The last time I impulse-bought an RPG, it was a dreadful hack ‘n’ slash called Loki. It was accompanied by Tomb Raider: the Angel of Darkness and Sonic Heroes, maybe you remember?
I’m kind of grinding to a halt in terms of games these days, because I’ve seen nary a one that I actually want to buy. They’re all £35+ if they’re next-gen (stfu, Jack), and I really can’t be bothered paying that kind of money for a game that will almost certainly be all normal mapping and no balls.
But then Kilbirnie and I were in town on Saturday (before I went to Jack’s house and royally demolished/got demolished by his arse at Mortal Kombat 3) and he was all “want to buy Mass Effect for the PC, it’s in two-for-twenty-five, pick a game Rob-nuts”.
So after scouring the very small PC section (that moves every time I go to that shop), I settled on Drakensang…
It’s apparently based on a pen ‘n’ paper system ripped off DnD but more arbitrarily complex, that I have never heard of in my life before. Anyway, that probably gives it a shittonne more interest than a bloom-based next-gen sci-fi shooter.
It is a strange mix of Morrowind, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and probably a lot more. It’s got the billions of ingredient items of Morrowind, it’s got the pausable combat and small party of Baldur’s Gate, and the character-lock camera and keyboard movement of Neverwinter Nights.
While it is a next-gen game (apparently only released last year in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and just in February everywhere else), they have chosen to go for an ever-so-slightly stylised look instead of relentless hyper-realism; though certain metallic surfaces do suffer from a blinding glow of bloom. It also suffers from those fuck-damned billboarded trees — the effect might be delicious from a distance, but when you walk past a bush and see large segments of it rotating to follow… Sorry guys.
As a fantasy RPG, all women are of course scantily clad, while all men are fully clothed. The outside world is gloriously sunny all the time, which is probably why I’ve never even remotely heard a single word about this game before — it’s clearly not dark enough for today’s taste. Real life is brown, etc etc etc. Hell, there don’t seem to be particularly many options for being evil (beyond pickpocketing, which has no negative effects except that you are unable to re-pick the same person), which I actually find rather refreshing. I’d rather a long and deep ‘good’ story than a lot of non-linearity I don’t care to explore because the world is full of emos.
So far, yes, it’s no Baldur’s Gate, but neither has it been a disaster like most of my recent game acquisitions. Diverting, pleasant, relaxing. So far, at any rate. The world map looks big enough that there should be plenty of geoegraphy to cover, and that hopefully means a long story. Length is good, because I doubt I’ll be so induced again to buy something until Mass Effect 2 pops out in a few months (and fuck knows when Starcraft II will raise its beautiful editor over the parapets).
So, stay tuned, I will probably relate more of this game as I progress through the story. But it’s looking favourable so far.