In this day and age, fewer single player
PC exclusive RPGs are being made. Independent efforts aside,
the number made last year can be counted on one hand. Piracy
and diminishing profits have made it more and more difficult
for companies to make money. So, when I heard that DTP Entertainment
was working on Drakensang, I was excited to see what they
had in store for us.
"What is here is a solid, deep and complex adventure
that builds upon formulas laid down by a number of successful
PC RPGs games before it."
Drakensang: The Evil Eye has core RPG mechanics
based on the Dark Eye fantasy pen and paper game. This extremely
detailed game world has been a huge hit in Germany (eclipsing
the venerable D&D series). So, newcomers to the series
will certainly want to spend some time studying the detailed
rule book that comes with the game, as well as review the
numerous game tips that are liberally available on every game
The depth of this system becomes apparent right from the
start. First, the player is asked to choose from over a dozen
different classes. With a click of the mouse, an expert creation
system begins, allowing tweaking of various statistics, abilities,
talents and spells. It can initially be overwhelming, so choosing
a basic class is best for the newcomer. While the gamer chooses
the primary hero, others will soon join to party so just about
all abilities will be accessible.
By completing quests and killing monsters, characters accumulate
adventure points. Collecting enough results in leveling up.
Leveling points are also accumulated at the same time. They
can be spent on upgrading talents, skills, spells and attributes.
Being able to upgrade such a high number of skills and talents
outside of the typical leveling scheme adds a fresh dynamic
that is certain to be appreciated by veteran RPGamers. Characters
can even have gathering and creation skills. This allows them
to find or buy an array of materials and turn them into useful
potions, weapons and armor.
The interaction with the world around the player is reminiscent
of World of Warcraft. NPCs with quests wait for you
to talk to them. Once accepted, the quest objective is often
highlighted on the map. After completion, the NPC is highlighted
with a question mark on the map, so he or she are easy to
find. There are quite a number of side quests to accompany
the main quests. A round map in the upper corner helps to
keep players oriented. Clicking on it brings up a larger city
or world map which often shows where quest objectives are
located. Abilities are assigned to hotkeys and a toolbar at
the bottom for each character.
Along the way, various people will join your party allowing
the player to have up to four party members total at any given
time. They are diverse, and easily fill traditional roles
as warrior, thief, etc. The player can take control of any
character in the party at any time. This is important even
when talking to NPCs, as different party members have various
strengths and weaknesses when interacting with those around
them. There is some spoken dialogue; however, most of the
conversation with NPCs is text only.
Generally speaking, the graphics are well done. This is a
fully 3-D game. Characters, towns and settings have a large
degree of detail to them. There’s enough to see in some
areas that players will want to just stop and look around.
Characters also look well done and detailed. As new armor
is equipped, it is reflected on the character. There are a
few areas that have some low resolution textures, but they
do not detract terribly from the game. Some of the spell effects
take center stage filling the screen with color during casting.
Combat is carried out in real time; though, the player may
pause the action at any time to assess the situation and assign
commands to each party member as needed. Party members may
also be set to attack or defend, eliminating micromanagement
during easier battles. As casters advance in level, they can
easily upgrade various magic spells. Even fighters are not
left out as they have plenty of offensive and defensive skills
they can use which can turn the tide of battle.
There’s an over-arcing plot to tie all of this together.
With only a dozen hours into the game thus far, the surface
of the main story has barely been scratched. If it parallels
the character creation and development system in terms of
depth, it should be very interesting. Drakensang: The
Dark Eye does not seem to break new ground, nor is it
the most technologically advanced RPG ever made. What is here
is a solid, deep and complex adventure that builds upon formulas
laid down by a number of successful PC RPGs games before it.