Skills, and Abilities."
Yep. It’s another Dragon Commander article. Why? Well, we’re independent press, and they’re an independent developer. The fascinating thing about Dragon Commander is that it’s a game that would never in a thousand years be greenlit by a major publisher. Why is that fascinating? Because despite that, it’s looking to be a huge success, and, more importantly: it’s bloody good.
That’s really why we’re giving it so much coverage. We see it as something of a revolution. It’s privately funded by the money of the developer, and built from the imaginations of them. No creditors, no marketing meetings, and, probably, no suits. That’s cool, right.
This article contains most of the resources availiable to you in battle, explaining what they are, and their weaknesses and strengths. Take small tokes, friend, because you’re likely to whiteout.
Dragon Commander - Video Previews
A short video preview for Dragon Commander of less than 3 minutes, but still trying to cover the entire game is available on Game Trailers.
Total Biscuit takes more time and brings us 32 minutes of video covering both RPG and RTS elements.
Finally, not a real preview or a video, but WarCry aks the question if Dragon Commander is the best next thing in eSports.
MMORPGs can get rather samey. You've got your shooters, your lane-based MOBAs, and of course your fifty million fantasy RPGs with the gold old elf 'n' orc combo. What can be done to spice up online play a little? How about... I don't know... some gameplay that revolves around jetpack-wielding dragons breathing fire on everything? That's what Divinity: Dragon Commander is offering here, and I can definitely imagine this as an epic shake-up to the current roster of eSports games, if this multiplayer video is anything to go by.
Dragon Commander - New Video and Two Previews
Next we have two previews.
Destructoid - "A day in the life of a jetpack-wearing dragon monarch"
I'm not sure what anyone else expected from Dragon Commander. It's a spin-off being developed by a studio known for its RPGs, so I'm guessing not a lot. And yet it's shaping out to be really rather splendid. I still have questions, though. I've yet to really pay much mind to the multiplayer, what with the lack of other players -- my peers are apparently too busy writing words to get beat up by me in a dragon scrap.
There are also a few niggling issues. If I have to hear the units spew their annoying, extremely loud stock phrases one more time I will kill someone. And research is, to put it bluntly, a wee bit boring. But I'm eager for more. The gags elicit guffaws, the strategy is compelling, and dragons are awesome. I wait with baited breath to see if I continue to enjoy myself when it comes out next month.
Penny-Arcade - "I came for the jetpack dragons, but stayed for the political intrigue"
Dragon Commander is really three games sort of smashed together. One is a role-playing game where you are emperor of the realm with all of the responsibilities that entails. In this mode, you're aboard the airship with the ability to visit several different rooms, meets with your generals and diplomats, and make decisions that will affect the realm. The visuals, music, and voice-acting in this part of the game are beautiful. The environments are interesting, the characters are superbly well animated, and the voice actors are top-notch. It feels a bit like the moments of Mass Effect when you're just talking things out with your crew.
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Incgamers
Incgamers has the lastest preview for Dragon Commander. I'm sure by now we have read and saw every video, but it doeasn't hurt to have more.
The worry with titles like Dragon Commander that try to span multiple genres is that one or more of the segments will suffer from this division of focus. Larian are experienced RPG developers with a flair for the absurd, so all the character-led politicking and choice/consequence decisions feel rewarding. Your choices matter, and the way they impact and interweave with activities on the overall campaign map is rather satisfying.
But the RTS sections may need further tweaking. Though they’re entertaining and frantic (even on the optional slower speed,) there’s a possibility that the demands of having your attention pulled all over the battlefield every two seconds will eventually detract from what actually appears to be quite a tactical, micro-heavy system. There’s a pleasing tension between the need to concentrate on devious unit plotting and swashbuckling dragon attacks, but it risks overwhelming the elements which feel as if they require a slower pace.
Still, no-one could accuse Dragon Commander of being in any way halfhearted in its efforts. It’s enthusiastic, uninhibited and actually makes being trapped in airbourne command center with a racist lizardman somewhat appealing.
Dragon Commander - RPG Elements Preview Video
PCGMedia has the lastest video preview for Dragon Commander. This time it's not about politics, or combat. It's all about the RPG elements. Let me give fair warning that the video will spoil parts of the game.
Michael takes a look at the press beta for Larian's Divinity: Dragon Commander. Specifically, we're looking at the RPG elements, how they affect the world, your comrades, and battle.
Dragon Commander - Preview @ StrategyInformer
StrategyInformer has a small preview for Dragon Commander.
The campaign map itself is very simple – looking like a ye olde style hand drawn map, the land mass is divided into a number of territories. Each territory has a race (so who the local inhabitants are), and an economy and tech output. The more territories you conquer, the more gold you get per turn and the more research points you get per turn. Research points are used to either research new Dragon Abilities, or new units/unit abilities, presenting you a tactical choice between improving your army, and improving yourself.
Territories can be modified in a couple of different ways – you can play cards (Dragon Commander started off life as a table-top card strategy game thing), which you collect as spoils or through special buildings, or you can build buildings. There is only one building allowed per territory, and these can range from gold-enhancers, tech point enhancers, to factories that allow you build units in territories other than your home one.
Eventually, you’ll run into someone else who wants the same territory you want. Dragon Commander’s battles have the pacing of a pro Starcraft II match – you don’t have much time to take in your surroundings and start giving orders. On the campaign map, each territory is given its own map layout, and there’s several to choose from if you go online. Maps involve starting locations for everyone involved- up to four people, and then there is potentially neutral bases and territory to fight over. In the single-player, you can choose to auto-resolve the battle, either by letting the army fight out on its own, or by assigning a ‘general’ to improve the odds, although this costs gold.
Battles are a typical RTS experience in many ways – although the base building options are limited, you do build up a base, and any additional outposts you can capture, and then build units and send them out. Everything takes on a very ‘Supreme Commander’ mentality to mass produced units, although there’s none of the automation features. Typically, to win a match you have to destroy an opponent, either by grinding down his manpower reserves, or by overwhelming his defences and destroying all of his bases on the map.
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Rock Paper Shotgun
Rock Paper Shotgun have penned down their views of Dragon Commander from the hands-on session they had with the game.
The dragon’s the least of it, really. While it’s almost staggering under the weight of ‘wouldn’t it be great if?’ sub-games and features, at its heart Larian’s Divine Divinity fantasy battle spin-off plays like a love letter to the giants of real-time strategy. The campaign map of Total War, the battles of Total Annihilation, the air of silliness of Command & Conquer, the theme of Warcraft… It’s not that it’s shameless, really: it’s just picking and choosing what worked, what people loved, and putting it all together in a slightly strange, rather full-on but highly entertaining and tactical combination that winds up feeling like nothing else. The game seems to be having a whale of a time, and it’s infectious with it – while its humour might incline towards the ‘wacky’ end of the gag spectrum, it’s not grating as are the similarly fantasy-lampooning Majesty/Ardania games.
But while the broad political satire (e.g. elves are pro-medicinal drugs, but the Catholic-analogue undead consider it sinful – so will you legalise or outlaw it? One faction may withdraw their support based on your decision) of the between-battle state management is a bit of a giggle, what’s really standing out to me so far is the intensity of the battles. Sure, you can transform from floating camera into a bloody great dragon, but this is only ever an accompaniment to management of a wide variety of units across large maps with maxi-zoom, doing the rock, paper, scissors thing with a campaign-persistent expanding tech tree, fighting wars of attrition where each side has a sizeable finite number of reinforcements to call upon.
It’s proper strategy, like mama used to make – brutal push and pull, steadily advancing a front line amidst massed death and explosion. Commanding and conquering, yes, but the knowledge that, at some point, your reinforcements will run out, prevents cartoonish squandering. Build points are seized by proximity, even in the midst of pitched battle, so there’s a lot of suddenly dropping a turret or a war factory straight into the middle of things to sustain your push, or suddenly finding that the enemy’s managed to build a mortar right next to all your best stuff. Like Supreme Commander, there’s no sitting back and waiting for anything to happen here – it’s all go, all the time, and my jaw aches something rotten from pulling a Clint Eastwood expression all the while.
And if you want to get your hands on a beta key, there is still this contest going on to get one.
Dragon Commander - Pitfalls of Politics and Ethics in Videogames
In a lenghty post on his personal blog Larian's Swen Vincke explains the studio's approach to the political and ethical quandaries present in Divinity: Dragon Commander.
If there is one aspect of Dragon Commander that has generated frequent discussion among the team at Larian it is the topic of politics and more specifically: the political, moral and ethical choices you can make in the game. When you are aboard your command ship, the Raven, a broad spectrum of political and moral issues will be brought before you by a variety of characters and inevitably, these characters will vehemently disagree with one another at all but every junction.
Our inspiration for these political conundrums we derived from newspapers, news websites and news broadcasts the world over. We ended up with a host of current issues that – to use a whopper of a euphemism – create debate wherever they arise. It is these issues that we translated into a fantasy context, though they remain quite recognisable.
To do so we created a host of fantasy characters that represent people or philosophies of a certain political persuasion in an almost commedia dell’arte manner. They are stock characters in their way, with their own eccentricities and conflicting ideals, but their masks are those of lizards, imps, elves, dwarves and undead rather than the literally masked prototypes of the theatrical genre.
These characters speak plainly. They speak forcefully. They hammer home their viewpoint, often eschewing all nuance. In their own exaggerated manner they bring to bear their opinions, and even though it should go without saying, we’re saying this anyway: this doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with their opinions at all.
This is important to keep in mind, because by creating characters that often exceed individualism only to become certain ‘types’, we noticed that their opinion regarding various political statements were amplified to such an extent that they became quite frankly shocking.